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Is It "Over?"

Well, LiveJournal is now perfectly safe. A couple years back, we weren't so sure about that, when the people of SixApart were doing whatever it was they were doing and people were scrambling to archive their LJs. Remember that? We all were in a state of borderline panic about losing all of our writings and comments.

But now, it seems, the threat has taken a new form. People just don't read or write here the way they used to do. It seems as if Twitter has taken over the World Wide Web in a way that LJ never could have done, and of course Facebook has exploded in the time since those 6A days occurred. What really happened?

Twitter is easy. 140 characters and you can "make a post." For people who don't consider themselves "writers," it's a handy way to do something like LJ, without needing to say much. Not that you couldn't have just written your hundred forty right in your journal here! But maybe people would have found it odd to have adopted a "self-censored" approach to LJ.

Facebook has that "What's On Your Mind" headline, which is pretty much like the tweet posts, so there's that attraction. And suddenly, everyone you know from everywhere in the world has a Facebook account, so there's the lure of finding people you haven't spoken to in years, all right there. People that I never want to see or hear from again? Right there.

Twitter has the illusion of celebrity. When I interviewed marta for talk_show back in October of last year, she noted that the Яussian version of LiveJournal was laden with celebrities in their country, and that their journals were often used as source material for stories on their newscasts!

Apparently, that's what Twitter has become, here.

I mean, I guess people are really starved for star interaction, but the truth is you aren't getting any on twitter. When you see someone like Demi Moore... who has well over 1.5 Million people following her every tweet, yet she follows less than 100 people back... that's not going to bring you the entertainment jolt you really want... unless you think that yelling at the celebs on the red carpet, while you're across the street and facing away from them will get you their attention.

Recently popstar all but announced that she was going to give up her LJ to just use Facebook and Twitter and that she wasn't really sure how people were using LiveJournal anymore. My response to her (in part) was:

I have a perm account, so I will be here permanently, or until they dismantle the internet or LiveJournal, whichever comes first.

I see twitter as eroding LJ. Ultimately, as a writer, twitter leaves me feeling a bit depressed, like coming down from a junk food high. Yeah, it felt great at the time, but later, it's sorta empty. The substance, the nutrients and vitamins I seek are still (potentially) on LJ. The people I selected for my friendslist are the people who are inspiring and worthwhile. They're the people I want to read and hear about, because they have something to say!


And that's what I wanted to say to you. You are on my list because you are interesting to me. I may not always comment to what you say. I may not always see every entry when you post it and I may not always write something that you find worthwhile, but the point is, LJ is what we make it, and if everyone leaves, then it's just an empty place.

I'm not sure where twitter will go. The guys who founded it have made it clear they haven't made any money from it so how will this proceed? Will they get all their celeb users to pony up some cash? Because, really, that's why many of the twitter users joined!

But the question now is, will LJ be a dinosaur, or will it continue to be a vibrant and viable place to interact with people, to follow life stories, to share the triumphs and tragedies... It doesn't seem as imminent as when 6A was manipulating everything in their efforts to commercialize LJ for its own purposes, but in a way, isn't this at least as big a threat as that?

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Not to beat a dead horse, but after those last 8 years, wasn't twitter just the product of the mentality of the person in the White House? I mean, there was no effort to raise the level of brainwaves in the youth of America. Everything was coasting along. Twitter just happened to be a natural progression of that.

I'm reminded of "Broadcast News," a film from 1987 (twenty-two years ago), and a quote uttered by Albert Brooks in that film...

"What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit."

And, in a way, isn't that what just happened?
twopiearr
Jul. 14th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
LJ is already a dinosaur. sad but no less true for it. single-serving content is the way of the future.
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
To be fair, LJ was likely a dinosaur from the very start.

You seem to know exactly what the future will be. I'm not that prophetic, unfortunately for me, otherwise I'd have made a lot smarter decisions about a lot of things.

I guess I wonder if anyone will still want to do any LJ stuff in two, five or ten years, or if the whole online human race will have switched to whatever twitterish fad has happened by then. I have hope that there will be something useful going on here, but that'll depend on if people are still here!
(no subject) - twopiearr - Jul. 14th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
theda
Jul. 14th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
I still prefer LJ over any of the others.
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
LJ is still great at connecting people, and the format is still the best of all the online journals, bar none. People with stand alone journals on their sites or are using some other blogsite, like blogger or wordpress just leave me cold. I still like the ease of being able to read my friendslist and catching up on everything in one place.

I wonder if LJ has any ideas about how to increase the visibility of the site, or make it more accessible to people who maybe are choosing twitter and their ilk?

