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I haven't been posting "normal" entries in my LJ Account for awhile now, using it only as the place where I post my LJ Idol entries for the writing competition. Likewise, I haven't been reading your entries, since my time was spent reading through the entries of the other contestants and making comments there. I feel like I have failed my LJ friends because of this, and I do apologize for that, but there is an element behind it.

The whole "Яussian" issue - the fact that we were acquired by the Russian side of LiveJournal definitely has had an effect. Really, I have a bellyful of Russia right now. I hear about Russia every night. And let's face it. We don't really know much of anything about what's going on with our Russian owners. I can tell you that a few of my long time LJ friends deleted their journals specifically because of this.

When I purchased a permanent account, I really thought it would outlast me, or at least would last longer than I would find a use for it. Now, even though it's likely an irrational fear, I don't feel completely safe sharing on this platform anymore. We don't know anyone who is in charge of this service. We don't know what issues those that are in charge of it examine. And it's within the unease of all that we don't know about what happens here that creates a place that is the opposite of where you would want to put your most intimate thoughts and share your most personal stories.

The current LJ Idol season is coming to a close. Tonight is a voting results night, and it's possible I will not survive. I have resolved to stop using LiveJournal at the end of the current LJ Idol competition, and I suspect that end will come before the end of the year. That means I have to make some decisions.

I have to decide if I want to delete this journal and if I do delete, do I use the nuclear option, that deletes every comment I ever made to every journal and community I ever visited. Or do I friendslock the entire journal? Or do I just leave it in place, as is?

A reason not to delete is being able to access journals that I was friends to, anyone that had their own journal locked that I was on the list for would be lost to me forever. But does that really matter, if the friends are no longer posting here?

Another reason not to delete is that I said I never would. Under normal circumstances, I thought deleting was a selfish move, that hurt the other people who were still here. And especially the nuclear option that deleted the comments posted in everyone else's journal. Part of me still believes it's somewhat selfish to delete - especially nuclear style. When people comment to your journal, it's not just "YOUR" journal anymore. I absolutely believe that.

But I do have my mirrored account at dreamwidth. Basically everything that is here got moved there (and I'll likely do another transfer over of the entries from the Idol season also). All is not lost.

But there will be loss. Some people who are still here aren't going to leave. I know this because I floated the concept in my entry titled: Let's Just Deal With... where I suggested we needed to make a break from this place and collectively move to Dreamwidth. "Lukewarm" would be a gross exaggeration of the response.

Or just not use this type of platform anymore. Facebook does have the option for writing essays, and they have the possibility of going viral, if they're publicly posted.

I do know that my LJ time is now severely limited, no matter what happens, meaning that this will be one of my final thinkposts here on the old El Jay. But maybe I'll make a go of it on DW.

http://penpusher.dreamwidth.org/

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
low_delta
Jul. 21st, 2017 10:25 pm (UTC)
Please don't take your comments with you if you delete. Another friend did that, and I hate seeing the replies there without seeing what they had replied to. My entries over the years remain as record. I like looking through the old posts and remembering those times and those people, but where that guy left there are obvious holes.

Personally, I think you should leave this journal here when you leave. But that's your call. Maybe you have reasons for deleting.

I have you elsewhere, so we'll still keep up on each other. Let me know if you do Dreamwidth. I keep meaning to get set up there so I can watch DW journals and/or crosspost myself.
penpusher
Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:00 am (UTC)
Thanks for responding, K.

The truth is there is a patch for the nuclear option. But it would mean going into your email box and retrieving the notifications that were sent, then copy and paste those into place. On occasion, when I felt it was important enough, I did that.

I wonder how many people are still around and if they cared about deletions? Maybe I should do a survey.

