Tracking LiveJournal's decline
September 7, 2012 7:33 AM   Subscribe

"Once universally praised for founder Brad Fitzpatrick’s open-source platform and commitment to a free userbase—he once vowed that LiveJournal would always have basic (non-paying or ad-supported) accounts—LiveJournal is known these days mostly for being popular in Russia (the Russian name for blogging is “LJ.”) and Singapore, and for housing gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t."

What happened?
posted by rollick (147 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sigh. Tumblr just isn't the same.
posted by whitneyarner at 7:37 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was all downhill after they killed the first incarnation of Scans Daily.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:38 AM on September 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


LJ was the central fandom hub due to the ease of combining community discussion with fanwork.

Which may have been what killed it.
I still argue it is a better platform than Facebook... to myself
posted by Mezentian at 7:39 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


We need to stop equating unrestrained growth with success.
posted by DU at 7:40 AM on September 7, 2012 [49 favorites]


Here's some discussion of this article from anonymous members of Livejournal fandom. The general consensus seems to be that the author has a reputation for tunnel vision but is mostly spot on here, although the degree to which Livejournal's English-language users were involved in fandom may be a bit exaggerated.
posted by capricorn at 7:41 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's sad... I still have a paid LJ account but I haven't posted in a long long time, I barely even leave comments anymore. There's still a few friends who post regularly but my friends page is mostly RSS feeds nowadays. (Not sure why I still view some feeds through LJ, and not my Google Reader. Probably just inertia.)
posted by kmz at 7:44 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


A large part of "what happened" can be gleaned from this comment:

I'm sorry we've made that first mistake before and, unbelievably, did it again. But here we are.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:45 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of course, even if LJ up and dies tomorrow (which won't happen with the huge Russian userbase and still considerable fandom community), bradfitz will still forever be remembered for memcached, originally developed for LJ but now used by like, everything.
posted by kmz at 7:47 AM on September 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


What happened is people are dumb. LiveJournal is fine.
posted by koeselitz at 7:48 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Russian name for blogging is "blogging".
posted by floatboth at 7:48 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


A lot of my online friends now I met via LJ. Rather than the fandom-and-furries or emo posturing platform a lot of American people see it as, there was a tight-knit group of smart, funny people, mostly based in London, who wrote beautifully about their lives, their interests, and their favourite songs. I got my first London place to live via LJ friends, kept in touch with the person who is now my boyfriend of almost-five years, and had a little support group and a place to rant when I experienced a bout of serious, life-changing illness, the death of my father, and the ups and downs of everything in-between.

I miss that now. The privacy settings (you could post publically, or you could limit access to those on your friends list, entry-by-entry) were perfect, the groups let me meet people that shared my more esoteric interests, and the weird subcultures that sprung up there are still something that amuses me and one of my best friends/former LJ buddy when one of us remembers something and drops an e-mail during our lunchbreaks. The snark communites, the 'safe spaces' to discuss any topic you can think of, the fact that girls who dressed in elegant-gothic-lolita fashion were, despite their ladylike appearance, one of the bitchiest groups on the site.

A lot of my friends I now follow on Twitter, and some have crossed over into real life friends, or I'll go to a party and get chatting to someone and realise they were speednik or offensive_mango or carsmilesteve. And blogging has never felt right to me. I'd go onto the home-page, type in my thoughts, my feelings, my memories, my bad jokes I'd made up on the bus. Since then, blogging has become something professional. It's seen as something which has to have a strong theme and a USP and a selling point, a way to create a career or enhance a current one, a route to PRs sending you samples or taking you out to lunch. I follow a few of these, and know a couple of people who have turned their interests into incredibly useful and successful blogs. (I'd rather get beauty tips from a punter than from a magazine that thinks I want to have a tan or wear something that's fashionable but will look like crap on my bodyshape.) I'm not interested in that. I want to write about stuff, and I want to see what others write, and I want us all to comment on our blogs, and blogging proper is too scattered and segmented for that.

A few weeks ago, I went back to have a look. The active communities I went on - no posts since 2008, dwindled to a trickle of bi-monthly 'is anyone still there' shouts into the ether, or the same people arguing on about the same things to an audience of themselves. It reminded me of the student society I was in, and how I felt slightly piteous towards those who stuck around long after graduation, unable to move on, unable to stop drinking with students as if it was still 1995 or 2003 or 2008. I checked fake_lj_deaths, slightly incredulous that once there were people who cared about LiveJournal enough to catch, report and discuss fake suicide attempts. (There was once an entry about me, based on the fact that I'd asked a question about drug toxicity. I returned from the hospital to see someone accusing me of faking a death online. It seems absurd in retrospect that I was upset enough to get it removed, but it, like all of LJ, felt so real when you were immersed in it.)

I spent some time looking back through a snark community I loved, needing cheering up - but the cracks about a grown-woman's bedroom being hoarder-stuffed full of Hello Kitty merchandise fell flat when the pictures were long-gone from Flickr, the screencaps hosted on a now-defunct site, and the original journal deleted. The EGL crew were posting photos anonymously, making fun of other twenty-somethings for buying off-brand dresses or being fat. Maybe it's just full of Russians and high-school students these days. The last thing I did was click through to my friends list. Spam. Community that exists thanks to the mods posting just often enough. More spam. There's probably a German word for that kind of nostalgia, the kind you'd get when finding an old address book, trying the number and being told the line was disconnected. What I saw was a screen after screen of dead lines. It made me hope that someone would soon come along and pull the phone out of the wall for good.
posted by mippy at 7:52 AM on September 7, 2012 [39 favorites]


I'm sorry we've made that first mistake before and, unbelievably, did it again. But here we are.

Hilariously we are in 2012. That was 2007.
Nowt has changed.
posted by Mezentian at 7:52 AM on September 7, 2012


“A lot of our users have been with us for 13 years, 10 years, 5 years,” Petrochenko said.

Man, I basically spent ages 17-23 (~2001-2007) on LiveJournal. Made internet friends, made real-life friends, romance, mystery, danger, etcetera. I still pull up my friends page sometimes and it's like a ghost town: automated twitter postings, spam, a few hangers-on but that's about it. Everyone's gone to greener pastures, but they're all very, very different pastures.

I think the time for something like LJ -- long form text interaction -- has passed on our side. Meanwhile, the last time I wandered into the Russian section of it, I found a very active group on dialectics. Knowing what I do of Russian culture, the format is a better fit over there than it ever was over here.
posted by griphus at 7:53 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh, and none of my friends were 'fandom' people, so while I witnessed the Encyclopaedia Dramatica padding events such as Strikethrough (users writing underage Harry Potter slash) or Boobgate (deleting breastfeeding avatars) from afar, it never encroached into my user feed. It's almost like there were two different sites, and I went to the good one where nobody rated anyone's pic.
posted by mippy at 7:54 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I still post on livejournal, but it seems that most of my list left for facebook. I did not. And no, I don't have a facebook. Yes, really I don't have one. No, you sending me invites every week won't make me get one.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:01 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Fatshionista community and sister sites like fatshionexchange are still going strong on Livejournal. You can actually see 'community ratings' which is sort of interesting - there are still some fannish communities in the top 20 but not many.
posted by muddgirl at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


klang got me into social networking with LJ, and I probably still have a nonpaid account there (unless they harvest deadwood). I got frustrated with trying to sort through the threading, which I found cumbersome on my Ultra Slow PC. Got frustrated and left for MeFi on January 11, 2005.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:08 AM on September 7, 2012


LJ was such a great thing. I've got a permanant account, so I still post stuff over there but its essentially the same as how I use tumblr. The communities - including the super active one I used to run - have faded to nothing, sadly. I met several people on LJ who've gone on to be well known artists in the decade+ since we met over there. Livejournal even got me mentioned here, back in '04.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:08 AM on September 7, 2012


There's probably a German word for that kind of nostalgia, the kind you'd get when finding an old address book, trying the number and being told the line was disconnected. What I saw was a screen after screen of dead lines. It made me hope that someone would soon come along and pull the phone out of the wall for good.

Üsenet.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:09 AM on September 7, 2012 [41 favorites]


Oh god, Kadin2048, that was exactly my thought. Seeing others reminisce about LiveJournal, I'm certain that is what I sound like if someone asks, "What's Usenet?"
posted by RichardP at 8:18 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


God, I miss my LiveJournal days. I met a LOT of good people there.
There was true sharing, great writing, and the word "friend" hadn't been bastardized by social media yet.

It was simple, it was fun and now will all of you young kids please get OFF MY LAWN.
posted by THAT William Mize at 8:18 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh god, RichardP, that was exactly my thought. Seeing others reminisce about Usenet, I'm certain that is what I sound like if someone asks, "What's WebTV?"

/trolling
posted by Mezentian at 8:19 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately the Inbetweenies community is not. But Fats is a good example of what made LJ a good place to hang out - there aren't, or weren't, many places in the media where people who were plus-sized could show off outfits or get tips that were most relevant to those who can't shop in straight-sized clothes shops. I don't know what it's like in the US, but the magazines here aimed at women are very diet and dress-size conscious, and if I was a plus-size person I would find that very hard to deal with. Even as an on-the-border person I rarely see styles that would work in my size or with my body-shape.

Maybe blogging has overtaken that now, but reading style-blogs for me is more like reading a magazine - it's one author, there's less interaction, it isn't a collaborative process in the same way a LiveJournal community was.

I wonder why me and my friends just decided, independently of each other, to stop posting at the same time. Is it a cause and effect thing? I'm not sure.
posted by mippy at 8:19 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I still get misty-eyed about BBSs, and FidoNet.
posted by The Sprout Queen at 8:21 AM on September 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


"What's WebTV?"

Oh god, AOL users on Usenet was bad, but seeing a WebTV email address guaranteed that the poster would be the worst. The worst.
posted by kmz at 8:21 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh god, AOL users on Usenet was bad, but seeing a WebTV email address guaranteed that the poster would be the worst. The worst.

I knew an exception that proved the rule.
Salad days.
posted by Mezentian at 8:24 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In college, my friends and I used LiveJournal; I knew who some people on campus were just because they were part of the LiveJournal group someone created for our university. When the startup blog host I was working on went kaput, I went back to LiveJournal for a while; my roommates and I even started a group for our apartment senior year (that lasted maybe about a month...).

A couple years later, I decided to roll my own blog, so I got a month of paid LiveJournal, downloaded something called LiveJournal Backup (I still have the program installed and the installer saved, though I can't find a link to it out there anymore), and downloaded all my posts.

I stopped going back to LiveJournal even to visit when it limited how far back the friends page goes. Right now, I'm seeing just one post on that page, and it's one that an old friend cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Killing the friends page that way, even if it was just on free accounts (for some reason, I can't find anything specific written about that change, so I'm not sure of the extent of it), pretty much destroyed any enjoyment I derived from visiting the site.
posted by limeonaire at 8:25 AM on September 7, 2012


(I still have the program installed and the installer saved, though I can't find a link to it out there anymore)

There's a web-based way to convert an LJ to PDF called LJBook. The formatting is pretty good, although I'm pretty sure there is not a single LJ out there that isn't suffering from horrible IMG link rot.
posted by griphus at 8:28 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I capture my tweets with LJ so that they are stored somewhere. I use LJ as an RSS feed reader for everything, so I'm there multiple times a day. And I have about four friends (all online friends) that still update between 1-2 times a day to 1-2 times a month.

I've found that I'm not as angsty as I was ten years ago when I first got my LJ account. Oh, I cringe sometimes when I read back to life in 2001 and being young and dumb and emotional. Twitter works as a better format for me. I don't have to think up whole paragraphs for my random posts anymore. But if I want to, I still have my paid account on LJ to make a bigger post from time to time. (Mostly being angsty about how slow at running I am.)