Facebook has all those games and things, which makes that more like an amusement park than a journal. I don't really want that coming here! Conversely, maybe the people who don't want to be on LJ shouldn't be here anyway, and we're just weeding out... maybe this is a positive!
(no subject) - herwonderfulday - Jul. 16th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - herwonderfulday - Jul. 16th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the lovely compliment, Rune!

I have been looking through my archive in the last week or so, and I was just thinking that this journal probably "peaked" in 2006. I was writing birthday tributes to all my friendslist, I had lots of thinkposts about a pretty wide variety of subjects and I posted something (that I considered) pretty good nearly every day.

Now, that happens a lot less than I would like. I, too, am getting pulled towards Facebook for a few reasons, and that takes the time I might have used to craft an LJ post. I guess it really boils down to clock management. This doesn't help when it seems like time has just shifted into third gear. Didn't July just start? No... we're halfway through it!

I'd rather be on the internet cul-de-sac with people like you, than the "information" superhighway watching the super famous oddballs making inane comments about their meaningless (to me) lives in one sentence blurbs.

Twits, indeed!
(no subject) - tupshin - Jul. 14th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penpusher - Jul. 15th, 2009 08:31 am (UTC) - Expand
snailshells
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
i've un-friended many a real-life friend's journal because they began using it as a mere twitter-feed. if i wanted to read their twitters, i'd be on twitter. i hate twitter. but i do use facebook, and the interactions on there have been wholly satisfying. i don't journal much anymore, i haven't for over a year now. not b/c of new technology replacing my use of LJ, but due to a lack of interest in 'being heard' now. it's just not that important to me anymore, although i still read my friends page voraciously. :)
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
Yes. Those twitter feeds really are less than useless, because twitter relies on you posting and seeing this stuff right away, and the shelf life of a tweet is rarely a few hours, let alone twenty-four!

I'm not really against Facebook, and I have just recently reconnected with high school friends and co-workers at previous jobs I had not heard from in ages. There are definitely positives to it.

Maybe I'm just lamenting the fact that I'm the one not using LJ like I used to do!
(Deleted comment)
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
Everyone can and must use their outlets however they wish, and I know that many people have very specific uses for their LJs. I guess I'm concerned that if people just pack up and leave, it'll mean the end of LiveJournal as we know it. But, really, maybe it'll be the rebirth of it. A throwback to the days of 2000... make LJ an "invitation only" site again. Have it locked and only allow current users to permit their friends in with a pass.

I wonder if that would work at this point?
(no subject) - weelisa - Jul. 14th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - penpusher - Jul. 15th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC) - Expand
stacymckenna
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
My FL lately feels like a vacant wasteland filled primarily with RSS feeds from other sources (like the White House and blogspot entries, plus the infamous Twitter feeds). I abhor the signal to noise ratio I get on FB and really have no interest in Twitter. Its abysmal, and I mourn the vitality the Journals-for-Dummies options (I'm stealing that term - it's fabulous!) are sapping from LJ. I still do most of my communicating here. It's just so easy to got lost in the streaming nature of T/FB.
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
There are just so many info outlets, all of them promising amazing stuff now. What with Second Life trying to clean up its act so that it'll be "family friendly," and facebook dumping more and more attractions like games and stuff, and video services like justin.tv and stickam letting people do their own live webcasts, there are many opportunities to do something other than craft a post on LJ, and that's sorta where it's at.

I have to stay here. This is my piece of internet real estate! But I guess the moment when LJ was the "hot thing" has come, gone and won't be back. It's as quaint as newsprint!
iceblink
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
While I do have a Facebook
This is where I do my serious writing. If I WANT to, I can send my posts to Notes on Facebook. However, if I want to make it Friend's Only, it stays right here.

At first Twitter was amusing, but I cannot contain any PROPER thought in 140 characters. I do make one sentence posts at Facebook, but, my formal writing is here.

More and more I feel like I am writing to myself anyway. I am sure that if I went through my 236 friends, I would find only 50 are active.

Yours is a good post, thanks for your thoughts.
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
Re: While I do have a Facebook
Yes. talk_show is a syndicated feed on facebook, and as soon as I finish getting my computer straightened out, I plan to get back to those interviews (although maybe the point there is those interviews are now too long, even for lj?)

I guess what we're discovering about social networking sites is that once people leave, they rarely ever go back. Look at friendster! I would just hate for LJ to turn into that.
weelisa
Jul. 14th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
I've learned just what a stubborn bunny I am. Most people like to jump on the latest bandwagon but I spent an entire year checking out LJ before I joined.

And once I joined, I liked it. I realized that it made me write, almost daily.

I'm going to keep plugging away at it in spite of the new and eerie quiet that prevails here lately.

The people that are also hanging in have become even more special to me.

If it is ever to my advantage, say professionally, I might create a Facebook account. But I refuse, with ever fiber in my being, to twitter - I just don't get it - it's so unreadable and STUPID!!!!!!!!!

There will always be the majority of people who want things short, quick and utilitarian. But there will ALWAYS be those of us who will still read the huge and leisurely paced Victorian novels - those of use who will savour words like a fine wine.
stacymckenna
Jul. 14th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't mind T/FB if people used it in a short, quick and utilitarian manner, but it's usually short, quick, and superfluous.
(no subject) - weelisa - Jul. 15th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stacymckenna - Jul. 15th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penpusher - Jul. 15th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC) - Expand
ravengirl
Jul. 14th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
I'm an LJer for life. FaceBook just doesn't ring my bell and Twitter is twitty to me.

Since FaceBook, I've felt that LJ is already pretty dinosauric ;) but it's the friendliest and most satisfying space for me so far.

I hope everybody doesn't leave.
*cries*
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
LJ just doesn't have games like typing maniac or lexulous to play against people. There's a game for just about everyone on facebook. It's really more a game site than a journal, and even the journal stuff that happens there is more related to promoting some fandom (fandumb) or common interest. It's like an LJ community without any real context (or text).

I guess as long as ohnotheydidnt remains on LiveJournal, there will at least be *some* traffic around here!
(Deleted comment)
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2009 06:24 am (UTC)
The friendships I have forged on LJ whether I have physically met people (which I have in many cases) or not, mean just as much to me as anything in my life.

And I mean that.
(no subject) - elfy - Jul. 16th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC) - Expand
doeadear
Jul. 15th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
I keep getting asked by everyone (friends I worked with 20 years ago, friends I hung out with 12 years ago, almost my husband's entire under-30 relatives) to join Facebook. It seems like the only way I will ever hear from any of them. But, I am never leaving LJ. I've been here for 8 years and my life changed drastically in that time and it's all recorded here. Facebook would just be to keep in touch with folks who don't seem to know how to use telephones anymore. :-)
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Facebook is just a bit off-putting because it's a lot more stark and open. There's not a lot of control about what goes on and out there, like you can with your LJ. If you're used to maintaining control, FB is just annoying and can really be a nightmare, because all someone has to do is type in your name to the search and they can locate you.

Meanwhile, LJ is like home. Besides juggling, it is the longest running "hobby" I have maintained in my life, and, like that other exercise, has forced me to think in different ways, to move and develop new skills, to keep moving and stay alert! Maybe LJ should be MJ... Mental Juggling!
herwonderfulday
Jul. 16th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
I don't know why reading this made me feel old.

I've had an lj for 8+ years and I'm here to stay. I may not write as much as I used to, but I think it's only because my life became drastically one dimensional on December 8, 2008.

But it's getting better.

I didn't really understand Twitter until a few months ago (or so). Anything that I would think to twitter would be anything I would text my friends anyway. So why not just text my friends directly? I consider twitter to be a mass texting tool and everyone can read my texts at their leisure. And I theirs. (And it allows me to "text" or direct message people - if their phones are synced - abroad to their cell phones without having to pay intl texting charges... so that's a neat feature.)

I've had to unfollow celebrities for being so. incredibly. boring.

I don't like Facebook but everyone and their mom has one. I agree with you here, it's too public. I don't have the kind of control I want. Plus I've heard that it's virtually impossible to delete. :X

I have a myspace that I log into maybe 5 times a year... I think I'll delete it soon anyway.

Maybe it's just because livejournal was my first online journal/blog/whatever. Maybe it's because I've been here longer than anywhere else. Among the first. (Invite codes, hello.) Livejournal feels like home. I'll always be here (unless it disolves). And then I'll move to Typepad.
popstar
Jul. 26th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
Hello! I am finally getting around to replying to this. I have to say that while I certainly don't post as much as I used to, I don't want to give it up altogether... I also have a permanent account, so I guess it really is an investment. I've changed and grown a lot during the years I have been on here, so I certainly wouldn't want to delete my account entirely - too much history/memories. The farthest I'd probably go is to make all my old entries private and kind of start from scratch... but I haven't decided yet.

Thank you for a being a friend, LJ and otherwise. For me, Twitter and Facebook serve completely different purposes than LJ, and always have. However, I understand I might be in the minority there. I haven't reinstated Twitter feeds after the initial LoudTwitter crash, and I'm not sure I'm going to look for another way to update that way.

However, unfortunately, I do see LJ kind of going the way of Friendster and Myspace, but more in terms of fewer new signups. I think people who have been here awhile will stay, but I'm not sure for how long.

I'm also unsure if my reply had any substance whatsoever, but hey, I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep and on a weather delay at the Pgh airport... le sigh :(

Hope you are well!
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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