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Twitter Expansion

Twitter made it official this week that they were going to permit "longer tweets." If you're familiar with how twitter works, you know that the standard tweet permitted was 140 characters. There actually was a rationale for that number: they wanted the tweet to be able to fit inside a single SMS (Short Message Service) message, which has a limitation of 160 characters.

Apparently people, in their desire to post comments longer than the standard 140, have circumnavigated the issue by simply posting a picture or screen cap of text for people to read in their tweets, which permits messages of up to a page length be seen. And now that the twitterati have noted this has been happening, they want to change the service to permit more of that, and to be able to track that, i.e. have that text be searchable by twitter itself, something that can't be done if the text was in an uploaded photo.

That brings us back to the continuing saga of LiveJournal and how it gets used. It sure seems like this "expanded twitter" concept is bringing that service closer to this one. As a proponent of LJ, and one of the few vocal proponents on the Western World side of making this site more lively again, this is an opportunity. Of course, even tamar seems to have abandoned LJ for twitter, as her journal is now just a daily collection of her twitter feed (not that she posts to twitter daily)!

But it doesn't deal with the big population issue: that of what celebrities are available to interact with there and here. As tacky and as unwieldy as celebrity accounts are, that is the element that people find most attractive about twitter. You can potentially interact with any celebrity at any time.

Yeah, even I'm a little excited when things like that happen.

The problem remains the usage of LJ, how people see it, and what it can do, and I don't see people in the LiveJournal hierarchy examining that. Heck, I don't see people in the LiveJournal hierarchy at all! Who's actually running this place?

The point is that if twitter is expanding, making entries of longer text possible, why shouldn't LJ start promoting as a really great alternative for communicating too?


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
Twitter and LJ cannot be compared to one another. They exist to serve two completely different population subsets and purposes.

LiveJournal is utilized largely by writers, in a classical sense.

Twitter is a virtually unregulated wasteland of advertisements, insults, bad jokes and porno links, sprinkled with selfies and sports banter.

LiveJournal will never be popular in Western society because Americans are molly-coddled pissbabies that require instant gratification and constant peer approval. You're exponentially more likely to find that posting selfies, memes and one-liners on Twitter and/or Facebook than you are when you compose a poem, memoir or essay on LJ for the simple reason that few people are interested in *reading*, and even fewer will be interested in any given topic or writer.

Asking why LJ can't be more like Twitter is akin to asking why Red Lobster doesn't offer Count Chocula cereal on their menu.
Jan. 7th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC)
Just to clarify some things, I'm definitely not asking why LiveJournal can't be more like twitter. As a user of LJ since 2001, that would not be of any appeal to me. My question is why can't LJ be more active, or at least as active as it was say 10 years ago, as twitter is active. This has been an ongoing question for the folks here since the time immediately after SixApart and how their ownership of the site helped to irrevocably damage both the confidence and the interest in LiveJournal for the user base (that wasn't the only reason, but it was a big reason).

Also, I don't believe that twitter users are all of the ilk you describe. After all, I'm on twitter as well, and many of the LJ users that used to be so active here have accounts there. Yes twitter is somewhat different, but there's no need to demean it, or those that use it.

My only point in noting the twitter comparison now is that expanding the 140 limit seems to be drawing that social media site closer to what LJ is, or the reverse of what you suggested I was asking.

I have frequently stated that LJ could have been used the exact same way as twitter was from the very start, if you wanted to self-impose that 140 character regulation. So, in that sense, twitter and LJ can completely be compared. And with the comment threads, the communities, the method of interaction between users, LJ would have made a far superior twitter, had people decided to use it in that fashion.

But beyond all that, the fact is, LiveJournal WAS popular in Western Society... I forget how many millions of active journals there were back in 2005-6. It was the place to be for awhile there. The feeling I have about it is that everyone abandoned ship for a series of reasons, and if you click the "lj promotion" tag attached to this, you'll see a few other thinkposts in the series I have written on the topic, just to give you a more complete view of the examination I'm making of this.