I was never a part of fandoms, though. So this Strikethrough and Boldthrough business don't mean much to me, I guess.
posted by jillithd at 8:29 AM on September 7, 2012


Oh god, my first Internet Social Networking experience was Bolt.com. If you signed up to Hotmail, they subscribed you to their newsletter, therefore hooking people into the site. It was oddly Facebook-like, with the profiles, but without having to use your real name and with forums attached.I never really got into Facebook - though I had an account for a while because it was the thing to do, and deactivated when I realised people thought my lack of logging in and commenting on everything was rude, or that I would be going on to get my Two Minutes Hate from the profile of someone from way back who had become a chemtrails theorist/massive capitalist bastard/armchair environmental warrior, and I could spend that time looking at Craftster instead - but I may have done were there forums and places to interact with people in a way that wasn't reporting your day or catching up with friends. I'm a bit old-skool like that, I like chatting about nonsense.
posted by mippy at 8:30 AM on September 7, 2012


Also, it winds me up irrationally when people type 'LiveJournal' rather than 'Livejournal', even though it's the correct case. In my head, it looks wrong.
posted by mippy at 8:31 AM on September 7, 2012


I still crosspost to LJ from Dreamwidth, but I don't know if anyone's even reading over there anymore. I'm really ambivalent about tumblr as a home for fandom, but I do know that this is how it works. One platform fades as a new one ascends. Now I know how my fannish friends who started out on mailing lists felt.
posted by nonasuch at 8:31 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think the time for something like LJ -- long form text interaction -- has passed on our side.

I didn't use my LJ as much as some, but this really strikes a chord. There was a period where all of my circle of friends at the time was on it, and I haven't had anything online with that feeling since. If there's a space for more long-form/contemplative discussion now that's still interactive and not just sending blog posts that nobody reads out into the ether, I haven't found it. Twitter has its famous character limit, and while Tumblr certainly supports longer-form writing, that's not the way most of the community goes.

There are more spaces and ways to interact in 2012 than there ever were back in 1995, but the sheer volume of the voices on the internet now is beyond intimidating and makes it hard for me to do anything but disengage and experience everything passively. It may not be a fair analogy, but there are times where I feel like I was in a quiet coffee shop that has since become a bar where the music is too loud and I have to shout for anyone to hear me, and this change somehow happened without me even having to leave the building. Even on fairly old-school Metafilter, where I've had an account since 2004, I rarely post comments because the contemplative approach that I like to take to posting... well, anything, is too slow to keep up with the flow of the conversation a lot of the time.

Not sure what the solution is, if there is one.
posted by Kosh at 8:31 AM on September 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I stopped posting to LJ some years ago. For a while, I had a Dreamwidth account, and had it crosspost to LJ (a useful feature), though that fell by the wayside too. (I think it still exists, though it's by now covered with cobwebs.) What killed it for me was largely Facebook; by then, it had an order of magnitude more people and got a lot more use, and also had a quicker workflow, both for posting to and interacting with other people's content on. As such, the choice looked like:

a) Write a few paragraphs about your life/work/social drama/music you've been listening to, post it to LJ. Maybe one or two aging Goths with UNIX beards will reply, assuming they're not under the thumb of a crushing deadline at work. You're 5-10 minutes down, and the pickings are meagre.

b) Post a one-or-two-sentence status update to Facebook, just about the one thing on your mind right now. 30 seconds of effort, and immediately a handful of likes and one or two comments from people most of whom don't have LJ accounts. One or two of them do have LJ/DW accounts, on account of your having arm-twisted them into making use of the invite code you sent them years ago, but have logged into the exactly once, due to not having the time to speculatively walk into what's more of a ghost town than a buzzing party in the hope that something's happening.

So the payoff for b) is far greater than for a). After a point, this becomes a feedback loop. People have a finite amount of time, and the less rewarding, more time-consuming outlets will fall by the wayside.

Tumblr seems to have filled the niche LJ used to have, though, AFAIK, it has one shortcoming: no post filtering system. (Facebook was clever enough to borrow LJ's post filtering model and expand on it, even though most people who haven't lived through LJ find that making lists and segregating posts is pointless and/or slightly creepy.) Which makes it OK for broadcasting ("here are some cat photos/cupcakes I baked"), but useless to anything requiring discretion. Perhaps in this narcissistic post-Lady-Gaga era, discretion is as obsolete as the 8-track cassette, with today's kids broadcasting their emotional dramas to the whole world, and the noise of everybody else doing the same thing providing (the illusion of) safety in numbers?

I was thinking that it'd be good to have something for longer posts which ties into FB-like social authentication mechanisms. A lightweight LJ-like site, where you can keep a journal, but where each protected post can also have a Soundcloud-like secret URL, which can make it visible to anyone who knows the URL, and which can be posted to filtered groups on other sites such as Facebook.
posted by acb at 8:32 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I came here just after posting on Livejournal (actually the very similar Dreamwidth, but I set things up to crosspost automatically to the two sites as my LJ friends split pretty evenly between staying on LJ and moving to DW when DW started. Some of the people I know through there are into fandoms, but not all of them and certainly the fannish people on LJ are not *only* fannish (I wouldn't find them interesting to read if they were). But I discovered interesting folk on there, and when I moved to Edmonton, I had a ready set of interesting, fun and kind friends waiting for me because of it.

Sometimes I don't post for awhile, because LJ/DW are high investment social media, while Facebook and Twitter are low investment. But reading LJ and DW is a much more rewarding experience because of that. Tumblr doesn't do the same for me, because there's too much reblogging and photos only posts that it skews low investment for me.
posted by Kurichina at 8:35 AM on September 7, 2012


I've found that I'm not as angsty as I was ten years ago when I first got my LJ account.

Yeah, my peak LJ years were during a very turbulent time in my life - unemployment and livign with warring parents feeling stuck, moving to Manchester and my first proper job, more unemployment and uncertainty, moving to London with £120 in my pocket, mental illness, weird friendship, weird relationship, parent dying, difficult breakup, nervous breakdown and recovery, and finally a landlord who went out of his way to make my life miserable in his horrid infested flat, all in the space of about two years. I'm not sure how much it saved me in therapy bills, and it made me feel like I wasn't alone even if I was sat in my bedroom afraid to leave the house, or isolated in a home-town I hated.

But my life moved on, and it seemed inappropriate somehow to come back to this place, as if I'd picked up an old diary and decided to carry on where I left off. There's some truth that unhappiness is a fantastic fuel for self-expression. But I'm not that angsty person anymore, and you can never go home again.
posted by mippy at 8:36 AM on September 7, 2012


I'm still on LJ. I keep thinking of jumping ship over to dreamwidth but while I've got an account there I haven't actually made a high enough initiative roll to make the jump.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:39 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been posting on LJ since 2002 (when I was 18) and still am. The interaction is different (mostly nonexistent), but it still feels good to get stuff out of my system, even if no one is listening anymore.

Facebook and twitter don't compare to that. I don't really need my aunties and cousins and acquaintances knowing all of my private thoughts and feelings, not getting it and telling me not to worry so much. Ugh. When you find like-minded internet friends you could have actual conversations.

Now though when it comes to friending new people I'm a little bit more self-conscious with strangers than I used to be. I guess because not many of my entries are that happy lately. It's not that I don't want people to see it, I just think it gives a less than full impression, maybe.

But what I have now is a record of the last 10 years, which is pretty cool.
posted by bleep at 8:39 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and by the numbers: Of the 52 friends I have listed on LiveJournal, 15 are closed accounts, 33 haven't been updated in at least a year (and many haven't been updated in six or seven years), and a mere four are still at all active. Those four are written by people who are really into fandom, otaku stuff, and/or paganism, for whom I guess LiveJournal still fulfills some need.
posted by limeonaire at 8:40 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you check that manually or is there a bot or something?
posted by griphus at 8:45 AM on September 7, 2012


Most of the people in my social circle on LJ went to Facebook, and with it went their long, thoughtful, essay-like posts. Now they mostly repost links and pictures of cats.

Worse, pictures of text with sub-Oprah warm fuzzy blurbs.
posted by Foosnark at 8:45 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I had a write-only* account on LJ, but then Blogger came along and seemed to fit my needs better and yadda-yadda-yadda I have my own WordPress blog. I exported my LJ stuff and have it up on my personal web site where even I don't look at it.


*As in no one ever read it.
posted by tommasz at 8:46 AM on September 7, 2012


And before anyone else does:

MetaFilter: pictures of text with sub-Oprah warm fuzzy blurbs
posted by Foosnark at 8:47 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


LJ's life spanned roughly my entire college career, plus the tail end of high school. I long ago deleted those accounts, but sometimes I wish I hadn't. It's hard to remember that before LiveJournal there was no way of reading about your friends' mundane dramas, or getting too-personal insights into their crumbling relationship with their boyfriend, or their arguments with parents. I definitely got into one or two adolescent squabbles over an LJ comment.

That kind of voyeurism was born in the early 2000s. Maybe I'm just nostalgic, but I feel like it was more exciting back then. In 2002, nobody really knew what a blog was. It was one of those "youth culture" buzzwords thrown around but there weren't a lot of people actually doing blogging. I was actually interviewed by a friend working for the school newspaper and asked about what blogs were!

Imagine how ridiculous it would be to interview someone about Twitter today, when the freaking president of Estonia insults Paul Krugman via tweets, and CNN news anchors regularly host segments in which they read twitter comments to viewers like it's a legitimate view into public discourse. Twitter is so much more public (and, I guess, profitable) than the early blogging platforms were ever intended to be. I had a twitter account for a while just to network with coworkers. LJ was always understood to be a personal, private account, accessible only by your friends unless you chose to make it public. Today's blogging/"social media" platforms assume you want to address the public.
posted by deathpanels at 8:48 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metrafilter: mostly repost links and pictures of cats.

/You asked for it.
posted by Mezentian at 8:48 AM on September 7, 2012


God, I miss Livejournal. Not that I think about it much, but when articles like this come up...

If I tried to explain what was so appealing about it, I guess it would be that it felt private, cozy, secure, under-the-radar, and yet there were so many ways to randomly happen across interesting people and to slowly build a relationship with them. It lent itself very well to long-form posts but was flexible enough for lighter use as well. And somehow, something about the way its social circles, interests and userbase worked just meant that it provided niches for some extremely cool, creative, strange people and encouraged them to be themselves.
posted by Drexen at 8:50 AM on September 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


And part of the reason I like Metafilter so much is because, although it's very different, it captures some of that same approach and philosophy. Controlled growth, co-operation, maturity, thoughtfulness...


MeFi. <3
posted by Drexen at 8:52 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I never really understood the appeal of LJ back in the day. I remember being back on a whole host of ezboards that seemed to capture the community feel that I was looking for without requiring this extensive personal introspection that LJ seemed to invite. Later on LJ seemed to be intimately linked to excessive drama in a way similar to myspace became a synonym for bad CSS.

Most of the people I know these days that want to share too much seem to gravitate to platforms like twitter and facebook rather than stick with the long form LJ.
posted by vuron at 8:53 AM on September 7, 2012


I miss the LJ from before Strikethrough and Boobgate and Stormfront and basically selling out to UP. But my friends and I aren't in that place and time any more even if it was "the same" (but if UP hadn't bought it out and picked up and nuked six apart LJ would be dead like so many other sites).

I do appreciate them FINALLY fixing some of the stalker holes, though the one that lets me post as other people because of their badly coded email system is STILL there and they STILL don't care. 'sfine, there's no one I want to "trap" into replying as me so I can post as them and read their journal as if I'm them anyway.
posted by tilde at 8:54 AM on September 7, 2012


About every 6 months, I have conversations with friends-I-made-through-LJ where we bemoan how dead it is, and how much we miss the particular chemistry engendered through it. I still post there, but as others have noted, my use increases as my life stresses increase, and there are times when I'll go half a year without a word (although I read my friends page religiously every day, even if most of the content is RSS feeds). It's still the best tool I've found for making a personal record of what's going on in my life, without feeling like my shit is just... out there.

I used to be so active in Fatshionista, and my 3+ years of intense activity there had a huge hand in shaping my identity as a fat girl. I know it's still relatively active, but all of its mods have gone on to bigger and better personal blogging pastures/book writing, so the fat activism angle doesn't get so much play.

