Live Journal: What's the Attraction?

(I am putting this in About This Message Board because it is, well, About This Message Board)

Three Dopers in as many weeks have told me, “You must get onto Live Journal!” and sent me links. Color me unimpressed. Most of the threads seem to consist of:

“Fck you!"
"No, f
ck you!
“Oh, yeah? Well, f*ck you!

The others are:

“Remember when so-and-so told whoosis to go fck herself?"
"Yeah, so-and-so can go f
ck himself!”
“Oh, yeah? Well, you can go f*ck yourself!”

I felt like I had to clean my hard drive out with Clorox. How is Live Journal different from the Pit? What can you say there you couldn’t say on this Message Board?

I’ll first say I don’t have an LJ account myself and probably will never get one. However, I do read it from time to time. The only thing they discuss that isn’t kosher on these boards boils down to bannings. Who has been banned, who should be banned, who shouldn’t have been banned. From time to time when a particular discussion gets way into left field, Lynn will weigh in with an opinion.

Aside from that, though, you’re quite right. It seems to be a low-traffic version of the Pit.

Hmmm…I’m not sure where you were directed that it was so Clorox worthy. Some of the communities are avoidable.

Overall though…I love LJ. I feel like the people I have on my friends page I have gotten to know a heck of a lot more than I did on the SD. It’s a smaller group of people to converse with so you get to know them in a more intimate way.

I never would have made the friends I’ve made in Chicago or visited there twice in the last 4 months if it weren’t for LJ.

The anonymous communities are sometimes shameful and nasty but I have actually seen some good come out of a couple of them.

To each his own and all but I, for one, am very pleased with my live journal.

What specifically did they send you links to? The SDMB community at LJ? I’ll agree, it’s little more than an extension of the pit at times. However, LJ is much more than just that community. Most dopers I know who have LJs interact more through their own personal journals. LJ is about much more than just community journals.

You’re both talking about livejournal communities, one in particular.

The communities are only one aspect of livejournal.

When you create a livejournal, it’s your journal. You can post about anything, and people who friend you will read it and post comments. It’s a little like your own personal messageboard where you create all the topics, but anyone can participate.

Likewise, you can create a group of friends and read their journals and comment. People usually talk about things that are more personal than on the message board, since they can control who gets to read it.

Then there’s the community aspect. There are a couple communities which are offshoots of this messageboard. Mainly they’re either a way to point out interesting posts or threads here, point out things which might be interesting to dopers (but not necessarily having to do with the boards), or to discuss things the management won’t let posters discuss here.

Basically, livejournal is what you make of it. It doesn’t HAVE to be about the trainwrecky pit stuff…you don’t have to join or read that community. The “main” (first, AFAIK) sdmb community doesn’t allow that sort of bashing…it’s pretty much posters new to lj announcing themselves, pointing out interesting threads, or just general banter.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me and I’ll answer as best I can. I’m not sure if links are allowable here or not.

The whole thing seems pretty nasty, spiteful, and cowardly to me. It’s the internet at its most base (and that’s saying something!). I’ve had insights into the minds of some people I could have done without - there is some truly hateful and bitter headspace out there.

Having an LJ is sort of like having your own message board, but you get to choose who’s in it with you. I keep in touch with a lot of former Dopers viz LJ, as well as others who I don’t get to see/talk you regularly.

The threads you referenced in your OP will not be a summation of your LJ experience if you don’t let it. You actively pick and choose whose entries you want to read on a daily basis via your “friends list,” which is a compilation of recent posts by people you have named “friends.” Everyone else can be blissfully ignored, if that’s what you want.

I believe you are referring to but one (or two) lone communities on LJ. As I said before, you can go your entire life without ever reading a single post there.

I’m on Live Journal just to post stuff from time to time about my insignificant life. I didn’t realize there was an SDMB community until after I joined, and I rarely post on it anyway.

In what I assume to be the spirit of Eve’s OP, yes I was. Point taken.

I only know Live Journal from the forums I was directed to: what is it, exactly? A message board? A journal? A private site where you can post anything you want in any manner? The threads I saw didn’t seem to have a chosen few members: people were coming out of the woodwork to tell others off.

It’s merely a way to have sort of an online diary. Different people use it for different things. Some use it to keep track of their diet/weightloss, some people for stuff they overhear on the bus in the mornings, some people to gripe about their bosses or husbands, some to post pictures of interesting things they see. You can create a “friends list” which is just a list of other people whose journals you read and the lj server sorts their daily entries onto a seprarte page for you to read all at once. People can respond to each others journal entires with advice or jokes, etc, just like a message board. As someone who writes for a living and gets paid for it, I don’t really see what the appeal would be to you, Eve, but if you do decide to start one I’d love to read it.

For what it’s worth, here’s a link to my LJ. You can see (except for the most recent entry, in which some jerk stole from a box I put out for the charity pick up) that it’s really quite dull and harmless. If you click on “Profile” you can see the people on my “friends” list, and who has me on theirs. You’ll see a lot of familiar names and you can check out their journals (if they aren’t locked and only accessable to friends.)

