?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Ten years today

Dear Livejournal,

Happy birthday! It is ten years today since I first set you up. I didn't actually start writing entries here until the following April, but today is the day I joined the LJ community and started reading and commenting on other people's posts, so I think this is the date that counts.

You and I have changed a lot over the last ten years, and sadly not always in ways we probably would have chosen. Certainly, on my side, between parental health issues and appalling workplace mismanagement, the last six years of my life have been pretty shit, all things considered. I know it's naive to expect life to be in any way fair, and I have tried to make the best of things and not get angry and resentful about it all, but it's got to be said that I thought my thirties would be more about happiness and achievement than they have actually turned out to be. Still, you have been there for me all that time, whether I needed to write about the problems I've experienced directly, escape from them into various sorts of film- and television-related fantasy worlds, or (just occasionally) explore and express enthusiasm for new things. I wish there'd been more of the latter in particular, but I'm grateful for all of it.

As for you, the sad reality is that other social networks have chipped away at your userbase. Facebook offers ease of usage, other blogging platforms offer search engine visibility and a sense of professionalism, Pinterest makes sharing picture content quick and easy, Tumblr encourages collaborative discussions, and Twitter captures trends and breaking news and opinion in a way that you never could. As a ball-park figure, I think only about one quarter of the people on my friendslist are actually now active here in any way at all, and my stats tell me that my posts now rack up about 2/5 as many views apiece as they did five years ago. Inevitably, these things snowball, so that once people start drifting away there isn't as much left here to keep the remaining people interested, and in turn they drift too. What started as a slow but noticeable decline three or four years ago has definitely speeded up over the last two years.

And yet, somehow, here you still are in spite of it all. Just like me, in fact. What that tells me is that you still have something to offer which other social networks can't match. Obviously for any individual user, part of it is a combination of nostalgia, and the particular friendship connections we have here. But most of my LJ friendship connections are replicated on other social networks, and yet it obviously still seems worth it to me and to others to keep writing here. LJ allows long discursive writing and considered discussion threads, all of which other blog platforms can match. But where it has and keeps the edge, I think, is the ability to do all of that in a personalised format, addressed to a reciprocal audience of known and trusted friends - either pseudonymously or even completely privately.

Twitter and blogging platforms are largely predicated on the assumption that they are publicly visible and associated with known identities, while once-cool Facebook is now increasingly full of work colleagues and family members whose expectations of our personas may be restrictive - indeed, this is a recognised factor in driving teenagers off it. But LJ is both old enough and small enough to somehow have slipped under all of those nets. The fact that it is unknown territory to those who are anyway unlikely to 'get' it has always been part of its attraction. Certainly, I can write here about my parent and job woes in a way I wouldn't dream of on Facebook or Twitter, and I've seen many other LJ users coming here after long absences in similar circumstances. But it isn't just that. I can write long, self-indulgent film and TV reviews here which are about how I responded to a story, including expressions of extreme geekiness and digressions into my personal history, which I feel comfortable sharing here to a known (and often equally geekish) audience, but wouldn't want associated with my professional identity on a blog.

In short, I still love you LJ, and I don't intend to stop writing here any time soon. You are still an essential element in my online life, even if you're not the only one any more. In fact, I have made you a present in honour of our ten-year anniversary. See, I'm not saying everything I write here is cutting-edge essential content, but it matters to me and I do like writing it. I also think that one consequence of your drifting user-base is that there are people out there who might like to read some of it, but no longer even really know that I am posting here.

So I have finally done something I've been thinking I ought to do for a while. I have sifted through my Facebook friendslist, and put all the people who are or were once on LJ themselves, or who never were but whom I don't mind knowing about the sort of stuff I post here, onto a single 'LJ friendly' filter. From this entry onwards I am going to link to my public LJ posts from my Facebook feed, but filtered to that group only. Not, I think, the friendslocked stuff, but at least my film and TV reviews, and probably some general 'what I've been doing lately' updates too.

I hope you like it, and here's to the next ten years. I'll still be here if you are.

Lots of love,

Penny

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
parrot_knight
Dec. 12th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
I must remember to make a similar post in three days' time.
howlin_wolf_66
Dec. 12th, 2013 11:21 pm (UTC)
'Happy Birthday'! I will be sticking around for as long as LJ lets me, and i hope that you will, too… :-)
owlfish
Dec. 13th, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)
Happy decadel LJ anniversary!
peadarog
Dec. 13th, 2013 09:24 am (UTC)
A good post and... congratulations! My own activity here has dropped off a cliff, but not because I prefer any other platform over LJ.
minnesattva
Dec. 13th, 2013 10:12 am (UTC)
What started as a slow but noticeable decline three or four years ago has definitely speeded up over the last two years.

While I of course couldn't argue that the trend is generally downward, I have noticed a little resurgence of LJ lately, people coming back after months and years to whinge about work or other things that they can't talk about on Facebook or whatever. Things like Clovember have caused a lot of "I'm so glad to be back having an excuse to post here again!" on my friends list. There is starting to be a backlash against things like Facebook, the awareness that tying internet life to real-world identities is not entirely a good thing, and so on.

In lots of small ways, it seems LJ is being perceived for the good thing it is again, and that makes me happy.
glitzfrau
Dec. 13th, 2013 11:06 am (UTC)
I like the way you think, and I hope that you are right!
minnesattva
Dec. 13th, 2013 11:10 am (UTC)
I hope so too!

I am doing my little bit by wittering on about every trivial thing :)
glitzfrau
Dec. 13th, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
This is an absolutely wonderful post, and a fabulous tribute to This Lovely Place. I am just so sorry that you have had such a rough six years of it. xxx
swisstone
Dec. 13th, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
I thought "Curses, I should have posted something like this back in 2012." Then I discovered that I did ... It was shorter than this comment, though.
strange_complex
Dec. 14th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Oh yes - just found it! Definitely considerably more concise than mine. :-)
firefish
Dec. 13th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
I think you've summed up a lot of what LJ is for me too. There's ways to communicate here that you can't do anywhere else. It's been lovely getting to know you better through this.
keris
Dec. 14th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
Happy LJ birthday!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

May 2018
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars