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Promoting LiveJournal - Step One

ravenfeather asked me a pointed question: So, how would YOU promote LJ?

I think it's a great question, because it allows me to examine the elements that make LiveJournal the best social media platform of them all and finding the threads that could lead people back here again.

I think you must begin by looking at the history of the other social media sites, look at what they offer(ed) and compare that to what LiveJournal can deliver.

MySpace was the original (most serious) threat to LJ, back in 2003. But the site itself was a total mess. There was no ease of use, there was no ease of finding what you were looking for. Everything about the design was bad. The basic color palette was hideous. There were glitches and bad links and sloppy design issues, pretty much everywhere you looked.

HOWEVER, MySpace had something going for it that made it popular: it was a place for music artists, comedians, and other performers to connect with their fans. When people realized celebrities were on MySpace, people flocked there to add their faves to their "Top 20" and the site became a kind of popularity contest. Never mind that it looked ugly, the interface wasn't smooth and if you wanted to read a journal entry there, it was a major task just to get to the page!

While a few celebrities did have a LiveJournal, There weren't billboards with people's pictures that you could click through here. And most of the celebs that did have LJs were more the cerebral types that weren't going to generate the excitement of a pop star or teen actor.

As we know, ZheZhe - the Russian version of LiveJournal, is extremely popular currently, primarily because many of the top Russian celebrities and politicians use LJ regularly. So the first question I would ask is: Are there any big name celebrities that would want to do their social media on LiveJournal?

I can ask this first because everything else needed is already in place. LiveJournal's design is fantastic. It is capable of handling heavy traffic, it is a site designed for social activity, where conversations can open up. You can make your journal unique to you. And it has a lot of other features that make it worth the effort.

Don't get me wrong. I *personally* don't care if celebrities are on LJ, but if you want to promote, there's really no better place to start.

The problem is in courting names to come here. The element that is currently providing the site the most traffic might be the biggest stumbling block: ohnotheydidnt. Granted, ONTD never "generates" gossip - everything must be sourced to some other website where the story was originally posted - but it does generate a lot of commentary from the LJ viewers of that site, and a lot of that response isn't "celeb friendly." So, it might be best to examine who on the ONTD page are the most beloved and admired because that would be a great fit.

As for how to get a celeb to journal here? That becomes more problematic. You really couldn't pay someone to blog here. That might be considered a scandal and rather inauthentic. You certainly could offer them a permanent journal with all of the bells and whistles, and maybe toss in some free advertisement options for whatever products and/or services that person might want to promote.

But it would have to be someone who knows and understands how LJ works and how to use it well. Where is our Ashton Kutcher?

Ultimately, it should be a group of celebrities that interact with each other that would drive the numbers up and maybe bring more notable names here. Perhaps a record label could get several of its singers to create journals, and then they could post and cross post with each other. Again, though, if this is an effort for those involved, done only as a promotion, it would fall apart pretty quickly, so that probably can't be dictated in that way.

Obviously, twitter became huge on the involvement of celebrities. But the truth is, LiveJournal can be used exactly like twitter! There's no rule saying if you only want to write a sentence or two in your entries, you can't. And the two nice things are: A) you can go longer than a sentence or two if you need. B) you can get responses back and responders can respond to each other!

Of course, you can always block responses to any entry, or every entry if you prefer. And the personalized elements of how LJ can be used makes it ideal for anyone who wants to use it with friends or fans, all together on this service.

I don't know if there is a perfect celeb for LiveJournal, but it wouldn't hurt to start looking in that direction.

On the other hand, since ONTD is already such a popular part of LJ, people have created accounts simply to read and comment to the stories there. There's no underestimating the power of snark! But, many of these ONTD members are not posting to anything else on the site, not even their personal journals. So the next question I would ask is How do you get people on ONTD to become more active in other areas of LJ?

That's going to take some more thought.


Okay, now before anyone goes and bites my head off over promoting celebrities to LJ and trying to get ONTD people to write more on the site, please be advised, this is the most obvious place to begin. You look at what drives the traffic and examine what that's all about. Celebrity has a big influence on Social Media, and always has. To ignore those elements is not just a mistake, it's unprofessional.

If even ten percent of the ONTD users who come here exclusively for that page started interacting on LJ in other places and in other ways, or in posting to their own journals, you would see a huge boost in the numbers across the board. It makes perfect sense to consider ways to improve those elements as a starting place.