You should set up a DW account anyhow. I thought every LJer did back in the SixApart era!
low_delta
Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:03 am (UTC)
I keep meaning to set one up, but I never get around to it. I post my concert journal from there, but I want to mirror this one.
bleodswean
Jul. 22nd, 2017 02:28 pm (UTC)
We haven't been flisters but I so so so enjoy your voice in Idol. I will miss you. It's a sad and frustrating time...trying to keep LJ's head above the quicksand pull of faddism and change. I guess, after fighting to hold onto it for years now, that I need to accept that my beloved platform has had most all of the life squeezed out of it. Time to let go.

I do NOT think that DW is the answer. For a short while, it was the darling of the revolution, but it's a lateral move at best, a return to Atari at worst.

I don't know what the answer is because I don't think it's arrived yet. It's going to be a new blogging platform. It will surprise us in the same way that LJ did and FB did and IG did...

Nothing lasts forever, baby. It's been a good time here. Some of us are staying to make sure the lights get turned off.

BE WELL!
penpusher
Jul. 22nd, 2017 04:47 pm (UTC)
That's very kind of you to say, thanks for that. But, if we're being honest, the sadness and frustration have been going on for, what? A decade?

It's been a roller coaster ride, this El Jay business. I started in 2001 just as the "invite code" era was ending. then it exploded in 2003 and several million new LJ accounts got created. That was a crazy time. Then Brad sold to SixApart and they were double trouble because they 1. just wanted to make quick money from the users while 2. not understanding anything about what blogging was and why people liked it, so they made several fatal errors that eroded the base and caused a panic. And then the sale to SUP, which was separate until the binding of the TOS in December.

I had long been trying to promote LiveJournal after the SUP sale, trying to suggest that everything you did on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram could be done here, only with a better user interface that allowed people to respond through comments to the original poster or to other commenters. That was how a social network should work! I still say the threaded comments element of LJ is something nobody ever quite got right and makes it the best designed platform for interaction with people of any I've seen, even now.

But this whole Russian business. I never thought I'd say it, but I long for the days of 6A!

Still, it's the people who make the place. It doesn't help that so many people left either during one of the two previous sales or that they just got fascinated with the possibility of interacting with celebrities on IG or Twitter.

It makes total sense that Gary started LJ Idol. LJ is a platform for writers. Tailor made! I wish I had discovered it sooner.

You're probably right that it will be a brand new platform that will likely come along to wow everyone, but I fear that anything newly designed from here on out will have a special agenda for getting more revenue/information from all of its users. Brad didn't care about that when he created LiveJournal (until he did care about it and we are now living with the results). Everything is extremely savvy and profit driven, now.

I'm leaving because I don't want to be the one to turn out the lights, or worse, have the lights unexpectedly turned out by those that own the place. It has been a good time... even a great time, some of the time!

Good wishes to you and everyone deciding to stay till the end!
bleodswean
Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:00 pm (UTC)
I, too, have been here since the beginning days. (Under different names...over the years...) But it seems as we have different perspectives of the platform's stability and the changes it has undergone. And that's okay, different perspectives is what makes the world such a fascinating place.

I don't think anyone is going to turn off the lights. I do think a lightbulb is going to burn out and no one will be around to replace it.
penpusher
Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:31 pm (UTC)
The only reason why I think LJ could be shut down is the fact that we are now collectively linked - the Russian and the Western sides are together in Moscow. And we already know that there has been "trouble" from political activists in Ukraine and even some in Russia that have made statements or sent messages through LJ. There is a chance that the government would simply choose shut down the service and if that side goes, so goes our side. Or, if the service isn't used in any way, again, it could create a situation where it gets shut down. What is the likelihood of it happening? I think that depends on the political climate and where all of this is going. But the possibility remains.

Several months back I went on a safari to try to find out the name of any person involved in either running LJ or acting as a liaison to LJ from the west, or just keeping track of our side of things. I got nowhere! There is no one on the bridge of this vessel. Even the volunteers who occasionally have to do some maintenance work have no idea who is "above" them. And that is a big red flag with a hammer and sickle on it!

