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Why LiveJournal Matters Again

I'm dizzy and feeling sick and it's not from the Flu. Or at least I don't think it's from the flu, even though the temperatures in NYC today are going up to nearly 60 and tomorrow we'll flirt with 70. No, I'm feeling miserable just from reading twitter.

You might have heard that there were a couple of incidents from a couple of high profile people on the 140 character message service last night. The one that got the bulk of attention was from a High-Powered Public Relations person named Justine Sacco, who was assigned to travel to South Africa. At Heathrow Airport before she boarded her flight, she posted the following tweet:

"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

Of course, the message service exploded with thousands of responses, including the hashtag: #HasJustineLandedYet, which is still a worldwide trending topic as I write this entry. Admittedly, most people probably had never even heard of Justine before her ill-advised comment. So there's 15 minutes of fame that cost you a career, Ms. Sacco, not to mention the obligatory termination of her twitter and facebook accounts. Maybe you should have left the comedy to the professionals!

Oh, but wait! A bit less noted in the firestorm around that was author, actor and comedian Steve Martin's also insensitive twitter comment, which was in a series of comments he was shooting back and forth with other twitter users about grammar and spelling. User @BethanyWedel asked him "Is this how you spell lasonia?" Martin's reply:

"That depends. Are you in an African-American neighborhood or at an Italian restaurant?"

Martin spent the bulk of his night apologizing to everyone for his thoughtless remark, which he deleted quickly... this, though he was born a poor black child. Never mind that Bethany tried to defend him by saying "He was just trying to be funny." Go figure. Steve Martin. Trying to be funny.

But I said all of that to say all of this. LiveJournal is really a better place to be than any of those other services. It started out better and it continues to be better. That's because of how it all started.

Back in the day, you couldn't just sign up and start posting here. You had to get what they called an "invite code" from someone who was already on LJ. It was a method of making sure that someone who was already here could sort of vouch for you, AND that this new person already knew someone who was on site. It made the community a bit tighter, a bit more social and a bit more invested in what everyone else was saying.

Though we couldn't and really wouldn't go back to that kind of format, it really helped hold the concept of LJ together, in that we were a bit more than just a group of random strangers. We were connected in a way that is missing from all other social media, then and especially now.

And that's why I want to be back here again. Things are starting to feel miserable, horrible and even at times dangerous in places like Twitter. Those sorts of areas really cause a lot of mental anguish, take up a lot of time to dissect and just add to the unpleasantness of life as we are coming to know it.

For me, it all means one thing. It's time to be back on good old El Jay again. *sigh* Why did I ever leave?


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
Because the grass is always greener...

Welcome home!
Dec. 22nd, 2013 12:41 am (UTC)
I think the world is changing in some not-so-positive ways and that I really feel it, and feel the need to find more things that aren't deconstructing every minute. That's becoming more and more difficult to do as time progresses.

I really wish that brad hadn't sold LJ when he did. I mean, I know it was the right time for him because it was a big payday. But it was very badly timed for the site and for blogging generally, because he sold it to a company that knew so little about anything to do with social media.

If the people of SixApart were bloggers, they might have positioned LJ to be a twitter or facebook at the time. Because LiveJournal has a lot of what those sites offer. And if they had, instead of incensing the userbase, maybe everything would have changed, and dozens of celebs might have wound up here, as they are in Russia, instead of ruining their careers on twitter!

Don't get me wrong. I think that people like Justine Sacco would have eventually said or done something that would have gotten her tossed anyhow. But the need to create "one-liners" on twitter has ruined a reputation and has exposed some serious issues with a lot of people in positions of power.

Thanks for the welcome back!
Dec. 22nd, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on the sale of LJ, but you know, the doom that we all thought was coming has been relatively quiet. I mean I have two accounts in LJ knock offs, just in case, and I don't use them at all.

"How the mighty will fall" Again, I agree, that the words would have eventually caught up with her, and others. I don't know if it is karma, or humans, but something LOVES to take down the powerful.
Dec. 23rd, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
The doom was really all coming from 6A's attempt to make LJ "advertiser friendly" with that whold "Strikethrough" and "Nipplegate" issue. Once they were out of the picture, everything was okay, but by then, many had fled for other services and the moment had passed.

Now that LJ is no longer "hot," it's actually the place to be. And I always thought you could use your LJ like a twitter account if you wanted. Nobody said you had to write essays here. It's just that the reply service automatically makes this site much more social than any of the others!

Dec. 23rd, 2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
I agree!
Dec. 23rd, 2013 08:03 am (UTC)
Welcome home, Dean. Did you know that Ana's back too? She's mad at FB. I'm glad you're both back!
Dec. 23rd, 2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
It really is a matter of negative and positive response. If you start going to various places on the web and you stomach starts turning when you do, it's probably time to get outta there!

What happened with Ana and the whole facebook thing? Or do I even want to know??
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 24th, 2013 03:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, I mean it's been quiet since about Summer 2008... which, I suggested, was when people decided to stop sharing their lives with everybody as the whole country went into the toilet after the Great Recession. Basically ALL blogging services that required you to talk about yourself in great detail got hit hard at that time, But LJ had just gotten through the whole 6A issues, so there was a secondary level of angst about this particular service, at least in the west.

It's also that people who are writers, or who fancy themselves writers, are really the people who thrive, excel and want to be here. And we should be the ones to push the initiative to return. There's also the readers and people who like to read particular bloggers. They might help with all of that as well.

I'm thinking about "nudging" a bunch of users, just to see if there's any response.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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