Two years ago today was my first real entry into LJ. I registered on the 19th, but didn’t post anything for a few days… spent a little time getting familiar with the system, and wasn’t sure I’d use it, because at the time all that existed was a web-form entry.
I don’t know if I’d consider myself one of the “old-timers” here, but given the chaotic and transient nature of the net, I’ve done a pretty good job of posting regularly, averaging about three entries a day since I got going… maybe more. I try to post at least twice a day, once to reflect on the coming day or just morning blather and a walkies report, and the later one to discuss what the day has brought for good or ill.
I think I went through most of the growing cycles of LJ… building a friend’s list, learning new features as they became available. The occasional lj drama has crossed my path, but not so many as others that I’ve seen. I seem to be subject to suffering one fool, one rumor and one flame a year.. sometimes the same person, sometimes not. It takes no time to figure out how to close the storm shutters that front… respond to all comers with a polite face, give them an opportunity to retreat, and barring that, stick to your guns and keep a cool head. Justice has prevailed for me every time by following those rules, and the angry or cruel folks involved were made to look the fools. If that doesn’t work, and the aggressor is very persistent, LJ-abuse will be more than happy to deal with them, given a collected set of examples of TOS violation.
I’ve seen “vanity suicides” folks deleting out to get attention and wailing summons to return. I’ve seen petty squabbles, high-school cliques, out-and-out fraud, cruelty, passive-aggressive, actively nasty, and desperate posts… and I delight in being able to remove those folks from my sight with a press of a button. If only I could do that at the office! I’ve had people get angry with me for not reciprocating links… or for my unlinking after their journal turns in a direction I don’t care to follow… why should someone get upset about what I choose to read and not to read? Would they really prefer that folks link to them and then not read what they have to say, just for the vanity of saying “look how many folks are on my friend-of list”? My only guess is the word “friend”… powerful juju. Seriously? I think that I can count on one hand the number of people on LJ that I can call a friend in a traditional sense. “People I read” and “Readers” I feel is a more correct descriptor of how the friend’s list works. I do have warm feelings for most of the folks I regularly read, however.
I’ve not only seen but *been* a direct catalyst in causing people to delete their journal… either to vanish completely, or to rename themselves and start anew somewhere. I feel very little if any guilt over that, but I do wonder why folks post anything in a public forum with a comment feature, not expecting a reply that might not be 100% their own. If folks are asked for an opinion, or see it implied that they may offer it freely… well, it’s bound to happen, and nobody can agree on everything, and I try to voice my opinion in solid and firm, but gentle words… especially if it differs from that of whom I’m responding.
Best of all, I’ve read a select and wonderful few people that are true gems… folk that are shining examples of kindness, humor, intelligence, diversity, charity, and art. There are some really choice pieces of writing here and there, biographical and fictional (best for me when labeled as such), poetry, raw emotion, pictures, trials and victories. I return from reading my list happy if I get a smile or a sample of a person’s love for another. Snippets of life that I might not otherwise see. *That* is why I link to folks in livejournal. I read them even if they choose not to read what I have to say in return.
The reason I post what I do is a combination… I like to share with people… the wacky links are the most obvious side of that, but the biggest thing for me is to just write what comes to me, and if other folks dig it, that’s fine, but it’s mostly just to save a facet or two of what’s bouncing around in my head at the moment. Sure, I like having folks read what I’m writing about, and I really enjoy comments… but I think that I’d keep a journal even if nobody read it but me… just with fewer remote links. I like to go back in time now and then, see what I was thinking, where my life was, and see where it is now. I also like to flex my writing muscles… something that I need to get back into, once some of my other projects come to fruition.
I don’t really care how large my reader’s list is, though I do like to monitor how much it grows and shrinks. As of this writing, it’s swollen to well over 200 regular readers, and dwindled to under 75 at it’s lowest shrinkage point. Right now it’s about midway, maybe a little lower than usual. I have a few people that appear and disappear as they decide to add to or tighten up lists they read. I *do* like to see the menstrual hut community get more members and was delighted the day that it had more readers than I myself have… (it’s grown to about 4-5x the number of folks who read my own stuff now… and I’m proud.) The only thing that disappointsme about my list getting smaller is that posting polls now aren’t as satisfying as the once were. I like to see at least 20 or more replies to a posted question, just to get a good sampling. Flipside, I’d like to chop off the dozen people who’ve linked to me and then walked away from their journal, leaving a phantom connection behind… it’s like a sucker mark from a long-dead octopus on my bio page.
I wouldn’t mind my future kids looking through my journal, either, come to think of it. I know I’d enjoy reading what my father, mother and grandparents were feeling and thinking at my age, to compare against. Heck, I’ll even give the password to the journal in my will, if they show any interest in wanting to read the private-private stuff. I should download it to paper so that it’ll still exist even when I and LJ’s servers ultimately keel over. The animated gif’s won’t be as fun, and the links won’t work, but aside from that, it should be ok. Maybe burn a copy to CD, too. (who knows if folks will be able to read a CD in 20 years though? and all those dead links… ohy. I stuck a ‘bot seek me and refresh meta-tag, so hopefully the archivers will keep a backup of this stuff and those things I link to.)
The account I have is permanent, and I hope that LJ is around for a long time to come. Thus far, it’s been a good run.