Anyway, yeah, I made some bloody amazing friends through LJ (and blurty before it), and can't imagine any social networking site providing the proper environment for that kind of connection any time soon. Watching all my friends slowly stop posting there has been very sad; we all have our Facebooks and tumblrs to keep connected, but that long form word vomit does not happen in those spaces.
posted by catch as catch can at 9:04 AM on September 7, 2012


I just started re-using my LJ account (dormant since 2008) because I'm going through a rough patch, as it's pretty much the only space I can vent without restrictions to a limited number of friends. I was happy to rediscover four or five people who (to my knowledge) have never crossed over into the Facebook zone, plus a few FB friends from across the country who write there in much greater depth. It is such a pleasure to be able to soak in their voices and the texture of their lives beyond glib status updates and pithy comments. And looking back on my own entries has been great for personal context... I only wish I'd never stopped.
posted by mykescipark at 9:06 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man. I used LJ throughout college as a combination of logging my life and proto-Twitter. I miss having a platform to write something of length and know that someone would probably read it. I'm not sure Facebook is structured for rambling screeds, and it might be worse to pour my heart/wit into something, only to be greeted with "Like". There's some interaction, but it seems too pithy, and I think the column structure makes it difficult to read longer items.

Twitter was fun for awhile, but I realized I was forming thoughts into tweetable moments, which was mostly me complaining about work. It's a neat writing exercise (I learned a lot about parsing words, phrasing, and self-editing,) but the lack of feedback felt hollow, so I quit. Also, everyone on Twitter was either boring or making passive-aggressive political/dick/political dick jokes, which got old.

Then again, I checked LJ way too often ("Maybe I have a new comment!") so it's probably healthier that I'm out of that game.
posted by Turkey Glue at 9:06 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect another factor behind LJ's decline is the aging of the codebase. LJ was written in Perl in the late 1990s, before modern web-app writing practices evolved. Perl is a language that was hacked up as a better UNIX command-line Swiss-army knife for processing data files, and later adapted to writing CGI scripts, out of which web apps grew. However, syntactically and conceptually, it is a mess compared to, say, Ruby or Python, and given that the Perl slogan is “there's always more than one way to do something”, large Perl codebases tend to grow unwieldy after a few layers of changes by different coders. Additionally, user expectations tend to evolve with new UIs, and while LJ/DW did add JavaScript-based frontends, they feel relatively hacky compared to newer apps. AFAIK, LJ still doesn't have an OAuth-based RESTful API of the sort that newer sites have, making it impossible to do things like give a subset of permissions to an individual app, and ruling out certain types of fine-grained interaction of the sort that sites like Facebook, Flickr (another oft-cited "dying" site), SoundCloud, Twitter, &c., allow.

I wonder what a new LJ designed and written today would look like. I imagine it'd be written in Rails or possibly some MVC-ish Python toolkit with extensive jQuery and/or Cappucino on the frontend, be modular in its architecture and have a RESTful API accessed through OAuth. And the social authentication part ("these people are my friends"; "can Bob see this post with these permissions?") would be sufficiently separate to be eventually capable of federation into some kind of Diaspora-style distributed social network, where you can give permissions and group membership to people in different silos.
posted by acb at 9:06 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've had a Livejournal for 12 years. I still post, and I still read the posts of the 6 friends of mine who still use it, too. Its fundamental use has not changed much for any of us -- it's where we post long, thoughtful, private thoughts to just a few friends. Most of us are not attention-hungry, and never post even vaguely private things on Facebook and etc. So Livejournal remains this sort of meeting place where we can share with the few people we really trust.

Livejournal itself has, indeed, progressively gotten more and more terrible as a service. But it's still kind of nice to still be using the same account that I started when I was 18.

My only experience with ezboard, was when some jerks created an ezboard to say salacious and cruel things about the girls in our high school. Anyone could post to the board, anyone could see what anyone posted, no one appeared to have a personal area to post a continuity of thoughts (unless I'm remembering it incorrectly). It was just a dumb forum, and a pretty far cry from what I value(d) about Livejournal.
posted by Coatlicue at 9:06 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was never super active on LJ, but I had friends who were and I created an account to more easily follow their postings. I also created a fake account of a very sad guy who talked about "what's the point of it all?" a lot. At the time, I thought it was funny, until I started getting genuine comments of concern from the community. People who didn't know me at all had stumbled across my fake LJ and were worried that I was going to kill myself. Suddenly, it didn't seem so funny and I stuck mostly to just using the account as a way of following my friends.

Reading these comments has made me nostalgic and I tried to log in. I don't remember my password and, apparently, I didn't use my Gmail address to sign up so I can't even reset it because I don't know what email address is associated with the account (and, even if I did, the address is likely dead).
posted by asnider at 9:08 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should add that, like Coatlicue, I never really saw much point to LJ. My communities were on various forums and vBulletin boards, and by the time I took an interest in blogging I had discovered Blogger and felt that it was a better system than LJ.
posted by asnider at 9:11 AM on September 7, 2012


The last time I logged into LJ with the intention of using it, they'd invented social gaming. At a time when people's Facebook feeds were clogged with Mafia Wars requests, I wonder how much that turned people off. I think they've since discontued them, though.

I wonder what happened to all the LJ celebrities, like theferrett (I think that's how it's spelt - he really creeped me out) and jameth, and mengus, and others you'd only know if we happened to post to the same communities. I also have a friend on there whose writing I absolutely adored, and I wish so much she'd get her own blog so I could read it easily, as she's not on Twitter. Probably because it's not a natural format for the way she writes.
posted by mippy at 9:12 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Side note, I have always had paper journals, since I was 7 years old. I find it to be obnoxious and unfair to criticize those of us who are prone to keeping diaries, as being excessively introspective or narcissistic. So much of the criticism leveled at Livejournal users is of that nature. I like journaling. I don't think people who keep diaries are inherently wankers. And if we are... big deal? Why is that any skin off anyone else's nose?
posted by Coatlicue at 9:12 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, everyone on Twitter was either boring or making passive-aggressive political/dick/political dick jokes, which got old.
thank you.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:14 AM on September 7, 2012


Then again, I checked LJ way too often ("Maybe I have a new comment!") so it's probably healthier that I'm out of that game.

I still get LJ notifications in my email. Over the past few years, this has been a trickle consisting entirely of spam comments advertising penis-enlargement pills and mail-order bride websites waiting for approval on the handful of public posts I made.

Side note, I have always had paper journals, since I was 7 years old.

I've kept diaries on a computer since my teens; I wrote a diary-keeping program in Turbo Pascal for Windows when I was 16 or so, and moved to text files in hierarchical directories when I moved to Linux. The diaries have gotten a lot sparser in recent years. They have remained separate from my LJ, which I treated as a means of social communication rather than a personal log.
posted by acb at 9:21 AM on September 7, 2012


In college I kept TWO online diaries - one that my friends could contribute to (it was basically a drinking diary) and one just for myself. We didn't keep them on Livejournal because we didn't want anyone to be able to comment on them, but we DID want people to read them. 2003 was a very strange time for 'social media'.
posted by muddgirl at 9:27 AM on September 7, 2012


> Üsenet

rec.arts.books, you were wonderful while you lasted.

Also, whatever happened to the metafilter I signed up for?


Oh yeah, the thread topic. What happened was that livejournal drama went mainstream and now it's everywhere.
posted by jfuller at 9:39 AM on September 7, 2012


I stopped using LJ around the same time I had gastric bypass. Fatshionista ceased to be a place that I related to (or one that related to me, a traitor) and all of my friends were on Twitter or Facebook. I still have friends that post on LJ, but I find that I interact with them more on other sites. LJ feels like too much of a chore. I waver between archiving all of my old entries (2003-09) or just letting that version of me fall by the wayside.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:42 AM on September 7, 2012


I wonder why me and my friends just decided, independently of each other, to stop posting at the same time. Is it a cause and effect thing? I'm not sure.

I wonder this too. I used LJ regularly from 2003 up until just about the end of summer 2011. It's where I met my best friend, my sweetheart, and a host of other people who are still very important to me. But now only one of them posts anymore, just because she uses it as a travel blog. Nearly everyone else is on Tumblr now, including myself. It's not the same.

The lack of really usable archiving is one of my main complaints against Tumblr, one that I haven't seen mentioned here. I wish I could review my long text posts or read others' by looking through a dated, organised archive. And I think part of the beauty of LJ was that it allowed for that kind of reminiscences, promoted it, even; it was simple and enjoyable (sometimes embarrassing) to look through old posts, read what you and your friends were saying years before. Tumblr makes that almost impossible; an endlessly updating Dashboard forces one's focus on the now.
posted by jeudi at 9:47 AM on September 7, 2012


From the comments on the Fucking Article:

As someone who used Livejournal for 10 years, survived the strikethrough, fandom wank and so much more, the thing that really got me angry was that the new format was actually giving people headaches and even severe migraines and nothing was done was to compensate those users for the downtime that resulted from those headaches. I'm one of the many roleplayers who made the permanent move to Dreamwidth after LJ's complete "My way or the highway" attitude towards the THOUSANDS of complaints about the new commenting system.

Does anyone know what happened? There was a vogue for trollish users to use blinking icons, which as someone whose migraines are often triggered by repetitive flashing was a massive pain in the arse.
posted by mippy at 10:02 AM on September 7, 2012


Wow, from the article:

“Even though [changes to] the commenting system had a big backlash, we actually received very positive feedback as well,” added Petrochenko. “We have seen a lot of people switch to the new system.”

Which means, of course, that a lot of people didn't. That sounds like brazen spin on a debacle.
posted by Malor at 10:08 AM on September 7, 2012


I used LJ to sort out my head in response to my Dad's cancer diagnosis, and didn't use it much past his death. God bless LJ.

That said, LJ died for the same reason usenet died - something easier and simpler came along. There really was a time when the barriers to entry were high. Not just anybody had access to usenet, and if you couldn't write, or couldn't take a decent photo, or create a decent doodle, you really weren't that visible on LJ either.

Now, for better or worse, everyone can get on with cameraphone pics and 140 characters. I know the next thing I'm supposed to say is get off my lawn, but I do miss how longform and personal the best LJs were.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:08 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Livejournal was huge for the fledgling webcomics community and is where I met and befriended many of my favorite people. Personally I stopped using it when screen-freezing video ads and ridiculous amounts of spam became common.

Tumblr is probably the closest site to being the new LJ, but it lacks the sense of community due to having no useful comment/conversation system (I am aware of and use Disqus, but it's just barely better than nothing).
posted by Nedroid at 10:15 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


LJ and DW are still my social media sites of choice. (I'm me over there, as well.) The combination of privacy filters and tolerance for longer, more nuanced posts still hasn't been bested by any other platform that I've seen. And luckily, I'm involved in a lot of communities that still use LJ/DW, and many of my friends -- actual friends, not "friends" in the Facebook/LJ sense -- still do, too.
posted by jiawen at 10:24 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember being back on a whole host of ezboards that seemed to capture the community feel that I was looking for without requiring this extensive personal introspection that LJ seemed to invite.

But that was the point!

Another college LJer here. I was on freeonline diaries first, and then diaryland (my diaryland diary still exists! In a grossly hobbled form!) through most of high school and the beginning of college but everyone I knew used livejournal so I jumped ship and went over there instead. It was interesting, the cultural differences between diaryland and LJ. DL was pretty much for little snippets of beautiful writing, prose poetry stuff or Bobby-Burgess-esque catharsis. I fell in love with my husband on there--he had a bunch of girls in love with him, and though we met on themakeoutclub and IMed a bunch, it was the deep, sad, introspective journaling that stole my heart.

LJ was for angst, really. Social gossip and updates on friends--this weekend we did this, I got into a fight with this person, I went on a date with this boy. When I was in college, I followed a lot of people I only knew very casually. I'd be impressively up to date on their daily lives, to a level of detail you don't even find on facebook, now. I'm not proud to say that a few friends and I swapped passwords so we could read the locked entries of people who gossiped about us. Never doing anything about it, but just knowing. It felt more detailed than the engagement we have now.

There was some of the wild beauty of DL in various communities. In some holga community, I found this beautiful girl who took photos in california and I followed her life for years. There was another--the only person I know who is still active--who wrote a journal mostly about her childhood sexual assault and the continued impact it had on her as an adult. Just gorgeous, beautiful, heartfelt writing.