Maybe you could share why you want to stay, what is it about LJ in its current configuration (LJ Idol not withstanding) that is a reason to continue here?
bleodswean
Jul. 22nd, 2017 07:00 pm (UTC)
Well, you should know by now, sweets, that I am in NO WAY a complicated thinker and essayist like yourself. I envy you that ability to collate, organize, and present your thoughts in written form.

What I love about LJ is the flist. I've had wordpress blogs in the past and the silence is just about deafening. I've been writing since I was thirteen, if I want to write to my own audience of one, I can do that in a comfy armchair upstairs in the library in a notebook...LiveJournal allows the connection that has been the best promise of the World Wide Web. The idea that the village has become global.

For me, LiveJournal was an improved newsgroup. I miss threading...but loved the gaining of more personal interactions with individual entries.

Once Myspace hit the scene, I quaked. So not my thing. We have some similarities in our school year experiences and I don't particularly want/need to be in touch with anyone from my past. I never signed on for that platform.

Of course...the natural extension of so much psychic nudity, was FaceBook and I personally find it to be on par with satanic intervention in our lives. I think it's a very, very, very bad and negative thing. Anectodatally and statistically. What surprises me most about the slow death of LJ is the fact that so many have left for FB while claiming "fear" of LJ for political reasons. HELLO? FB is the political animal here. The ideologue that is really a pack mentality. UGH.

We also have Instagram and tumblr and twitter. All of those things have pulled writing, photographing flisters away. And I just don't understand THAT at all. (FaceBook is moderately understandable for quantitative reasons.) All flash and bang and no real substance. Definitely no interaction on a word level.

We are a LANGUAGE species. LiveJournal is a bastion and defender of language!
penpusher
Jul. 22nd, 2017 07:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for all of the compliments! I might just stay for the ego strokes!

But seriously, The design of LJ was always a draw. And having a friendslist, where you selected people who were worth reading and put them on your feed and then interacted with, referenced, commented to and commented to the comments to, really is genius.

The problem is that so many abandoned LJ. I started examining ways of promoting LJ a couple of years back, trying to get some of the staunchest users to return. I talked about a lot of what you were talking about here, there... most especially in the first of these entries.

Promoting LiveJournal - Step One
Promoting LiveJournal - Step Two
Promoting LiveJournal - Step three

and, just to prove I'm a realist, I tackled a situation that I felt would prevent all efforts to revive LJ for some users:

The Rank Fakery of LiveJournal

You raise a cogent point about Facebook and its political tentacles. But this is the problem with anything new coming along. They will bake in advertisements and information gathering and/or elements that you really wouldn't agree to, if you thought about it, but you want to be a part of the scene so you won't think about it.

In that sense, maybe LiveJournal is the place to stay, because it's just a hole in the wall now, and nobody is paying attention, and the owners aren't trying to increase the usage, or perhaps aren't paying attention, themselves.

I think the first essay in that series of promotional ones really handles the issue of LJ's demise and the rise of FB, Twitter and IG...

Celebrity.

People really want to interact with celebrities, sports figures, politicians, their favorite tv stars. LJ can't offer that. Okay, yes, we have grrm. That's about it! (our other "big" name, therealstanlee hasn't posted in over two years.)

You would think celebrities would flock to a place like LJ, if only for the filters. But that might be too complicated a skill set for the pop stars and their management teams to handle.

LiveJournal requires actual thought. So, if you're not into thinking, you probably won't brave posting an entry. That's another reason why twitter is so popular: it's the blogging space for people who can't blog!
xo_kizzy_xo
Jul. 22nd, 2017 11:29 pm (UTC)
...I fear that anything newly designed from here on out will have a special agenda for getting more revenue/information from all of its users. Brad didn't care about that when he created LiveJournal (until he did care about it and we are now living with the results). Everything is extremely savvy and profit driven, now.