I really appreciate you commenting though, and if you're an active LJ user, I'd like add you on to my list!
Jan. 7th, 2016 06:31 pm (UTC)
I think LJ is being run by a 12 year old Russian boy sitting in his parents basement too obsessed with ONTD to pay attention to what is going on elsewhere in LJ. *grin*

That being said, I think the FP had a tiny tiny tiny nugget of a valid point in their comment. LJ IS for people who read and write, and that takes more time than spitting out a photo or a few words. Time that we all seem to have too little of to get what we want done in the day. Twitter, and Facebook and the ilk do allow a semblance social interaction in a very short period of time. As for promotion, if twitter is moving closer to what WE are (I am very possessive!) then their marketing and research must have seen some value. And that is the issue with lj, they are not "fighting" in the promotion world for the full range of value this place gives.

BTW, I am VERY impressed with the Chenoweth follow! I can't remember precisely, did you get to meet her IRL?
Jan. 7th, 2016 07:12 pm (UTC)
No, I acknowledged the differences in these other social media forms in previous "LJ Promotion" posts. I definitely don't want LJ to become some sort of twitter annex or replacement facebook, per se. But I do want to see it become more popular again, and that would be to help assure that the site won't just eventually crumble and die. That's my whole point in doing this: I'd like my journal to be there for a long time!

It's really some psychological issues that need to be explored here which is why this isn't so easily done. I covered some of it previously and how, depending on when you started using LJ, the purpose you started using it for and the people that were in your specific clique not just colored, but possibly dictated how your experience of using the site went. And that could be as individualized as the users themselves. I already know that some people won't ever return to LJ because of their experiences, and that's a shame...

But the other point is that LJ itself is definitely a platform that's great to use, and why shouldn't more people be using it?
Jan. 7th, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, and as far as Cheno... once upon a time, she dated the guy who owned the club I used to DJ in. I have met her previously, but I doubt she would remember me from that.

I'm guessing she'll eventually drop me again, but it was fun to have her add me on, however briefly!

Jan. 7th, 2016 10:03 pm (UTC)
Ah, I had wondered if she was one of the actress/singers you met in your latest job.
Jan. 11th, 2016 06:47 pm (UTC)
!I think LJ is being run by a 12 year old Russian boy sitting in his parents basement too obsessed with ONTD to pay attention to what is going on elsewhere in LJ. *grin* !

I tend to agree.
Jan. 11th, 2016 07:36 pm (UTC)
Jan. 7th, 2016 07:08 pm (UTC)
Is LiveJournal even still relevant? I'm only here because I've been here for so long (15 years on April 1). Any LJ community I search for hasn't been updated in months or years. Since the expansion of FB and Twitter, LJ has died - at least to me. No one is here. This platform doesn't cross with any others, easily, because it's long form.

I kinda prefer the Tumblr format. Tumblr's only flaw is that your main account can't be private. Other than that... the ease with which you can post long form, quotes, pictures, gifs, videos, soundbites, whatever... it's lovely. And the layouts are beautiful. Tumblr integrates with everything I need it to.

(I feel super old on Tumblr though... it seems like mostly HS/college students there, which gives it a big liberal/social justice warrior complex at times. And, uh, it's a little risky opening Tumblr in public sometimes.)

Jan. 7th, 2016 07:19 pm (UTC)
LJ is clearly not as relevant as it was, but that was the point of discussing it... finding ways to make it relevant again, if that's possible. I don't know that it's possible, but I still am of the mind that as far as a social media site, doing all the things that a twitter or facebook or even tumblr does, LJ is pretty amazing.

LJ has it for security. Between the friends only option and the filter where you can screen some of the people on your list, it's genius and would be an ideal place for a celebrity to do their social media, assuming there was any interest in that.

Yeah, we're all too old for Tumblr. That's another reason to bring LiveJournal back!
Jan. 7th, 2016 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah - I agree that security is a big draw for LJ.

But I don't think LJ is amazing at incorporating the things that Twitter, FB, and Tumblr do. The interface is outdated and clunkly. Even the name - LiveJournal... it doesn't have the same ~aesthetic that the other platforms have.