But somehow I came to use my LJ for only complaining--my "kvetching journal," I called it. Good because it was locked down, but it started to feel gross and toxic after awhile. My posting tapered off to maybe . . . one post every six months.

It was strange, really strange, when I got into spec fic writing and started following a lot of people from the SF world, to see how they used livejournal. Like blogs, basically. There had always been that professional demarcation for me between blogs and LJ, but that doesn't really seem to exist in the same way in the speculative writing world.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:32 AM on September 7, 2012


Personally I left LJ when I got engaged (to another LJ user, natch). Social media is a success when it helps its users get laid. LJ worked for me!
posted by infinitewindow at 10:34 AM on September 7, 2012


"Back [when LiveJournal was first created], the Internet was really small. Think about how many websites you actually could use. You had to make do with LiveJournal and Yahoo, pretty much. "

Really, Yahoo and LiveJournal ? The only websites you could actually use ?
posted by Pendragon at 10:43 AM on September 7, 2012


Diaryland!

God, wtf would my login have been in 2003?
posted by muddgirl at 10:44 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I used livejournal all through college and my first few years out of it, up until my father died. I'd stopped updating because I associated it too much as the place where I'd talk about his cancer, and didn't really know how to break away from that.

I still love their concept of the friendslist, though (admittedly dreamwidth improved on it a little by allowing a difference between subscribing to a person and allowing them access to your friends only entries). Most people I know have two twitter accounts, one public, one private. Or one for one group of friends, one for family/fellow hobbyists/sports fans. It was so much easier with LJ to decide what you wanted people to see on a case-to-case basis.

Fact is, I don't want everyone to know everything I want to share. Part of the reason why I used LJ to talk about my dad's cancer was because I could custom friendslock it, let 25 college friends know about my frustrations with dealing with it that day, and not have to worry about my mother stumbling upon that entry. But I'd still have a public face to the blog talking about my knitting projects or whatnot, so I could show an aspect of my personality to possible new friends.

Nowadays, I just @ reply on twitter to pretty much everything. My groups of friends are pretty disparate, so one group is seeing me talk about the logistics of a new religion right now, another is seeing me talk about Supernatural, a third is really enjoying today's new google doodle, and I'm talking about a fourth's car troubles and giving her adorable gifs in return. There's not really any crossover between most of the groups, though it's not entirely private - anyone following me can click on my list of tweets and see a lot of very different one-sided conversations.

I'm on tumblr too, but it doesn't feel like I know anyone on tumblr. It feels like all consumption, no creation to me: the same as vegging out to a CSI marathon, or something. I'll add a comment or two, but that's it. Discussions are horrible.

I usually pay attention to facebook only when I want to be angry at the world.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:50 AM on September 7, 2012


Oh my god, Diaryland. Thanks for reminding me I was 16 once upon a time, internet.

There were diaryland journals where you could submit your journal and they'd post a review of it: not just your layout, but the actual content of your blog. And I thought this was a good idea. I was a pretty dumb kid sometimes.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:52 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which means, of course, that a lot of people didn't. That sounds like brazen spin on a debacle.

You know, it's weird, I was a fannish LJ person (I still have one, I still read my friendslist, people still update on it), and for a long time I was like "WE BUILT THIS ANGSTY DIGITAL CITY!" It always felt like, well, of course we must be really important to LJ, look how many of us there are!

But, I mean, LJ doesn't care about the English-speaking fannish community because we're like .07% of their user base. Fandom_Counts had 30,000 users, but there are more than FIVE MILLION Cyrillic-language accounts. English-speaking fans aren't even a vocal minority; they're a non-entity. Of course whoever is in charge of English-language user relations sounds kind of amateur and ridiculous. I suspect she's actually a freakin' intern. Of course everything LJ does that affects English-language fannish users seems poorly thought-out. I'd lay money that they don't think about how things will affect English-language users at all. Why would they? It would be like Wells Fargo worrying about how a dip in the NASDAQ will affect their thriving stagecoach trade in the Western territories.

In that sense, I think this article is totally weird and Anglo-centric in an uninformed way. There was absolutely a decline- hell, an exodus- in/of English-speaking fans using LJ. That's a totally interesting history, especially the part where fans up and build their own damn platforms and businesses while simultaneously overestimating their importance to LJ as a business (I think there's probably an argument to be made that the reason the creators of Dreamwidth succeeded is because they understood their market and LJ's market, and they understood that those two markets didn't actually overlap that much, and damn do I want to read that case study in the HBR someday). But LJ itself didn't decline so much as it shifted its userbase; it's alive and well. In Russia.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:53 AM on September 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


As someone who used Livejournal for 10 years, survived the strikethrough, fandom wank and so much more, the thing that really got me angry was that the new format was actually giving people headaches and even severe migraines and nothing was done was to compensate those users for the downtime that resulted from those headaches. I'm one of the many roleplayers who made the permanent move to Dreamwidth after LJ's complete "My way or the highway" attitude towards the THOUSANDS of complaints about the new commenting system.

Does anyone know what happened? There was a vogue for trollish users to use blinking icons, which as someone whose migraines are often triggered by repetitive flashing was a massive pain in the arse.


I was going to say I don't think this actually happened. Every time anything changes on LJ, there's a shitstorm so massive that I hear about it even though I specifically never read news posts. But, here's a thread, courtesy of google.

The thing I find most frustrating are the massive entitlement issues of the anglophone userbase. See, for instance, the comment quoted above. Of course it's "my way or the highway", it's a website, for god's sake! Clearly RPGers weren't that important to LJ. There were a series of DDoS attacks where there was speculation that they were politically-motivated attacks from within Russia. Cue the anglophone userbase complaining how the Russians "stole" their site and how it wasn't fair they should suffer due to Russian politics.

On preview, Snarl Furillo has written a much better comment.
posted by hoyland at 10:59 AM on September 7, 2012


More interesting than the decline of LiveJournal as a social media platform is the rise of other internet sites as a direct result of the fast and broad, but fleeting, success of LiveJournal. I'm not talking about the impact from a feature perspective, though that does exist in the privacy model of Facebook (configurable and variable privacy filters) and Twitter's timeline (similar to "friends" view). As a member of the original LiveJournal crew I'm biased, but working for other websites I continue to see the impact LiveJournal's software and architecture on a daily basis.

The combination of LiveJournal's lack of funding, necessity for risk in a new industry (blogging wasn't even a word yet), and the lack of inexpensive + reliable hardware solutions at the time required the team to develop our own software and architecture. Back then, "real" technology companies worked only with enterprise hardware, which failed as much as commodity hardware but had "one throat to choke" so everyone fell over themselves to support this broken model. What is interesting about memcache/mogilefs/gearman/perlbal isn't the software itself, but how it changed how websites scaled with very little money. This allowed many sites to explode during a couple dot com bubble bursts - something they wouldn't have been able to sustain on enterprise hardware. Lots of examples of this I won't include here, but basically all the sites you used in the mid 00s.

If you know anything about running websites, you are familiar with memcache so this impact is more obvious. Memcache *still* powers the majority of websites that you've used in the last 10 years. (Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, everything else).

In addition to the specific software that came from the original LiveJournal crew, the database architecture (and specifically its sharding model) has been emulated on sites around the world and was the default "how to scale databases" architecture for years. Again, Twitter, Facebook were huge consumers of this model (and have since evolved) but I see this in smaller sites constantly.

Google "Livejournal scaling" and you'll see tons of presentations about this architecture and the story of how it grew from the back-end perspective.

Finally, many of the original LiveJournal employees are working at top social platforms on the internet today. (Where are they now? http://danga.com/). Twitter, Facebook, Google, SAY media, etc.

I am sad about history being rewritten from this "comical" perspective, and the fact that LiveJournal is a tiny footnote on social media history. But, kids entering high school now weren't born when Brad started LiveJournal so I wouldn't expect them to care much about the history of LJ. Knowing the real LJ history and what is significant about its impact - and how it is still significant today - is a lesson for future sites as we continue to innovate and question what is broken in our models today.
posted by lisaphillips at 11:21 AM on September 7, 2012 [28 favorites]


Has anyone else noticed the length of responses in this thread? They're basically the size of a mid-2000s LJ entry. And that is hilarious.
posted by griphus at 11:23 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


WE ONLY HAVE A FEW OUTLETS LEFT, GRIPHUS. METAFILTER DOESN'T HAVE A CHARACTER LIMIT.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:24 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, your Telex machine still works, clearly.
posted by griphus at 11:25 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've also had a livejournal since 2002. At the time, literally all of the cool kids in college had one, and for a time, all of my friends did. I've met a lot of people that way, though most of them have remained online friends. It has been, for better or worse, my social life. I've been trying to get more established at DW, but the fact remains that the people are all still at LJ, or they're on Tumblr. Neither Tumblr nor FB are conducive to thoughtfulness. More people are finding their way over to DW, but it's slow going.

I respected Brad. I felt like if I had a problem with LJ, I could go to Brad or one of the other original officials and they would help me. Not only do I not feel like the current LJ masters don't care about us, they actively make fun of us. So I don't pay for my account anymore, but I feel like I'm the only one losing out because of my decreased functionality.
posted by koucha at 11:28 AM on September 7, 2012


I'm not involved in it, but perhaps DeviantArt had a role in eroding LJ's userbase?
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:28 AM on September 7, 2012


I really don't think DeviantArt had anything to do with it. DA is all images, and LJ has always been more text based. Even with the artists I followed on LJ, they'd often make sure there was some sort of comment to go along with the image they were posting.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:31 AM on September 7, 2012


I'm not sure I knew anyone who had a DA account to the exclusion of an LJ account. There was a lot of overlap, though.
posted by griphus at 11:32 AM on September 7, 2012


There were diaryland journals where you could submit your journal and they'd post a review of it: not just your layout, but the actual content of your blog. And I thought this was a good idea. I was a pretty dumb kid sometimes.

Heh, when I first had LJ I joined some indie kid community where you had to apply to get in and drop all the right song lyrics, etc., but I got rejected because of my photos, which used some dumb photoshop effects. All the teenagers in there said I must have been fat and hiding it, even though I "seemed like a cool alt" or whatever.

Then like six months later I applied to join poetryslamming, a community you had to apply to to join, with a portfolio of poems and they would tear you apart. I was probably prouder about my acceptance (which was almost unanimous, except for two people who insisted I must have plagiarized) than I was when I got into an MFA program. It was actually a really solid, interesting community of writers. Introduced me to speculative poetry! A lot of the people there have gone on to do amazing things.

I really don't think DeviantArt had anything to do with it. DA is all images, and LJ has always been more text based. Even with the artists I followed on LJ, they'd often make sure there was some sort of comment to go along with the image they were

There was a pretty sizable community of poets on DA.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:34 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am missing a proper location in which to share the hilarious foibles and my mother and technology. Today she asked me if she could use Vuze to torrent The Wire. This is a woman who thought her TV was broken because she needed new batteries in the remote -- and thought she needed NiCads because when she looked, she confused the remote with the phone.
posted by Madamina at 11:42 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what happened to all the LJ celebrities, like theferrett (I think that's how it's spelt - he really creeped me out)

I, uh, heard somewhere that he's taken up gasbagging on fetlife.
posted by clavicle at 11:45 AM on September 7, 2012


Brad Fitzpatrick came to a party at my house once. He said my website sucked. Nevermind that he was right, it kind of rankled.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:46 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's still big in SF circles, and blogs on his own site.

(I recently had to explain the Open Source Boob Proj to someone at a con *shudder*)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:52 AM on September 7, 2012


Man... I discovered LJ in college, and used to talk to people about TV shows and life stuff for almost TEN YEARS in various forms. I don't know if maybe a whole bunch of people just aged out of that at the same time, but when I got married and had a kid, I just drifted away. It wasn't that I didn't want to. It was... I don't know, was it a time issue, an investment issue?