And because people, by and large, no longer wish to take the time to sit, read, and reflect, sites like LJ or DW are going to be left in the dust. I'm surprised, tbh, that DW is still viable. But for how long?
penpusher
Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:28 am (UTC)
LJ is in the dust and DW is, for whatever interest in it there is, just a mirror of LJ. People have always seen it as simply the storage space for their LiveJournals and really never have started "using" it. I don't know that they ever will, until LJ is physically gone.

I swear though, celebrities are the key. If there were a bunch of celebs that chose to use LiveJournal the way they all got twitter accounts, everyone would be here. You could still post at 140 characters an entry so it's not like you couldn't keep your LJ posts "tweet" sized.

I do wonder about the "how long" part as well. DW got a boost with the Russian TOS issue this past December as a bunch more people got accounts there. I guess that means they're good for at least one more year...
xo_kizzy_xo
Jul. 23rd, 2017 03:18 pm (UTC)
I only know of one person who made a go of attempting to find community on DW. She eventually did find some but it took awhile. Even in the best of times the community there wasn't very active. She once said that most of the existing communities there are fandoms. I can see that.

I once had a RL friend on Facebook ask me point blank why so many of my other friends "write so much". I hate questions like that because I always keep online and offline people as separate as possible, so I was like, well, we're writers! My friend looked at me like I had 1001 heads. Then it dawned on me: Places like LJ and DW are foreign countries to most people because OMG who wants to sit and WRITE?!?!?
penpusher
Jul. 23rd, 2017 04:13 pm (UTC)
I do believe we could make DW into a workable LJ, but, as I stated in that essay I wrote for LJ Idol, we all would have to agree to leave here and start using DW exclusively, and it's clear that people don't have the desire to up and leave. Maybe they have their "Account with Permanent package of service" here, and don't want to go back to paying for a yearly account there. Or it's just loyalty to the name. There is a long history for a lot of people in being on this site.

For whatever reason, it's a lock that not everyone is willing to leave LiveJournal, and, just like the founding of the United States, it requires all of the colonies to agree to break free for this to work.

When I worked as a DJ, the bar managers and club owners were especially pained to pay me, and sometimes they not so subtly let me know it. Why? Because from their POV all I was doing was "playing music." I was a glorified jukebox, simply putting on songs. There was no understanding of how I did it, the methodology of it, the talent it took to make the night work. And that's a problem we face. While everyone writes, not everyone is a writer, and that's the distinction that can go overlooked.

The blog form is about writing, there is no doubt. And it's a great place to read other writers, to work on the craft, to hash things out in a kind of think tank. If you want to be a writer you have to write, and write a lot! People who don't want to be writers just wouldn't understand that.
inmyblueheaven
Jul. 24th, 2017 12:36 am (UTC)
thequestionclub is still quite active! You should drop by for some good times! /sarcasm : )
penpusher
Jul. 24th, 2017 02:18 am (UTC)
Haha... are you actually still in there?!

Well, it's good to see you, here.
serendipity
Jul. 25th, 2017 09:42 am (UTC)
Well, I finally did get around to joining DW but my transfer didn't work, so now it will take me another long time to do what I have to do to get it to work. Something about using an old LJ format and having to turn on some button to change that? I dunno, just not terribly motivated to figure it out.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure what the point would be in deleting your entire journal. Maybe add more security/privacy, archive it elsewhere and/or move on to something (if it exists), but why destroy the original real deal? You created a unique space here that served you and your readers well for a long time. Although the lights may go out on LJ, why not leave them lit (even if dimly) in your little corner of it?
penpusher
Jul. 25th, 2017 04:30 pm (UTC)
Oh. Formatting. Yes, it probably has a lot to do with the transfer, but it likely means you'd have to use one of the newer formatted LJ templates before you transferred and then go back and send your entries through. Probably more annoying than complicated.