I think, like DOS, we're going to have accept that LJ isn't going to come back into relevancy unless it gets a big overhaul. I think it had a real chance when it was part of SixApart and it could've been incorporated into the TypePad family, but even TypePad now ... is pales in comparison to Squarespace. LJ couldn't keep up (or rather, the people who ran/coded LJ didn't want to keep up and would've rather created their own new thing to take off).

That said. Quality content drives traffic, regardless of platform, I think. As long as it's sharable. Get a professional URL and tweet an excerpt/link to the original source, and the good stuff will get passed around.
Jan. 7th, 2016 08:43 pm (UTC)
You want the name changed? I mean we've already been calling it LJ for 15 years! We could do that. I mean if Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC permanently, we can just reduce this to initials too! Done!

But I must disagree about 6A's apparent effect on LJ. If there were people there that had a full understanding of what blogging was about, *maybe* they could have improved things. But all they saw was an opportunity to cash in on a userbase that was already used to doing things their way, suddenly being forced into doing things in the "VOX" way. Not Okay. And that was the problem about why none of that worked.

It was a sense of timing: facebook and twitter came along as the new toys. Celebrities of all sorts appeared there, and in the wake of the economy collapse in 2008, people just wanted to stop talking about their lives in that in depth way, as many had been doing here.

I don't know if anything could have survived all of that. But the point still remains: LJ is a good social media platform, even as is. But sure, it could use some updating, too. And part of the exploration of this is figuring out just what needs that sort of treatment to make things better. So, we're all on the same page, after all!
Jan. 7th, 2016 09:04 pm (UTC)
Stop trying to make fetch happen.
I don't know, man.

I think to bring LJ up to more popular standards, it would just be poor man's Tumblr at this point. For all of Tumblr's minor flaws, none of them are deal breakers.

And, sort of like Google+ wasn't going to take off because everyone's already on FB anyway, I don't think people who've been on FB or Tumblr or Twitter for years now are going to leave to come to LJ. Why would they? There's nothing here for them.

There's nothing niche enough about LJ that makes it rival the big social platforms. LJ is outdated and if even it could be brought up to code, so to speak, there is nothing it could offer that the others can't (in a more meaningful way).
Jan. 7th, 2016 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Stop trying to make fetch happen.
The point is that everyone knows LJ already. How many people have dormant accounts? It's not like getting people to come here, it's getting people to come back here. So, in that sense, the approach is different.

But the understanding of why people left is the issue and the draw to bring people back is the question. That's why I look as celebs as a first element to consider. People want to be around celebs, read what they have to say and be an "insider" into them. LJ is just like Instagram in that you could post a photo. It's Twitter in that you could write a one-liner post. It's tumblr as you can embed your media from youtube or other sources. It's like facebook with the connections, assuming anyone is here to connect!

I'm still of the school that the LJ platform is as good or better than everything else, and that the way users can interact with each other, even in someone else's journal, is why the community elements of this place make it even more social than any other.

And just think... I don't even work for LJ!
Jan. 7th, 2016 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Stop trying to make fetch happen.
What are you really holding on to here, Dean?
Jan. 8th, 2016 02:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Stop trying to make fetch happen.
I was just thinking that if LJ got popular, it would help guarantee that the site won't get deleted eventually, like how when everyone thought that SixApart was going to basically destroy everyone's journals with their advertcentric rules and regs, people were trying to find ways to move all of the text of their accounts to some other place.

Seriously, that is a big element of this because where am I going to move THIS journal, and all of the brilliant responses I received over the past 15 years (let alone all of the other journals I created here)? Just copying and pasting every entry would be a massive undertaking, that I would be willing to do, if I had to do it, but I'd prefer not!

And I guess there is a bit of ego about having a bigger audience around... But it's just safer if the site is getting used more.
Jan. 8th, 2016 04:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Stop trying to make fetch happen.
I think you may want to consider backing up what you can. And know that any replies or comments were emailed to you ... so assuming you have a good email search, all is not lost. Maybe harder to find, but not lost.

Jan. 8th, 2016 05:18 pm (UTC)
Are you saying you think LJ is going to disappear? What have you heard?