Just last night I was thinking "I wish I could talk to the Internet about this TV show I'm catching up on!" but then I thought nostalgically about how on LJ, you could CUT FOR SPOILERS and people who had already watched could click, and and and... facebook/tumbler/wordpress are just not the same. And LJ felt so much more like I was just chatting to my fellow nerds who also liked to overanalyze TV shows to death, and less like I needed to post things that were sufficiently cool for public consumption. It was just more of a conversation.

Open Source Boob Project - man, I just recently had to explain this to my spouse. I think he thought I was lying.

LIVEJOURNAL I MISS YOU SO MUCH.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:58 AM on September 7, 2012


In that sense, I think this article is totally weird and Anglo-centric in an uninformed way. But LJ itself didn't decline so much as it shifted its userbase; it's alive and well. In Russia.

I had that thought as I read through the article, too. Hell, even the framing of the FPP (which, to be fair, is lifted directly from the article) had me wondering why we're talking about LJ as it if is in decline when, in fact, it is doing quite well, just not in the anglosphere.
posted by asnider at 12:07 PM on September 7, 2012


I hate to say it, but LJ was my writing school. I mean, I tell a good yarn in person, because my inherent shyness and sense of inadequacy fuel a ferocious bravado that keeps me from just crawling into a little hole somewhere to wait out the end of the world, and I have a degree in poetry, of all the stupid things, but LJ was my master class. When I was writing on my own, my writing was clever and showy, but stilted and detached, too. It's smart, but cold—real parlor trick emotion, as someone once said. LJ was like having a column in a little newspaper in some imaginary one horse town, and the feedback was a great thing. I've always loved Jean Shepherd's amazing radio work, and I loved the breezy thrill of Armistead Maupin, and the medium really does shape the message.

I have my share of LJ posts of the awkward, uncomfortable, angsty variety, which are now safely encased in the carbonite of a PRIVATE setting, and when I am tempted to peer back into those, I'm horrified. There's something uniquely desolate about having a complex, challenging, and ultimately devastating relationship with an imaginary newspaper column from which to vent your troubles. It's too easy to mistake LJ people for actual human beings, which they are, but not in the way you know them.

At the same time, I wrote whole performance pieces in episodic form on LJ. I wrote book-length serials of narrative essays on all sorts of topics, from my failed early attempt to become a writer to what turned into the roots of my as-yet unpublished white whale, Scaggsville. All told, I've got 4200 pages of stuff I wrote out there, mostly private now, but some still exposed like bleached bones subsiding into the soil. Recently, I rediscovered my demented pervy sex travelogue, Scrapple Whore, which I'd forgotten I even wrote and can never publish while my mom's still alive, though 479 people had access to it on LJ for a time. I wrote about being happy, and about lost friends and about surrealistic bill collection calls.

The medium lends itself to garish, unseemly excess, and I wrote my share, but you learn to write by writing, and on LJ, I wrote 2-20 pages a day, every day, until I ended up in a line of work that finally broke my spirit and made me chase sweet emptiness instead of literary aspirations. Goodbye, furious novel attempts and hello hidey holes.

At first facebook was okay. Now I hate it, but if I let it go, I've got no one to talk to. I hate the constant stream of postcard images with superimposed text. I hate the fact that if I write a post that's three paragraphs long, I get "LOL too long!" I hate that my Southern relatives seem to post nothing but histrionic shared images about how Obama is going to ruin America forever and that they've just had a delicious sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. I hate that when I express an opinion, people write "wow, tell us what you REALLY think!" I hate that you can't format a fucking word on FB, because italics are a sacrament. I hate the apps and the games and the shorthand and the LOLs and it just...ugh.

I write on LJ still, once in a while. Sometimes, I post things I've written on mefi, as if those two worlds could ever meet. I've tried starting a journal elsewhere, but nothing. It's like the magic is all used up. What LJ was, mefi is now, at least for me, but as much as I'm prone to lurching tangentially from a topic into three thousand words of a barely-relevant dance in the periphery, this isn't the place for the worst of those excesses.

Lately, I'm trying to surrender to Twitter. I can quip and be clever. I'm also trying to take the writing I honed working at my imaginary newspaper column and get out into the real world, but it's a big scary place out there, and even ferocious bravado isn't always enough. My one and only tattoo reads "omnia mutantur - nihil interit" as a reminder that the world is always changing, but the good stuff persists. It's out there, I think.

Right?
posted by sonascope at 12:12 PM on September 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


There's so much I want to say here. So much missed in both the article and many of the perspectives.

Though I was often a voice defending the fuckups that happened at LJ years ago, I always knew how critical and terrible those errors often were. As did Brad, and others. It felt like watching a friend you love and care about make a bad decision and not being able to stop them.

Anjelika really does care about the site, and is in a tough spot when it comes to U.S. users. (Russian users have challenges, too, but overall are doing fine.) I think the fact that Facebook and Twitter and Flickr (and many others) directly found inspiration for their core features from LiveJournal's example is a meaningful impact to have had, as Lisa alluded to above.

It'd probably take me 3x as many words as have been spilled in this thread to really explain the story of what I think "happened" to LiveJournal, but the most useful thing I can say is that I'm glad it's existed, am proud of what little tiny part I played in trying to help it, incredibly inspired by my friends and colleagues who worked on it, happy for the ideas and distractions I've discovered on the site, and optimistic than many of its best principles will return to prominence on the web.
posted by anildash at 12:17 PM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I met my husband, my best friend, and my basically-family roommate through LJ, and LJ was the vector through which I got to know most of my friends in comics. These days, my circle uses it for various life updates and discussions that aren't appropriate for Facebook or Twitter -- a problem with a publisher, a house fire and the aftermath, a still-secret pregnancy, ranting about a television show that you're too close to professionally to talk about in public. Most of my infrequent posts these days get maybe a small handful of comments; sometimes, everyone will happen to be around at the right time, and an entry on my flist will almost be like the good old days, with dozens of comments and chains so long that LJ collapses them.

I really miss that site. Google Plus is the closest to replicating its basic functionality, but no one really uses it. The internet has felt much more disconnected, lonely and shallow since LJ started to fall apart.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:26 PM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh. And I'm one of those losers who bought a permanent account like six years ago.

Fuck yeah, max number of icons FOREVER.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:35 PM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sonascope, I think I am a writer because of LJ. It taught me to produce a lot of material and not be precious and angsty about it. Pre-LJ I wrote in secret private documents. (What if somebody SAW THIS??? My WORDS.) But LJ taught me to let it all hang out. Mediocre-but-copious writing leads to better writing, I believe. (Or at least it did in me.) Blogging is not the same. I feel self-conscious about it, like I need to be producing professional-quality material. So I put off doing it. Whereas LJ was just like, "What do I think about this latest episode of some bad TV show? I AM GLAD YOU ASKED."

Reading this thread REALLY makes me miss LJ. Narrative Priorities' comment especially reminds me of what it was to me and makes me wish this space still existed in my life. Now that I'm a grown-up, there's really no place in my online life where I can just talk honestly about personal and professional things. Facebook is full of moms and Republicans and people I know professionally. I can't speak freely about the irritating meeting I just had, etc. Blogging feels like I'm publishing something (and so I have to be serious about the writing - I have to edit it, and I can't really say something personal or grouchy) into the void.

I really miss the confluence of casual-thoughtful-private-community LJ provided. Now I even feel slightly nostalgic for the crazy drama!
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:37 PM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh shit, I mentioned memcached above but looking at the Danga site reminds me that Brad also originated OpenID. Damn.
posted by kmz at 12:55 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joe I mess you and your cabin/stories on my ElJay feed .... but glad to find you hereeee.
posted by tilde at 1:01 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really miss that site. Google Plus is the closest to replicating its basic functionality, but no one really uses it.

I was so hopeful for Google Plus when it first came out, but the real names policy seemed like it slowed growth right when it started, and after that it was hard to convince other people to sign up. The people that were really interested in privacy were irritated at having their name having to be attached to everything they write, and it seemed like 90% of everyone else was okay with facebook.

What really strikes me is that Twitter, Tumblr, and Google Plus don't really have communities the way that lj does. If I want to find someone on the internet who shares my interest in, say, amigurumi penguin patterns and I would like to discuss it with them, twitter doesn't have a group for that. There are tags, sure, but they're unreliable and not standardized at all. I could go and find the amigurumi penguin pattern message board, but it's not centralized, and any interesting person I find on there isn't going to have a personalized journal so that I could snoop around and see if I want to get to know this person.

I don't even know how you meet new people on the internet anymore, outside of metafilter meetups. Is the answer reddit? I suspect it might be reddit.

Admittedly, facebook does have open groups, but facebook seems too big, or something. Too much noise for me to venture out and like things and meet new people. Maybe I've just friended too many people from elementary school.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:01 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


What really strikes me is that Twitter, Tumblr, and Google Plus don't really have communities the way that lj does.

I discovered this recently when I wanted to form an NYC MetaFilter group and Google Groups ended up being the best option. It seems to be humming along, but that's a community service even more obscure than Google Plus.

Also, was anyone in here active in sextips? Because that was basically a AskMe before AskMe (except much more limited in scope.)
posted by griphus at 1:07 PM on September 7, 2012


Also, was anyone in here active in sextips? Because that was basically a AskMe before AskMe (except much more limited in scope.)

No, but I was in the girlybits version of that--vaginapagina? That sounds about right.

I'm actually pretty active in several writing communities that branched off of forums (absolutewrite, mostly) into private subforums. Those communities feel pretty close to LJ, with the angsting, the day-to-day updates, the sharings of hopes and ambitions and annoyances (was anyone else a library employee who loved libpatronssuck?)

It's funny, though. I feel like, having been a 12-year-old on AOL and usenet, and then a teenager on freeopendiaries and diaryland, and a college student on LJ, and now, a twentysomething, here and on youtube and twitter and reddit and for a moment g+, the site itself has never mattered much to me compared to the personal communications it facilitated. I had friends who refused to read my blog after I ditched LJ, who won't keep in touch but on facebook. That seems so weird to me. The internet is a broad place, with a lot of potential for communication; I don't really understand sticking to one corner of it.

Doesn't mean I don't like some better than others. Like you guys, f'rinstance.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:20 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


There were diaryland journals where you could submit your journal and they'd post a review of it: not just your layout, but the actual content of your blog. And I thought this was a good idea. I was a pretty dumb kid sometimes.

Oh yeah, Livejournal had ratings communites - ones based on looks/'attitude', and ones based on listing your top 10 books/films/albums (the book one would see the OP challenged with questions such as 'Name your top five Chinese-Australian authors' and then their detailed response would be met with a curt 'Nope.'). They seemed like asking for angst, really.

I've had a stupidly stressful day at work - frustrating enough for me to be spending tonight watching 93 episodes of Desperate Housewives in a row - and in LJ days I would have hopped on there to moan about x, y and z. But I then realised that my engagement with the site dropped off when I changed jobs to something heavily bound by confidentiality, so I wouldn't. Another friend of mine got a Big Important Job and didn't feel comfortable discussing the same things on the internet either. Did we all grow up?
posted by mippy at 1:29 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Funny, my livejournal posting devolved into kvetch central when I had jobs that I could only talk about through locked posts with a limited group of friends. Funny, too, that many of you used LJ as therapy during hard years. My year of heaviest participation is when my grandfather died. Being in a happier place now, and not wanting to fall back on behavior that was a coping mechanism for a darker time in my life . . . that's been a big part of why I've stepped back participation, I think.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:32 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh christ, Open Source Boob Project. If I'd never heard of it I'd think you were lying too. That might have been the thread that got me on Metafilter.

Also, I just looked up gasbagging. What in the name of lemon-scented fuck?
posted by mippy at 1:46 PM on September 7, 2012


Also, I just looked up gasbagging. What in the name of lemon-scented fuck?

That's not the bacon thing, is it?
posted by acb at 2:02 PM on September 7, 2012


It always makes me unaccountably sad when people talk about the death of LJ, because it's a site that is really strongly linked to my college and grad school experience, and I think it serves as a reminder that those highly-emotional (for better or for worse) and eventful days are over. I jumped ship from a short-lived Diaryland to LJ my first semester of freshman year in 2003, and proceeded to write volumes. (I just got an LJ book thanks to this thread to preserve the whole thing, and it's over 1300 pages long.) The community generated was a wonderful thing, but I think people are right when they say that with the dwindling returns of LJ, the feedback loop became more satisfying on Facebook and Twitter. But Twitter is unsatisfying due to length, and I definitely have a much more "curated" face that I show to Facebook. LJ was for stories, and humour, and angst, and hope. There's a song in the musical Next To Normal where the main character, on medication for bipolar, sings, "I Miss The Mountains" -life on the meds is more stable, but she misses the exciting peaks and lows she used to have. That's kind of how I feel about my writing life (and life in general) in the LJ years; it was up and down, but very exciting.

I met my fiance because of LJ. We went to the same school, but hadn't met yet. He had an internship abroad. We were both a part of the "Princetonians" community on LJ, though, and you could see the entries of other members on the "Princetonians Friends" page. He told me that he began to wonder, "who is this girl who posts such long, intricate entries?" and started reading. Love at first read, I guess, even through my angst over a failed high school long-distance relationship. Comments led to dropping hints, which led to a date when he returned. We celebrated eight years together yesterday and are planning a wedding for next year, so thanks, LJ. The relationship has outlasted my journal; though I have posted in it as recently as April (for the four people who are still there), the title is "New Blog" - one of my more "professional" writing projects.

I love looking back at my journal, even if I cringe sometimes. I look at some of the things we did and said and the conversations I recorded that I'm forgetting even a few years out, and I am so thankful that I have it all down somewhere. I regret that, now, there's a much more incomplete record of my life and much of the record isn't very permanent, with disappearing tweets and statuses. Unfortunately, you can't get the college years back (even at Reunions) and you can't recapture the LJ community, but you can be extremely glad they happened.
posted by ilana at 2:05 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


For those still on LJ, I just created chatfilter.
posted by fings at 2:20 PM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OH NO. I meant the actual practice of being a gasbag. Not, um, the other thing, of which I was not aware.
posted by clavicle at 2:46 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I miss LJ's privacy filters.

Facebook technically lets you do the fine grained privacy thing, but it's a ball-ache and doesn't come anywhere close to how easy it was to set up and maintain those filters on LJ.

It's not just the privacy filters either, I miss the courtesy filters that became part of the site culture primarily because filters were so easy to set up. If you had an LJ friend who mostly posted book reviews, political rants and pictures of her kids, odds were she'd have opt-in courtesy filters so that if you didn't want her politics or her kids on your flist then you would never have to see them.

Now look at your Facebook newsfeed and weep a little.
posted by the latin mouse at 2:50 PM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Facebook technically lets you do the fine grained privacy thing, but it's a ball-ache and doesn't come anywhere close to how easy it was to set up and maintain those filters on LJ.

True; Facebook's interface to the API shows every sign of having been slapped together in a hurry without much concern about its usability.

Friend lists are exposed in the Facebook API, though, and people have written apps for editing them. Feeling a need (and suspecting that others felt it too), I wrote one for the iPhone a while ago; it hasn't been a runaway success, though.

It's not just the privacy filters either, I miss the courtesy filters that became part of the site culture primarily because filters were so easy to set up. If you had an LJ friend who mostly posted book reviews, political rants and pictures of her kids, odds were she'd have opt-in courtesy filters so that if you didn't want her politics or her kids on your flist then you would never have to see them.

That's true. I suspect it's like USENET vs. AOL circa 1994; a mainstream culture that unites people from all backgrounds isn't going to have much in the way of cultural norms beyond the equivalent of not spitting on the floor.
posted by acb at 2:58 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just googled for my old livejournal gang (c. 2005-2007) and the first hit was a two day old post with photo of one of the big dogs from the old days in my group. (Think Matt if it was metafilter.) And he still has the exact same haircut and face hair. Wooooah!

I miss it but I don't really have much in common with them now. Five years is a long time for me. I was stunned at what google dredged up fresh.
posted by bukvich at 3:49 PM on September 7, 2012


less like I needed to post things that were sufficiently cool for public consumption.

everyone is in PR now and you don't need more than 140 chars. for a tagline/blurb/viral meme

the thing about this is that i'm actually too young to have used livejournal
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:09 PM on September 7, 2012


The layered privacy in LJ was another wonderful thing, and I trusted it, even if I might have been naive. On facebook, making little notes that start out and remain private, the ads discuss things and concepts in my private posts, and that gives me the willies. On LJ, I had one or two slip-ups, all on my end, alas.

"Uncle Joe, what do you do at a 'boo-cake' party?"

My eyebrows reached escape velocity on their way up, but I was able to restrain them before they achieved orbit.

"A what now?"

"A 'boo-cake' party!"

I narrowed my eyes a bit, sweating the whole time. What did I leave open that that little girl read oh my god, this is bad and...

I realized she was referencing a post I made about a curious incident where I was convinced my then-it's-complicated was taking me to a bukakke party for my birthday, but in fact, we went to play lasertag with a hundred annoying little children. The pervy bits were more referential, but holy balls, that's not a subject for an eleven year-old. I am a terrible uncle.

Part of me wanted to say "well, honey, when mommies and daddies or daddies and daddies love each other very much, they get together with ten to thirty-five of their very best friends at the Ramada Inn by the airport and—" but I just shrugged.

"It's for Halloween. Ghost cake. You light the candles and white stuff flies all around the room."

Oh yes, that's much better, you stupid asshole.

It's probably just a minor detail, but facebook gives me this sort of feeling of flattening of affect, like a depression drifting in. If you're too angry, you get "hugz," which, in my case, just deepens my latent misanthropy, and if you're too sad, you get "hugz," which, in my case, just deepens my sense of how isolated I've gotten in the last several years. You tone down, moderate, and flatten out. Pretty soon, you're just an amusing wit in a not very joyous party, trading bon mot for validation. It could just be me.

On LJ, there was a sense that people knew me well enough, at least as this sort of literary gestalt of personality complexes, that I could relay a nagging sensation and get some degree of fellow feeling.

I made a sort of self-effacing quip on FB about being essentially undateable, by virtue of working a million hours, being exhausted all the time, and having sort of a bad cloud over my head. Of the three people I dated at least once in the last three years, one stopped calling me, which I thought was because he didn't like me, but was actually because he had an aortic dissection, ended up in a coma for months, then died. Had a lunch date with another, didn't work out, stuff happened, he died, too. Had a lunch date with another guy, and just before the second date, he moved to Austin. There's something morbidly funny about this, particularly after the fact. On LJ, you can write about something like this with a degree of self-effacing humor and nuance, but there's no there elsewhere—people just say "grar, that's horrible...HUGZ" and I roll my eyes until I'm blind from severing my own optic nerves in the effort.

I sort of position myself as a romantic Charlie Brown, running for a football that's always being snatched away. It's a half-hearted jab at the complexity of modern life, though, not a desperate plea.

"You should delete that post, Joe," says my former-it's-complicated, who's complicated enough that it's partly a bit of left over guilt on his end and partly that, yeah, on FB, everything mildy melancholic will get you diagnosed with clinical depression by an army of armchair psychiatrists. A couple thousand words let you refine a point. A paragraph is just a cry for help.

Sigh. I switched it to private.

On LJ, my nest of privacy settings was substantial and comprehensive. I could zero in on precisely the audience I cared to share things with. On FB, maybe I could do it, but the audience isn't worth the effort. It's a library of pamphlets on there—a world-spanning sea that's three inches deep.

I want to quit it all, but I'm vain, sometimes.

"Xxxxx told me how much he enjoys your facebook posts, you know," says former-it's-complicated, referencing a moderately well-known Canadian friend we have in common, and I am momentarily flushed with pride to entertain someone so accomplished at his own craft.

Fuck. I'm stuck in this stupid, stupid world.

LOL! LMFAO! ROFLMAO!

Christ.
posted by sonascope at 4:26 PM on September 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


I, too, am still active on LJ, though I'm among the last of my friends hanging on. I got my account back in 2002 when you still needed an invite code. My boyfriend at the time had an LJ and wouldn't give me a code because he thought I "wouldn't use it right." Uh, ok. Cute Guy At Work also had an LJ and said "you want an invite code? I'll give you, like, ten of mine." Cute Guy At Work and I are now married with kid. My LJ has morphed into kind of a mom blog, though I try to not be super precious about it. I miss having a big enough audience to talk about tv shows and what's going on over the weekend and work stuff. It kind of feels like talking into a void now, but I still do it 'cause I like talking.

In my LJ circle I think the beginning of the end was people's jobs starting to filter social media, some people couldn't access LJ from work. Then we all became busier at work, and in life, and now we all have houses and are starting to have kids.... Dang. Psyched for the chatfilter group, though, great idea!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:48 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


My experience with social media has gone as follows:

1) My friends complain that it's hard to keep track of me and suggest I get an LJ account. I do so. Shortly thereafter, LJ is a wasteland.

2) My friends complain that it is hard to keep track of me and suggest I get a MySpace account. I do so. Shortly thereafter, MySpace is a wasteland.

3) My friends complain that it is hard to keep track of me and suggest I get a Facebook account. I have recently done so.

FEAR ME FACEBOOK I AM THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS!
posted by kyrademon at 4:59 PM on September 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Did LiveJournal fail, at least in the U.S.? If so, why?

Why have all my Livejournal friends stopped updating?

Have Mark Zuckerberg's Livejournal posts been archived anywhere?

Why does LiveJournal keep a 1999 copyright in its footer?

Is LiveJournal profitable?

Do people find the LiveJournal site to have an unintuitive user interface?

Quora is a place on the web where people still write long-form essays. Though of course it's not the same since Quora is all about displaying and rating expertise (and now you have to sign in even to read the answers other people have written! Dick move, Quora!)
posted by subdee at 5:07 PM on September 7, 2012


Was on LJ and am now on DW and tumblr. When people figured out how to use RSS readers, and more services supported automatic crossposting, and it became socially acceptable to "spam" Twitter/Facebook/etc with links to your stuff posted elsewhere, I think this also helped to make it easier for people to move away. I mean, I can't be the only person who was on Livejournal because Friends List was so great? With all these developments, the Friends List becomes less important.

Sadly you can't really control what you read on Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter the way you can on Livejournal. Either it's everything, or the service decides what it thinks you want to see. Reading filters are a great great thing. If Google Plus didn't require real names, and Google Reader hadn't taken away Sharing and Commenting, maybe more fannish LJers would have gone there?

I do love Tumblr, though. It's great for discovering new stuff, and I kinda like all the pictures and links-with-short-comments culture, and the fact that people you don't even know will like your posts and follow you - which happened on LJ, but do you remember how shy we all were about asking to friend someone - or commenting on their posts - if we didn't know each other through a community or a mutual friend? Maybe that was just me and my friends?
posted by subdee at 5:10 PM on September 7, 2012


There's a documented chunk of my life there I should probably download.
posted by ephemerae at 5:13 PM on September 7, 2012


I still use it. It's not so bad not that fucking Meena and Six Apart haven't got their goddamned fuckin shit grubby mitts on it anymore. Yes, it's sad it isn't like it was. Hard to find regular users and connect, but it's still the best, IMO. I can be me, I can say what I want, to like minded people. I don't have a hundred bajillion "friends" who friend me because they know someone who knows me IRL, and I'm not obligated to be friends with family who are on there, nor with others who I normally wouldn't befriend. I try to not do that on facebook but there are so many damn people on there, that there are people I would probably not choose to add in real life, because it's rude, so I add them.

But on LJ, I find people based on INTEREST.

ANd it's not that stupid bullshit ADD 140 character limits, and it's not "hey look at this picture"

And back in the day I wished they made embedding and linking things easier, but in the end, I'm kinda glad it isn't, because it would make everything fucking even more trivial (just like having a facebook post-link button on every page).

I still love LJ and it is STILL the best goddamned social network that exists for those who don't want to or don't feel the need to befriend RL people who you really don't give a shit about and would rather find people with similar/off the beaten path interests.

But it's not a forum. I love mefi, and I think ya'll are kinda like a second family, but it's not "MY" personal place to rant and vent and post my personal shit. LJ let's me be me,and they were the first one to let things be filtered based on lists and groups, things that took FB a long time to really implement, and that GPlus never really nailed as much as they made it seem like that's what they were all about (IMO).