I haven't decided for sure how I'm going to handle this. Part of the reason deleting is a viable choice is specifically because leaving is: If I'm quitting LJ because I'm not certain about the Russian owners, certainly, if that's why I'm going, abandoning my journal in place wouldn't make much sense. Granted, marieoroumania left because she's the managing editor of Snopes, and someone with that kind of high profile really couldn't remain on this incarnation of LiveJournal. She used the nuclear option when she left.

Conversely, LJ's one and only celebrity, grrm is still here and actively posting, even if he now has disallowed comments from his readers.

If I thought there was any chance that SUP would sell the American side of LJ back to a US owner, or any western owner, it might be worth leaving this journal in place. But is that even a pipe dream?

I just think about the arc of this story, how Brad just wanted a way to communicate with his friends, how it started to grow, then explode, how he got a company with big money to buy the site, how they didn't know what blogging was (and probably didn't know Brad swore there would never be ads here before the sale), how they tried to get us to transfer to their blogging platform that had advertising built in, how they realized they weren't going to make the kind of profit they wanted from the userbase and sold to the first people available, the Russians who owned the Cyrillic half of LJ and how we are now property of that Russian side. It was an unexpected and mostly unwanted excursion, since Brad got his payday.

Here's what I really think. If there was a staff, a skeleton crew, or even just one US/western person acting as a liaison, as previously existed, that was still a part of LiveJournal's board and would still occasionally check in with the non-cyrillics, I would feel less inclined to even leave, let alone delete. But the fact is, it's all being operated by Russia, now. I don't know any way around it, and private locking the journal wouldn't matter because they can always get in to any journal at any time.

The actual options are to stay or to delete, as far as I can tell...

But this also relates to DW and using it. If we actually got rid of our LJ accounts, we might actually use DW! In theory, anyway.
halfshellvenus
Jul. 27th, 2017 12:25 am (UTC)
I would really, really hate to have you disappear from here. :(

I can understand your concerns about the Russian situation, especially because your work is of a more political bent (though what can they do besides be offended?)

I still find it kind of hard to get over to Dreamwidth, even though I have an account there, and the people I've known here who move over there seem to overwhelmingly become "broadcasters"-- they talk but they do not listen.

I don't know why that is-- so much conversation here in the past, and they people go to DW and they either stop reading other people's entries or stop commenting on them. But it's why I don't love the "feeling" of that community. It isn't. It's more like scanning radio stations.

So, please don't delete! I don't mind if you friendslock, including going forward, but I'd hate for you to be gone. :(
penpusher
Jul. 27th, 2017 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

I still say that part of the element of Dreamwidth that is making it into something different from/not as good as LJ is the twofold issue of how people perceive it and the fact that LiveJournal is still sitting here.

Anyone with an El Jay is going to want to use that as their first choice. Especially if they've been around since before the SixApart era - because that is your base, your home. DW is kind of the stepchild, the seat cushion that functions as your flotation device instead of the jet you've been flying on this whole trip. You wouldn't "use" that, except in case of a dire emergency.

That's why I stated the community has to go to make it a community, there. Right now, the people who went to DW are the promoters - the opportunists. The LJ community all stayed hereas loyalists. That's what you're noticing when you look at DW.

But that's also why I said we need to collectively leave LJ and go to DW because then we really could revive the old LJ atmosphere. I know it isn't a perfect solution. I know that it feels awkward and probably like a monumental effort. I know that there are still other social media sites that let people interact with celebrities (my number one reason why LiveJournal has fallen so far - and why the Russian side was so popular - at least until the government there started cracking down). And with only so many hours in a week, with a drain from work, from other responsiblities, from other social media and from time to just do nothing, sometimes known as sleep, this isn't easy.

But it's the last, best hope I see for any of these blogging platforms to have any hope of reviving... Maybe there's another way, but nobody is suggesting anything. And I've been listening!

I am taking all comments I get here under advisement, so the final die has not yet been cast.
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