Were any of you on LiveJournal? LJ was social media before social media, back in the pre-Zuckerberg days of Friendster and MySpace (remember those?) People would friend one another and write journal entries about anything and everything. Once posted, friends (or the public, if you wanted) could read and comment on your entries. You could also join communities to discuss specific topics with other like-minded users.
I loved LiveJournal. Your posts could be as long or short as you liked. I posted everything from random updates, to recipes, photos of my cats and garden, and memes and quizzes (so many). Posts showed up in your feed in chronological order as they were uploaded, not in the order chosen by some obscure algorithm based on post engagement and black magic (and you couldn’t pay to boost your posts, either). If there were ads, they were unobtrusive enough that I don’t remember them.
Unfortunately, a brand new type of social media came along and I, along with most other people, jumped on board. Twitter and Facebook were fun. There were games, there were multiple kinds of engagement (Likes! Retweets! Poking!), and they were easier. Who had time to read and write page-long entries when you could enjoy 140-character witticisms? I never thought about algorithms or information gathering or any of the potential negative consequences of these platforms that are now a depressing reality. By the time I realized that LiveJournal was better, everyone had left it. The site is still there but, from what I can tell, it’s much less active, and has also made some changes to be more like the other guys. Going back is pointless.
I spent the last few days copying and pasting my old LiveJournal entries into a Word document (because of course there was no easy way to download them), and then I deleted my account. I really should have done it years ago, but it still was a sad moment. Much as I wish it wasn’t the case, it’s the end of an era: an official conclusion to when the internet was still a tool and not a monster.
I started on LiveJournal in 2003 and was active until 2007. I tried again in 2010/2011, but it was too late by then. My entries amounted to 160,321 words, which is equivalent to two decent novels (and why I went to the trouble of saving it all).
For fun, I thought I’d also share a meme from one of my early entries. Feel free to revive it, either on your own blog or in the comments below. For the record, I have since added Douglas Coupland to my shelves 🙂
September 30th, 2003
07:35 am: Fun with authors…
Instructions: Take one list of authors, remove those whose efforts do not grace your shelves and bring the list up to ten by adding some more that do. Bold indicates newly-added authors.
Cherie Priest Douglas Coupland The Dalai Lama
Charles De Lint
Current Music: The Chieftains, Celtic Wedding
(It was also nice to be able to add your Current Music and Current Mood. You could customize the mood icons too: I opted for goth girl. The one for feeling sick was a gif where she alternated between her usual look and having blonde hair and bright clothes.)
What sites do you miss from back in the day? Share in the comments…
Do yourself a favour and spend some time with a book instead of social media: download one of mine now…
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Aspasía S. Bissas