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Tag Archives: livejournal

Read it here: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/01/the-linux-of-social-media-how-livejournal-pioneered-then-lost-web-blogging/

(EDIT: This post has gotten a lot longer now that I’ve had most of a day to think about it.)

I feel like I owe the LJ staff during the Six Apart era an apology. I remember joining the chorus of voices who claimed it really felt like Six Apart was trying to drive fandom communities off the platform before the sale to SUP.

And it seems like that sale was really the deathblow to LJ, more than anything else. It was never the same after that.

LJ rose to prominence during the 2001-2003 exodus of the Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings fandoms from earlier platforms like PHP-based web forums and Yahoogroups to (then) newer social media outlets. LJ in particular made it way easier to control who got to see fan-created content, with its ability to lock posts, or to post to certain communities; and this was important if you were creating the kind of fan content that you were worried might get deleted from FF.net because of Reasons, or were worried about your mom/your boss/your college professor seeing it. It also made communities tailored around specific interests or fandoms easy to seek out and join. I joined LJ for fandom – I stayed for Fanfic Rants, Anarchism, and Natural Living.

I never realized that I had been part of a cultural exodus until it was long over, and a new exodus was carrying users off to Facebook and Tumblr.

For a long time, I considered going back; the move of the servers to Russia in early 2017 made that no longer an option for me. I’m really glad Dreamwidth is still here. For years, it felt like DW basically existed for the purpose of redundancy; if SUP ever did the Mass Fandom Deletion we were all so terrified would happen after the Strikethrough/Boldthrough incidents in 2007, all of our precious musings, memories, and drama would be saved. Post 2017, it stopped being the backup for many users, and became the real deal.

LJ always seemed like a uniquely Gen X phenomenon to me, even if the vast majority of its users were Millenials. It never appealed to Boomers the way Facebook has. I remember that the vast majority of Boomer journals I encountered only consisted of a few entries, often with titles like “My kid signed me up for this thing” or “I still don’t know if I’m doing this right” and were quickly abandoned; George R. R. Martin being a notable exception.

Which reminds me…I need to do some more friending memes. I joined LJ in 2004 and immediately dived into an RP group; getting back into the swing of things on DW is happening a lot more slowly.

Current Mood: https://youtu.be/6WdzR2VKa8A

I had a love-hate relationship with Tumblr before leaving it entirely. Nearly all the fandoms I was following at the time (ok, mainly TRON) migrated there fairly early on (2011-2012.) It really started to get a reputation as a haven for “Social Justice Warriors” during 2012-2013 onwards, and yet for all of the language based around social justice, people basically were behaving the same as their counterparts on 4chan, with all theĀ  gatekeeping, harassing, attacking, shaming, and dogpiling that was constantly going on.

I agree with leftists like Natalie Wynn (aka Contrapoints) who say that people should be given a chance to change their minds and redeem themselves – which happens through discussion, not dogpiling. Dogpiling is great for deplatforming people, which I agree should totally happen in extreme cases – but when your idea of social justice discourse breaks down to “stop liking what I don’t like,” in regards to fandoms (which I was seeing way more than reasoned discussions about social justice) we have a problem.

No one ever changed their minds or adopted a more enlightened worldview because they were told to “go kill yourself.”

It started to be a less “how can we make a better and more just world for everyone,” and more “your fandom is problematic.” EDIT: and that was never really the point of fandom on Tumblr for me anyway; I was there mainly in the beginning for fanfic and fanart like everyone else, and the social justice discourse (and fandom gatekeeping thinly disguised as social justice discourse) just started creeping to the forefront around the end of 2012.

And I agree that being conscious of social issues is important! BUT – let people enjoy things. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense to call someone a fascist because you disagree with their fanfic interpretation of Severus Snape or Xehanort, especially with actual fascists so thick on the ground these days.

Anyway, now The Powers That Be at Tumblr have decided to crack down on anything NSFW. I haven’t been there in over a year, and I can still think of several fan artists I knew and liked who would be negatively affected by this. This is LJ Strikethough all over again, but for the Millenials and Generation Z. Which makes me wonder – is Tumblr about to be sold to the Russians?

LJ Strikethrough, for those of you too young to remember, was an incident in which LJ cracked down on “adult themed” fanart and fanfic in an attempt to “clean up the place” before the sale to SUP, the Russian company who bought it in 2007. It caused a mass exodus to LJ clones like InsaneJournal and GreatestJournal, and was the reason the bestest LJ clone ever, Dreamwidth dot org, was created.

I really don’t know what spurred Tumblr on to do this, but I can imagine that the migration to the Next Big Thing in social media platforms has already begun.

ETA: ProZD weighs in on the controversy (also Current Mood)