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Tag Archives: the aughties

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