The idea was NOT to have to reconstruct my entire journal either in Word documents or on some other site. I'd much prefer getting more people using LJ than to do that, which is the point.
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
I haven't heard anything, but you have to see the writing on the wall. Who knows how long livejournal will continue. The ads may prop it up, but nothing is getting updated.
Jan. 11th, 2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
The thing about it is that the Russian version of LJ is as wildly successful as our version of twitter is, thanks, in great part, to all the celebs and personalities that use Zhe Zhe, as they call it there. Since that part of the system is doing so very well, they are able to keep the Western World side propped up without an issue.

I suspect that the Cyrillic side actually likes having a connection to the west, so, unless we start costing them an amount that they simply can't afford, or don't want to pay, we are probably going to be stable for the foreseeable future.

Still, I'd feel a little better if LJ, our side of it, were at least a functioning community, and not something closer to a ghost town.
Jan. 7th, 2016 10:10 pm (UTC)
HMM... Kentucky fried chicken became KFC for legal reasons. The guberment decided that there were too many non chicken things in their chicken to allow them to use the word chicken in their name. Hence KFC. But, since most people called it that anyway, or at least shortened it, that wasn't really a big deal.
Jan. 8th, 2016 02:36 pm (UTC)
Oh Raven. When you hear a rumor like that going around, you should always, ALWAYS check with SNOPES about it.
Jan. 8th, 2016 03:53 pm (UTC)
HA! No, I had not heard it was mutant chickens that was the cause, but the number of flavorings they used and the method of cooking. That there was an effluvium of additional stuff in and around the chicken. Snopes huh? Thanks for the link, and the laugh.
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC)
Well, these rumors often branch off and vary, depending on factors of sorts... every "telephone" game goes differently, so your version of the story probably got a different spin than some of the others, but the basic gist of it is the same.

Snopes is always the go-to source for debunking any rumors about pretty much anything you've heard on the internet or even from relatives, neighbors and friends. They source their material very well and give you the truth with the facts to back it up. It's well worth a bookmark.
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:57 pm (UTC)
I see that, thank you!
Jan. 11th, 2016 04:25 pm (UTC)
Every time a coworker fwds me a health article about something with a jpeg full of artifacts, I'm like, "No... I don't believe this thing you've sent me. And here's why: ..."

And then I go to snopes. I don't even check snopes before I type out, "No, you're wrong." Because I know snopes has my back.
Jan. 11th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC)
+1 Liked

Really, between Snopes and Wikipedia, those two sites nearly redeem the rest of the internet.
Jan. 11th, 2016 02:40 am (UTC)
I agree that it's rather curious that LJ hasn't bitten the dust entirely, but not just because of the FB and Twitter era, but certainly there's a lot to that. As far as FB and Twitter go, there are already articles out there saying they are past their prime, although I don't see that anything has quite come in to replace them. My Step-daughter says there are a lot of people her age on Tumblr, but then she doesn't write anything herself on it, she just shares gifs.

FB used to have word limits, too, but then they got rid of them. Perhaps it's just a signal of Twitter's demise? Or having reached it's limits? Or having hired a bunch of programmers who've run out of things to do?

Who knows?
Jan. 11th, 2016 04:51 am (UTC)
LJ is being propped up by the extremely successful Russian side of the service, which is revered there as twitter is in the Western World, because all of the celebrities have LJs and use them regularly there.

As the entire system is owned by that Russian side, the idea was to somehow get the Western version to be slightly more active.

These social media sites come and go like fads, but where there are celebrities, especially popular ones, people will continue to linger, because of the chance of interacting with those luminaries.

The twitter extended character count was very simple: people started posting pictures of text in tweets to allow themselves to post a message of whatever length they wanted. As the twitter staff realized this, they thought they wanted to be able to track and find such posts by the words, so extend the character count. Or at least, that was the explanation I read about it over there.

As long as the Russian side of LJ is a success, and it doesn't appear to be showing any signs that it won't be, our little piece of it should be okay. I was just hoping that more people would become a part of the scene.

Really, the truth is I need to be the one to use LJ more.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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