Unless the Russians completely FSB/KGB the shit out of it, or they completely 6A it and make it 100% bullshit commercial (or if they pull off an FB re-innovation), then I will gladly go down with the ship and lament the loss of my lovely over 10+ years friend of a service. I don't have this relationship with any other website nore with any site for as long as i have with LJ.

The early sites I used to visit have all really either died, or weren't really socially oriented in the first place.
posted by symbioid at 5:33 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


acb: " Also, I just looked up gasbagging. What in the name of lemon-scented fuck?

That's not the bacon thing, is it?
"

Nah - it's lemonparty.
posted by symbioid at 5:41 PM on September 7, 2012


PhoBWanKenobi: "... that's been a big part of why I've stepped back participation, I think."

I make a concerted effort to post when things are good, as well as when things are bad. That may make me seem manic-depressive rather than just depressive, but oh well. I could make an effort to post every day and even things out, but I tend to want to post only when something is truly noteworthy.
posted by jiawen at 6:33 PM on September 7, 2012


I ran a really active community for several years there towards the end, but around 2009 or so I knew it was done. I made the last few posts - "Anyone here?" Etc I got a few private emails but no posts. Myspace had pulled the first batch of people away and I'd tried to counter that by having a Myspace page for the LJ group... and then there was Facebook.

Because of this post, I went and checked out the community... I've gotta do a lot of cleanup. Apparently, lots of people want to post Russian porn on a Rhode Island LJ community page. I'm not quite sure what their strategy is there.

Also, I'd forgotten that early on, LJ was invite only. Had to go look up a few things and also had forgotten about Vox and the purchase by 6 Apart. A lot can happen in a little over a decade, I guess.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:39 PM on September 7, 2012


LJ was the first place I ever used the name "Pope Guilty"; I made a lot of friends there that I still talk to, and many I haven't even thought about in years. I get depressed when I think too much about it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 PM on September 7, 2012


My LJ turned ten years old in January. I still write in it, although not daily like I did back in the old days. I sometimes reread LJ from years ago and it makes me sad and wistful to see how many friends I had on there and how much we used to comment on each other's posts. Facebook never got that level of participation from a lot of my friends - nothing else ever did. LJ had something special that I think is disappearing from the internet, a real expectation of deep and personal interaction. I remember at one point a couple of years ago I wrote a post about some medical stuff and a guy I knew made a jokey offhand comment about it and I just thought, boy, that kind of shit would fly on facebook but on LJ, you just got yourself unfriended. I don't take that kind of idiocy from LJ users, fool. This isn't some dumb website. We have standards here, dude.

I quit facebook a year ago, so at this point I'm in a digital no-man's-land in terms of keeping up with IRL people. I email anyone I'd like to catch up with. Some people don't even check email any more.

In 2005 I gave up LiveJournal for Lent and people were sad about it. They told me they'd really feel the lack of me for 40 days. I don't think most of my facebook "friends" even know I quit.
posted by town of cats at 8:17 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm glad I get to see Pope guilty here on mefi even if not much on lj :-)
posted by symbioid at 8:43 PM on September 7, 2012


I'm still on LJ, and although I don't post daily (never did, really) I check it several times a day. It feels weird that a place I perceive as still quite active is dead to so many people. That's how I think about Usenet (many of the old rec.arts.books.sf crew seem to be on LJ, at least in part) and Diaryland, my former hangs. I follow along with some fannish stuff, but also a big dollop of authors and people who post thoughtful reviews and criticisms, various communities, a couple of people I know in real life (it was never my venue for communication with real-life friends and family) plus a few people who are just entertaining reads. I don't get a lot of comments on my writing, but I never did anywhere else, either.

I have my escape hatch Dreamwidth account ready and waiting, and some of the people I read on my LJ feed are actually crossposting from there. But as of yet, I haven't been abandoned, left to scan a friendslist covered in sad tumbleweeds. Facebook is my carefully curated public face, Tumblr is where I put up stuff that my sister across the country can see and laugh at, Twitter never stuck with me, Ao3 is where the fic also lives, and Pinterest is where I stick photos of various pearl pendants so I can figure out which one I like best.

You know, perhaps I spend too much time on the internet.
posted by PussKillian at 9:41 PM on September 7, 2012


He told me that he began to wonder, "who is this girl who posts such long, intricate entries?" and started reading. Love at first read, I guess, even through my angst over a failed high school long-distance relationship.

Oh God, I had a hilarious South African stalker at one point. He would e-mail me these cryptic messages, and then when I didn't reply would accuse me of 'creating marks on a page to lure in sensitive young men' and told me if I didn't want him to write to me ('I will just write to you, and you don't need to respond') I should contact his employer. He also told me that my pictures 'remind me of a young Peter Ustinov' and 'I think you could be happy with a man who likes cricket and votes Conservative'.
posted by mippy at 12:45 AM on September 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've tried starting a journal elsewhere, but nothing. It's like the magic is all used up.

Oh god, I love you for this comment. For four years I constantly had people tell me I should write a book. That daily ritual of telling stories into a little box on the internet does sharpen your skills - even if the audience you're writing for is never quite real.
posted by mippy at 12:48 AM on September 8, 2012


ONTD is still HUGE, though. I can't look at it as it makes me feel incredibly old, but it's as busy as any big LJ com was in the peak years. It's a big moneyspinner for the site, though not being an expert on internet revenue streams I'm not exactly sure how so. It's the kind of thing that might just work on Facebook - someone posts a picture of a celeb then talks about it - but wouldn't quite, because of the long, detailed posts. And there's now tons of spin-off communities for gaming, K-pop and the like.
posted by mippy at 1:07 AM on September 8, 2012


Oh, and when Google Plus came out, I complained about the praise that G+ was getting for the Circles system, since it was just a reimplementation of the privacy system that LJ got right over a decade earlier. Brad Fitzpatrick left a comment consisting only of a smiley emoticon.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:44 AM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I never really understood the appeal of LJ back in the day.

Its simplicity. Livejournal was one of the first publishing platforms to make it easy to write online, when the only web alternatives were either some sort of web forum or rolling your own website. In the first case you're beholding to the forum owner, the second is hard(ish).

What you got with Livejournal was your own space, that you controlled, where you never need to worry about the technical stuff that makes it go, where it was easy to write and comment and as importantly, keep track of your "friends".

It also came at just the right time to catch both the first wave of old timers coming off Usenet not technically competent or interested enough to roll their own sites as well as the great mass of new people who'd never been into usenet, but had outgrown AOL and such and were looking for their own spaces.

Despite all the problems and lack of growth, there are still a fair few loyal users; my own friends cycle is going relatively strong, with people who have been blogging there for years continuing to do so. these will only stop doing so if LJ as a whole disappears.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:28 AM on September 8, 2012


I also think, judging from various people's experiences recollected here, that the "death" of Livejournal hasn't so much happened, as that people grew out of it and moved on.

It's the circle of life (cue overwrought Disney movie music). You start out in your teens or early twenties finding one or more online communities full of your kind of people, you hang out together, meet in real life, fall in love, fall out of love, get a career going, start a family, slowly drop out, still hang out with the friends they made then, but not so much interested in being part of that community anymore, if it still even exists.

This has been happening ever since the first homonid thought it would be groovy to move out of trees and onto the savannah, but since it's all happening online it's much more visible...

And because every new generation has another new social medium to chose from, the older fora slowly die....
posted by MartinWisse at 4:41 AM on September 8, 2012


I'm the former "All things business" manager of the site, back in the early days, until 2003. I've written about the site many times before, both here and on LJ, but I wanted to share a few of my key thoughts.

Unrestrained growth didn't kill LiveJournal. Selling it out -- and repeated clueless management decisions -- did.

At no point during LiveJournal's growth as a site did it grow more rapidly than when I was the "All things business" manager. In early 2001, it was doubling in size approximately every 50 days.

(I bold that, because it's a completely, utterly insane rate of growth. You literally will not know how insane it can be -- and what it does to a website and its community -- unless you go through it yourself.)

But despite that, those were the best of times, even with server lag.

The thing is, LiveJournal *needed* growth... because it absolutely needed to focus its attention on how to scale the site.

I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the fact is, when you have a heavy weight dumped upon you, you get stronger. Hell, when you have a community behind you and you're all overburdened, they'll do their best to help shoulder the burden.

LiveJournal used invite codes to put the breaks on growth for years... which was nice for Brad, in that he could go off to Germany for months to study, or spend damn near a year working on an unnecessary image host for LiveJournal, or take profits from the site and put it into a fancy car, a house, or use it to hire his mom, his brother, and his high school friends and open up an unnecessary office... but really, he spent far too long running away from the potential of the site.

Meanwhile, sites life MySpace started to eat LJ's lunch. I had record labels that were excited about using the site to host weblogs for major bands, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers... but it never happened, in part because we couldn't even guarantee that their fans could access our site. Plans for hosting games on the site also were put on the back burner... and open source development lagged behind what we should've had, in part because Brad had a bad habit of alienating coders through micromanagement and outright rejection.

All sorts of applications for the site never materialized. There was a large community of weblog developers out there, but they didn't help us create and improve the site, or create valuable 3rd party software to run on it, in part because Brad never adequately tackled issues such as self-hosting. I had actually suggested developing LJ's software so it would work more like an interconnected cloud of servers, but Brad rejected that idea as undercutting his profits on LiveJournal.com. Frankly, I think that was a very shortsighted decision.

No, the problem wasn't growth. That would be like saying that Facebook's problem is growth... which it isn't. Rather growth is Facebook's opportunity. And it could've been LJ's opportunity, too... if they had simply been an open source community that was actually open. It would've made a huge difference for the internet, and would've been a huge victory for the open source movement.

Brad was a gifted coder. He and Alan Kasindorf, LJ's sysadmin, created a lot of the ideas for memcached, and was arguably just as talented as Brad, though he was prone to bouts of depression. Frankly, Alan's role was arguably more important than Brad's at the beginning, though the way it's talked about nowadays, you'd think Brad did everything.

Oh, how I wish he had done more... and done it sooner. But he lacked focus, and was always too prone to the quick, shortsighted payoff. I feel pretty certain now that he knows he made a huge mistake by selling to 6A, but I also suspect that he's probably pretty content working a desk job for Google, too. They likely give him more of the structure that he felt he was lacking... but I know he felt regret at his growing powerlessness after he became an employee of SixApart. He knew they were screwing up, and he had to put a happy face on it. Eventually, he couldn't do that anymore.

When I first got to know Brad, back when LJ had about 10,000 users, he was going on about feeling isolated, unfocused, and overwhelmed with the site. He had gotten an offer from this site bundler company, that would buy up a bunch of high traffic sites and slap "punch the monkey" ads on them. LJ would become part of the (Insert dotcom brandname) network, and be marginally run and admin'ed. Basically, it would've killed LJ in its cradle if he had sold it then. The banner ads alone would've badly hurt site growth, and the lack of development would've made it die out soon enough... though even that wouldn't have mattered, as the company in question went under in the dotcom bust, unable to get further venture capital in order to float a failed business model whose only real goal was to build up an audience that could be "flipped" to a bigger fish.

I persuaded Brad against selling them LJ... barely. I think it helped that I provided him with a projection of future growth and how profitable the site would become if he just worked on it for a couple years... though he *did* sell them his first database website, called Freevote, which died a foul death as a result.

I also persuaded him not to seek VC funding directly, which also would've likely killed the site. Basically, he had half a product, no profits, and, as a result, would've had zero pull in negotiating with a VC company, which would've taken away entirely too much of his control. Ads would've been a given, I suspect, even though they would've badly hurt the longterm growth and profitability of the site.

So, he made me the "All things business" guy... though I also contributed LJ's arguably most valuable feature - the idea for its blogging communities. (Unfortunately, the images of the early prototypes I created are missing from that link now.) At first, Brad had a hard time wrapping his head around the idea, but once I explained how it basically just reused a lot of our existing code to do something *really* powerful that none of the other blogging sites had done before, he got excited... and cranked the first prototype out within a day or so.