Livejournal allows you to create a journal. After creating this journal, you can make it look how you want (to a certain degree) and post anything you like, including pictures. You can control who gets to read and/or comment on any individual entry in your journal. That’s the barebones minimum.

Now, you also presumably have people there you like to read, so you can “friend” them (adding them to your friends list). This means that if you’ve marked any entries so that only your friends can read them, they (and only they) will be able to read those entries (and comment on them). You can also make entries COMPLETELY private, so only you can see them.

Communities are basically journals which anyone can post to (in some cases). A couple of the SDMB communities are run by people like moderators, who post the topic, and then people post replies based on that comment. Those are no different than personal journals. Most communities, however, allow anyone who’s a member to post. In this way, they’re like message boards (because anyone can post a topic, and anyone can comment on it).

So it’s really just a personal web site, then? What’s the difference between Live Journal and a web site you might purchase through, say, Comcast or AOL? I have my “professional” web site, to plug my books and use as an online résumé, but I keep personal stuff out of it.

The only links I’ve been sent have been to SB-populated threads full of people complaining about each other and linking to old train-wrecks.

I’d say the main difference is the people connection.

I have a friends page. On it are people I know whose livejournals I enjoy reading. I click on one handy link, and I can see the most recent postings by all of them, in a style that I choose. They can do the same for me.

Also, I can see THEIR friends lists, to see if perhaps there are some interesting people I’m missing. I’ve met some interesting people from commenting in others’ journals.

Same way with communities. If you implement a messageboard on your personal website, I guess you could have the same sort of thing going, but really, you can find a community for almost anything.

Plus I get “Get Fuzzy” delivered to my friends page daily.

The difference is that they’re all interconnected. It’s sort of the difference between starting a thread in MPSIMS about something and writing it on a piece of cardboard and propping it up in your window facing the street.

Also, think of each separate (there, I CAN spell it) journal as fitting into a category on the SDMB. Mine would fit best into MPSIMS or IMHO. Some people talk a lot about food or movies so theirs would be Cafe Society. Some journals/forums are just all about bitching, so they are BBQ Pit. Just like this board you can choose to ignore what you don’t like.

Let me offer a link to mine, too, then. My LJ. That has only things I’ve posted (except things I’ve “locked”- you can’t see them because I haven’t listed you as a friend (obviously, since you don’t have an LJ).

Now, the page people will generally spend the most time on is their friends page. Here’s mine. Most of the people I know on LJ are people I met through here, so you’ll probably recognize a few of the names. From my friends page, I can read the journals of those I want to keep in touch with. I can also comment on their entries (if they’ve allowed that option), and read/respond to other people’s comments.

If you scroll down a bit in my profile, you can see not only whose journals I read on my friends page (“Friends”), but who reads mine (“Friend of”). As you can see, voguevixen is on both lists, so when she posts an entry, it will show up on my friends page, and when I post an entry, it will show up on her friends page. As you can also see, I do not have the community you referred to on my friends list. Therefore, if I were to read posts in there, I would actively have to go to that community and read from there. As it stands now, I will never see that community* unless I specifically go there. And if you want to be really sneaky, you can tweak it so that it appears that you have someone listed as a friend, but they don’t show up on your friends page. I am a “member” of that community (at least I think I am), but all that means is that I have the ability to start a thread in that community. That handy for communities that you might have an interest in, but don;t want to read daily. I added a No Doubt community to my friends page a while ago, but since every post was about Gwen Stefani’s new fashion line, I opted to remove it. However, I remained a member, so I could (A) post to it if I wanted, and (2) find it easily when I want to.

LJ’s good that way- you have a lot of precise control over who can read your journal, though if you comment in other people’s journals, your comments are open to anyone who can read that person’s journal. There are tons of customization options on LJ, depending on how much time you want to spend learning them.

It doesn’t cost a dime to join, so you might as well join up and test the waters. It’s not for everyone, but I think the best way to find out is to just jump in. You’ll recognize old Dopers, maybe meet other authors, or people in your area. A lot of Dopefest planning happens on LJ, especially the smaller fests.

On a site-wide scale, the signal-to-noise ration is much lower than the SDMB, but the sheer numbers of people with LJs guarantee that there’s probably a few hundred people you’ll find interesting enough to catch up with daily. It’s just a matter of finding them.

*-I believe that the SDMB staff here doesn’t want the names of the SDMB related LJ communities mentioned on this board, for understandable reasons.

“That community” is referring to the community you referenced in your OP.

Eve, there’s a good group of people in LiveJournal, including a number of the New York folk with whom you are friendly. I would be delighted to see you join our community.

As others in this thread have explained, you can choose which journals you wish to read. You can also choose who gets to read your journal. You may wish to make some or all of your entries “public”, so that anyone at all can read them. Many peoples’ journal are partially or mostly “friends only”, so that only people they have selected have access to their posts.

As you have seen, there is a good deal of snark and back-biting over there, and it’s not just in the communities. However, no one is forced to participate in that.

I very much enjoy my live journal. I think of it more as a real personal diary of sorts where you can write what’s going on in your life and go back and read it anytime you like. I’ve only joined a few communities that interest me and have made a few friends here and there. Plus it’s free so I have no complaints.