Why stay with LJ?
An anonymous comment in the post below asks "Why stick with LJ at all, why not move to one of the other blogging networks?"
I read today on the socialsoftware blog that Blog software provider Six Apart gets even more money, in part to move forward with plans to offer private blogs. Cofounder Mena Trott believes that blogging is unlikely to ever go mainstream until it was easy for people to limit access to their content online.
Marshall Kirkpatrick, writing for the blog, said "Maybe I don't have enough LiveJournal experience, but I question how widespread the practice of regular posting is going to be on personal sites that aren't publicly visible."
I posted a comment, saying:
LiveJournal allows users to set up a number of filters on their posts, so they can make public posts, and non-public posts which only a certain set of friends on the site can see. For many users it's their most valuable feature, because you can combine blogging about current events or your chosen topic with public posts, and allow your friends to read more personal thoughts on the same page. For people writing about personal experiences like mental illness or abuse, it's a great tool. LiveJournal thrives on the sense of community it builds up, rather than any serious blogging content.
Unfortunately the sense of community, and privacy on some posts, is spoiled by them having an abuse team made up of volunteers who can read users' private posts, and who are known for suspending journals for breaking rules not mentioned anywhere in the Terms of Service.
People, even those who are highly unsatisfied with the way LJ handles complaints (or ignores them), stay on LiveJournal because that's where their friends are. Because they have joined communities where they've built up a rapport with people. And because they can control who reads what (to a degree, based on trusting their friends list and LJ itself), and post to communities which are locked against outsiders browsing.
Unlike blogs which are primarily about reporting and commenting on links and news stories, or trying to sell something, LiveJournals are usually personal. Some people post everything publically, some people keep everything locked only to their friends, some do a mix or have many different filters. People want to feel safe to talk about the issues they don't want to share with the world - problems at home, abuse, trauma, depression, how much they hate their boss, how they're afraid their father is an alcoholic. With its network of communities for every possible interest, including support communities, LiveJournal actively builds up this community and people's connection to it.
If you're tech savvy enough you can set up your own personal blog and set passwords for your friends, but when people are used to reading their friends entries together on one page (with LJ's friends page), you can't be sure that everyone will remember, or bother, to see how you're doing. On LJ you know someone's going to read your post within a few hours of you posting it, depending how many people are on your friends list.
So people stay with their LiveJournals even when they're mad as hell about how they or some of their friends have been treated. Nevertheless, some are starting to make more noise -- as you see here.
Tags: livejournal, blogging, journals, six apart