Communities changed everything, from how we did our work, to how we communicated with our users... and, of course, to how the site could be used. They also, of course, made it harder to control the chaos... but considering the obvious benefits and the many, many, many thousands of volunteer hours they led to, they were essential.

The problem being, Brad wasn't very good at chaos. He kinda sucked at communicating. He didn't really work all that well with volunteers. He lacked a sense for strategy, priorities, and for what was essential. He didn't realize that he was making himself too much of a roadblock, as he insisted that entirely too much should go by him... and then he felt overwhelmed and essentially played hookie or otherwise disengaged from what really mattered. And when you spend entirely too much of your time avoiding your problems rather than facing them, it's easy to walk away from your promises and commitments too.

In short, he set himself up for failure, at which point abdication for large sums of money became entirely too tempting. He was too focused on immediate gratification, and the site paid the price... and, ultimately, I think he did too.
posted by markkraft at 4:45 AM on September 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


I am aware of and use Disqus, but it's just barely better than nothing

You know what's really annoying about Disqus? If you have a blog on blogspot, where google now "helpfully" switches your readers to whichever country they're coming from (so alicublog.blogspot.com becomes alicublog.blogspot.nl for me), each version has its own comments section.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:54 AM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And because every new generation has another new social medium to chose from, the older fora slowly die...."

Yeah and no.

Craigslist, for example, is *really* old school. (So is Metafilter, for that matter.)

What matters is:
1> Ubiquity - do all your friends and the people you want to follow use it regularly?
2> Functional community - Does it provide you with quality discussion and quality, valuable content that you find interesting? Is the signal-to-noise ratio high?
3> Commitment to its users and its core values.

The problem with LJ is that it wasn't ubiquitous, it got noisier and less relevant, and it violated just about every promise it ever made to its users.
posted by markkraft at 4:55 AM on September 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, fings for creating chatfilter! An LJ community dedicated to Metafilter is a great idea.

I started using LiveJournal way back in 2000, and I still do, albeit not as frequently.

In 1999 I was content to bare my soul to the world, un-friends-locked, because for some reason that seemed like a good idea. Probably because Google wasn't what it was today, and you had to know where an LJ was to look someone up, so I wasn't worried about someone I didn't want looking finding what I posted. Also probably because I was the kind of goth for whom being dramatic in public was a requirement. (There are many aspects of goth/industrial culture I still like, but that one is not among them.) This was unwise in the extreme, and I wound up having to delete my first LJ in 2001 for professional reasons. I am much more aware now of how a poorly phrased post can come back and bite me in the butt, and my circles of trust have also gotten smaller (perhaps a little too small).

(I swear I was on Metafilter back in those days, too, but when I came back in '07 I couldn't find a trace of my old identity. I think maybe I read it but fell out during the opening-to-new-signups period? Anyway.)

LJ is the place where I am at my most personal. Twitter is a somewhat curated version of me and Facebook even more so, although I suspect I should be even more curated than I am.

There's another element that hurt LJ about a year ago, at least for me: the Dreamwidth fundamentalists who would constantly evangelize on LJ, to the point of "you are a BAD PERSON if you are on LJ and not on DW!" I cut way back on my personal LJ reading and abandoned my media fandom LJ entirely because these posts were making me angry and I don't like getting angry. If Dreamwidth is so great, and everyone cool is on it, then go post THERE and leave us uncool kids alone, OK? (Not on DW and won't go on it for personal reasons, if other people want to go on it that's fine, but STOP ACTING LIKE I AM A MASS MURDERER BECAUSE I WON'T JOIN DW.)

There was a point when I posted 5 times a day or more, but many of those were one-thought posts. All my one-thought posts and "hey, look at this cool link" posts have now moved to Twitter or Facebook, where they get about as much feedback as they did on LJ. My "hey, here's a detailed write-up on one topic including a whole lot of links" posts are beginning to move to MeFi. LJ, however, is still the place where I make substantive posts about my own life, usually flocked.

As someone pointed out, the way reading lists worked was a GREAT thing. I could be friends with someone and thus not offend them, but I could set up my lists so they were not in my "must-read-daily" list. I have not found a way to do this effectively on any other site (see below for ranting on this topic), and it has recently driven me back to LJ in a big way. Although, interestingly, I'm now reading my friends list totally unfiltered; activity has simmered down to the point where there's no need to filter anymore.

Facebook frustrates me, to the point where I've really stepped away from it and would consider deleting it entirely if I didn't have to be there for professional reasons. It is the site with Everyone I've Ever Known, which means that I get to see my most beloved aunt posting horrible dogwhistling re-shared statements that Snopes debunked ages ago - and when I post the debunking she says, "Yeah but..." DorkTower's SeverTember cartoons, about this very issue, have special meaning for me. At one point you could sort of use lists for reading, but that fell by the wayside, and I don't trust their lists for posting - they re-jiggered the privacy settings a couple of years ago and I found that my posts were suddenly much more public than I intended.

And then there's the algorithm they use to decide what I want to read! For some reason Facebook has decided it's more important I read posts from That Guy I Went to Elementary School With That I Actually Don't Find Interesting and That Chick I Met Once at A Party than, oh, my PARTNER. I actually had to mess around with Facebook's settings just to get my partner's posts to show up in my feed - and we're in each other's "in a relationship with" box. They think that messing with the algorithm will improve the site, but I think people are going to start leaving instead. I'm already seeing a reduction in posts from some of my closer friends, although again that may just be Facebook's stupid filtration system.

Twitter is better, but dang is it ever hard to keep up with. It's also ephemeral; I can't dig back to a conversation I had in 2007. They currently seem to be making many of the same mistakes that markkraft described LJ making above, but I can't quite get up the rage about it that I do with Facebook. I probably will once they completely disable all the 3rd-party apps I use to interact with Twitter.

I have a few friends on G+, who seem to have used it to replace LJ. They're people I really like, but I can't adjust to the G+ interface. Maybe I'll give it another shot.

The lack of a comment function on Tumblr annoys me so very much that I've never really adopted the platform. I'm on it, barely, but I've never immersed myself in it.

Metafilter has taken over a chunk of what I liked LJ for: lengthy posts with lots of links on various interesting topics. Come to think of it, I think this was why I stopped looking at MeFi for several years - I was getting similar posts over on LJ. Now those have dried up. I love the discussions in comments on MeFi, but I'm terrible with names if they're not initially associated with some sort of image. When I see a genius comment in one MeFi thread it's hard to connect it with a genius comment in another thread by the same poster. If I can make those linkages in my head, this will feel more community-like for me.

A comment the length of an LJ post? Yep. Where's my cut tag?
posted by rednikki at 10:13 AM on September 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, you haven't heard about <mf-cut>?
posted by symbioid at 12:56 PM on September 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


On the one hand I'm quite glad that LJ didn't become FB sized success, because dear god, FB is a clusterfuck, and while the filtering and all the great things that come about because of it are there, it still means obligations occur where I may not want them. LJ, due to the lack of RL connections (aside from those actually chosen and meant to be, not obligated and forced) made it super easy for me to be me and not worry about whether I properly hid a post or not.

That said, I think the filtering is essential, and when I first saw G+ circles, I thought for damned sure we'd finally have a social network with that capability.

But like rednikki says the UI of G+ just sucked.

It was too stream oriented. LJ was a cross between blog and stream and that's what I loved about it. The narrow entry width on G+ made everything feel utterly cluttered. The all-white with no styling made everything barren and void, and it's great for a search engine but not for a site I want to call my own. Thankfully, LJ had some great default UI stylings (ok, ok, Generator is really the only one I can stand, but goddamned if it isn't fucking utterly functional).

I remember markkraft and brad going at it back in the day, and I think they both had valid points and concerns. Regardless what's done is done. How long has it been since we've had a huge clusterfuck of epic proportions from management? I do recall hearing something about some backend issue allowing others to appear to post as you or something? I don't think they actually gained access to your account? Or maybe they did? That wasn't cool, and maybe it didn't seem like such an issue cuz, well, LJ is so much more dead and less echo-y than it used to be. There are some bad choices, but nothing as seemingly detrimental or noticeable as what 6A ended up doing. Unless someone can show me otherwise, I think SUP at least stabilized what they've been doing.

One thing I used to complain about was resharing content and having to copy/paste embed code into LJ compared to the ease with pressing and FB button on youtube to have it share. But the more I think about it, the more I prefer it. Make it hard to post trivial bullshit. It's not that I don't post vids or photos or dumb shit, I still do... But if I had access to a quick "post to LJ" button (and shareaholic kinda sorta works for that, but I don't really use it, hell I forgot I even have it installed!) I think my use of LJ would be that much for the worse.

There were so many clever genius things that LJ did, and other sites did some things that were better (@name links, for example, via twitter), but that's just part of the evolution of technology. I think by using custom HTML tags and making it hard to use it kept us from turning into giant monolithic popular force.

Alas, it also led to a long slow bleeding... I hesitate to use the word death, because I think it's on life support, but as I said in my previous comment, I will probably end up going down with the ship, because I still have not found a goddamned site better in the functionality I want than LJ is. Not even the clones -- sorry, DW, but you're just hard to figure out, and I don't have anyone (well I have one friend on there who found me via G+ when I fought the good fight in the nymwars before jumping out because Horowitz and Gundotra are such weaselly little turds who didn't give a fuck)...

LJ + MF FOR LIFE!
posted by symbioid at 1:20 PM on September 8, 2012


As for me... I wouldn't mind using LiveJournal again occasionally, but unless I create a new account, it would be hard for me to justify doing so.

The fact is, I get a metric sh*t ton of Russian spam comments and can't justify plowing through all the notifications, most likely due to my journal having been so visible and so highly indexed by Google, and to having reached out to and interacted with Russian LJers from the site's earliest days... but if I turn notifications off, I might as well not use it entirely. It also doesn't help that after LJ and I parted ways, I used my journal for some pretty significant news-oriented posts that got linked to by CNN, Time, the BBC, the CBC, and numerous other major news sources around the world.

On the plus side, I got Bush's State Department to admit they used white phosphorus to attack Iraqis in Fallujah, despite previous denials... and that kinda makes it all worth it.
posted by markkraft at 12:53 AM on September 9, 2012


I just want to note how very jealous I am of you well-adjusted bastards whose angsty days are behind you.
posted by bleep at 2:43 PM on September 9, 2012


I just want to note how very jealous I am of you well-adjusted bastards whose angsty days are behind you.

Who says we're well-adjusted?
posted by acb at 5:51 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Craigslist, for example, is *really* old school. (So is Metafilter, for that matter.)

Craigslist never took off in the UK - we have Gumtree, which is far less old-school in its' look. I wonder if this is why?
posted by mippy at 4:15 AM on September 11, 2012


You have Gumtree in the UK?
I am shocked.
posted by Mezentian at 4:50 AM on September 11, 2012


Yeah, it started in London first and I think it was the antipodean expat community that got it off the ground. It's now the default place to look if you're looking for a flatshare.
posted by mippy at 7:16 AM on September 11, 2012


mippy nailed many of my own memories and feelings about LJ. I had a great community of friends both online but many IRL, zero interaction with anything fanfic related. We talked about music, food, life. The site challenged me to write better, for an audience, and the feedback was more verbose than the snark we all play with so much now on FB.

Strangely, when I realized Google+ didn't have a character limit, I got excited that perhaps I'd found a substitute, but with any social site, it's all about community. I went back and wrote some private LJ posts to help me work out a tough breakup but I really could have left them public since no one is there anymore from my circles of friends.
posted by Drew_Blood at 9:25 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]



Yeah, it started in London first and I think it was the antipodean expat community that got it off the ground. It's now the default place to look if you're looking for a flatshare.


Last time I looked, I found the Gumtree pickings were a bit lean compared to another site (MoveFlat, I think). Not sure if Gumtree has become the LJ/MySpace of the flat-sharing space and what the kids are doing these days. Perhaps some kind of locative Grindr-style flatmate finder that runs on iPhones or something...
posted by acb at 2:20 PM on September 12, 2012


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