It may be the case that there is no "non-artificial" way to get some celebrities involved or change our ONTD users' behaviors. And maybe we who are still staunch LJ users wouldn't like the changes those elements might bring if we could. But remember, the amazing thing about LJ is that you can totally avoid the stuff you don't like and don't want. With filters, friendslists, screening, nothing would change for you, for the most part, except the site would become more viable, more solid, more robust and maybe more anchored. And to me, those are positives worth seeking.

More to come... *****


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2014 09:26 pm (UTC)
maybe toss in some free advertisement options for whatever products and/or services that person might want to promote

Hmmmm... perhaps a charity... if the charities that celebs wish to support made lj an easy way to support them, it might be an incentive for use.

I personally am one lj user that does NOT like ONTD, but I understand what you are saying, they are an overwhelming if uninvolved community. Lack of content (that is my assessment) seems to be a feature of the other social media sites, so is a lack of content (yes I KNOW you don't point that out, but lets be real) the angle for advertisement?

Security is one of my judgment points. I "feel" more secure here, as info on lj has never been used against me, and myspace was, so I don't know if that is baggage, or reality.
Jan. 19th, 2014 10:09 pm (UTC)
Considering the vast amount of charity work that celebrities do, that would be a really nice fit. Rather than sponsorship it could be donations to their foundations that forges the LJ Nation.

The issue I always have with social media sites is that they require active users to be posting material, which allows them an audience to get sponsors, which then permits them to eventually either sell the site to a larger entity or to go public and sell stock.

But none of that is possible without the people posting and reading or interacting!

At least YouTube finally has a program that does permit some profit sharing for the people who post original content. It's not much but at least it's something!

The security levels available on LJ are really the biggest selling point for any celebrity that might want to use it. Since you can block users from seeing individual posts, you can block individual users from seeing your journal, you can raise or lower the level of security with every entry if you wanted, that's ideal for someone that wanted to have control over what their fans see and what their friends could respond to...

The trouble, of course, is when you post your nudes and forget to filter! But, that happened on all those other sites already.

I think LJ is brilliantly designed for security, presuming you use it correctly, more than any other site.
Jan. 19th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, I dunno, Dean. I've been very happy here in my little corner of LJ for nearly 14 years! One of the reasons is, as you noted, that I've been able to ignore most (but unfortunately not all) of the changes I don't like or want. But increased popularity could bring changes that I can't avoid. Just because something is popular or cool doesn't make it high quality. Every single time a site, product, company, whatever, gets too popular, it goes bad in some way(s). Companies that do wonderful, revolutionary things - such as, oh, Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Google, FaceBook, etc. ad nauseum - eventually get too big for their britches and start doing really stupid stuff TO their customers rather than FOR them. I would be really bummed if that happened to LJ.

I think if you want to see more activity here, maybe it would help to focus on those returning from their (mis)adventures at FB. Is there an LJ community of such returning wayfarers? Then again, losing people to FB is only one reason activity is down here. Another reason is that many who were really active here 5-15 years ago now have many more responsibilities (kids, elderly parents, home ownership, careers) and less time for LJ than before. Hey, maybe we need to promote LJ to more lonely retirees with time on their hands?
Jan. 19th, 2014 11:33 pm (UTC)
Well, as I stated, this is just Step One in a series of places to begin to help reboost LJ. You have to start somewhere and starting with Celebrities is both an obvious choice and a really prudent one. With the Sochi Olympics coming in a couple of weeks, it could be the best time ever to relaunch an initiative to get people on LJ!

I know that it's not quantity, it's quality, when dealing with the LiveJournal people you have on your lists. But when it comes to a site doing well, numbers matter. I mean in 2004, 5 and 6, when LiveJournal was peaking, you still were fine with how everything on your journal was going, right? So that's what this is about.

Not to worry... we're going to put in some failsafes that will help prevent any nonsensical SixApart type choices from happening as we go. Keep in mind that Tumblr, another site that is noted for its freedom of users to post stuff to their blogs, hasn't made any changes to the site, despite being acquired by Yahoo. That's the approach here, as well!

And hey! Don't get steps ahead of me with the disgruntled users of other social media! I haven't gotten to the commercial campaign yet.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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