I Miss (The Golden Age of) LiveJournal

It used to be a series of rituals each day. Check email to see if I got any comments on my latest LJ post. Check my LJ friends list to see what new posts had been made. Read the comments for the posts I was interested in. Maybe reply to one of the comments. Maybe become inspired to write an LJ post of my own. Check my LJ friends list to see what new posts had been made since I wrote up my latest post. Read the comments of those posts. Maybe reply to them. Lather, rinse, repeat. If all else failed, I’d add some new funny “interests” or upload a new usericon to amuse myself and others. Exhausting my friends’ content meant I could just look at the friends of my friends’ content and sometimes find a diamond in the rough I could add to my own personal coffers.

I bet I’m not the only one who had this routine at some point.

I wasn’t super popular on LJ. I didn’t have 19684509686 friends on my list. Nor did I have 1352345246 people follow me. That was fine. I was still wealthy when it came to people reading me and habitually responding to things I wrote. For years I enjoyed this fairly consistent back-and-forth with both people I knew in real life and complete strangers that crossed the Strange Divide by merely having access to a computer which was on the Internet.

Sure, there was drama. I was a lot more personal with my thoughts and regularly talked about myself and others whether it was good or bad. I even went Full Dramatic back in November 2002, needlessly alarming friends and being my most absolutely wretched and attention-starved. A break of a few months did me better and since then I kept the worst demons at bay. While using online social media in any capacity is a double-edged sword of both benefiting from and becoming codependent upon the call-and-response with other people in a public (and sometimes private) forum, I really enjoyed the community I was apart of on LiveJournal. I openly admit that I really needed it sometimes to get through the relationship issues, personal anxiety, and lonely, boring days.

It is now 2011. I’ve been married for over a year. I co-own a house. In the near future I could be a father. Obviously, things have changed.

Some of the people I used to read on LiveJournal are still there. A lot stopped posting or left. They created their own blogs. They signed up with WordPress (hee hee) or Tumblr. A lot concurrently (some exclusively) post on Facebook or Twitter. While our need to express ourselves online hasn’t necessarily disappeared, the cohesion of my community is now fractured, and in many ways diluted.

Perhaps due to growing up, stabilizing ourselves with marriage or kids, or through simply losing interest, the desire to post in a longer format has greatly lessened. Perhaps I’m still just too egocentric and reliant on validation and obsess too much on this. For whatever the reason may be, the Golden Age of LiveJournal in my life has probably been over for a while. Even LiveJournal itself has changed, subjecting unpaid users (of which I’ve been for a long time now) to annoying ads it didn’t used to back when it was still small and less concerned with making a profit. This change was bound to happen, but it’s never swallowed without some mild difficulty.

I realize that the LJ community I so enjoyed for many years will not rematerialize. The landscape is different and it’s probably better to try to capitalize on what’s happening now, rather than always reminisce. It’s hard, though, when I read over old LJ posts and revisit old memories. My writing was much more effusive, absurd, and sometimes even manic then. When it comes to putting on a professional face, it probably does my name little good, but it’s actually really fun to read. The passion came from being an attention whore in front of a captive audience, that which does not exist anymore. Writing this blog into the endless space of the Greater Internet instead of the safe and inviting City of LiveJournal feels more pointless. My wheels spin, but no real traction is gained.

The zeros are sometimes followed by ones, and the ones sometimes zeros, but does it even compile?

11 thoughts on “I Miss (The Golden Age of) LiveJournal

  1. I agree that the LJ community was special. Like you’ve mentioned before, the signal to noise ratio was much better than FB/LJ

    Sometimes, the noise drowns out the signal.

  2. I still post to LJ, if anything, because I want a private forum to express my thoughts. The idea of my employer/a customer finding my PERSONAL online blog horrifies me.

    I also miss the community, and actually still check my LJ friends page a couple times a day (if anything, out of habit).

    • One reason I left LJ was just to get all of that content unassociated with them. Now that it’s all in a WordPress blog, which I host, I feel a little more in control of my own content. There is no “friends-only” option unless I enable everyone to make WordPress accounts, and then they actually _do that_, which doesn’t seem likely, so I just try to keep the topic less personal. That definitely hampers my expressiveness, which makes the blog less interesting IMO.

      • Doesn’t wordpress let you login with openid? Can you add openid logins to your wordpress friends? If that’s the case, no new accounts for people makes it easier. IMO, people who actually care on more than a casual level would be willing to make the account just to be able to participate in the discussion of your inner htoughts.

  3. Ok, I wrote a long comment about this issue, but then I realized it just sounded whiny. Here’s a brief summary.

    I miss LJ. I miss feeling connected to people who cared about my daily life. I miss feeling that no matter the distance, friendships could survive.

    It’s not that I think people don’t care all of the sudden; rather, everyone is just too busy to stay connected with people only through digital media.

    • The attention I got was great. It’s selfish, yes, but it was great all the same. I tried to shower others with attention, too, just to balance it out.

  4. […] know I’ve already groused about this, but keeping all of your friends’ blog updates on one domain is still something I miss. […]

  5. I wish I had more time to blog on livejournal, but its been difficult with the baby to find the time.

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