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Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity
Just because there is a beaten path, that doesn't mean you have to take it...
Social Networking 
17th-Feb-2011 08:06 pm
I've just about had it with Facebook.

Facebook is full of-single sentence fluff, and the site feels like it is actively working against any sort of deeper connection or sharing than single syllable grunts of "Like!".

LiveJournal used to be a great place to connect and share online. But lately LiveJournal is a ghost town that is desperately trying to become just another Facebook wannabe. The latest update from LiveJournal encourages me to "Check out Farm of Happiness and grow magical trees, tend your quirky pets, plant exotic flowers, and use your charm to deter thieves."

No. Please, no. Take your Farm-anything away and never ever ever come back. *ugh*

Where oh where is the an internet communications platform that fills the communications / community niche that LiveJournal used to fill???

Things I hate about Facebook #1: There is no way to keep your replies to other people's posts from showing up on your wall. When I reply to people, I do not want to make that conversation part of my public front-page. But in Facebooks's universe of non-privacy, there is not even an option to opt out of broadcasting every comment you make to the world.

Things I hate about Facebook #2:There is no way to edit your posts, even if all you want to do is fix a typo. I mean, wtf!?! Why on earth does FaceBook keep me from editing my own posts on my own wall!?!? It is ridiculous that I am forced to choose between deleting a post, or leaving an mxided up sentence posted for all eternity.

Things I hate about Facebook #3: Speaking of all eternity, how on earth am I supposed to link back to interesting old posts? Facebook treats all content as disposable, not worth saving or linking to. If it is so disposable, why should I waste my time looking at it? I want to be able to easily browse back into my own past, and into the past of my friends. If there is something interesting from a week, a month, or a year back - I should be able to comment on it and link to it.

Things I hate about Facebook #4: Single threaded reply streams make it way too easy to hijack a conversation, and way too hard to chime in 'late' on a thread that is interesting. Facebook - is threaded replies too much to ask for!?!?!?

Things I hate about Facebook #5: Facebook limits status updates to 420 characters, but it doesn't give you a count of how much you have written until after you try to post it. Only then does it tell you that you have gone over. *grrrr* It is MY wall, I should be able to post whatever the hell I want on it.

I could probably go on and on.

But LiveJournal really isn't much better. Particularly since the traffic here has dropped so much over the past few years.

Thinking about the people whom I most want to /really/ keep in deeper touch with, it dawns on me that perhaps the best technique may just be the oldest - actually writing to them directly. One-on-one direct emails sharing what is up with me, and asking what is really up with them.

I might just have to try that. There are a lot of people that I miss, and Facebook is a poor substitute for real communications....

18th-Feb-2011 01:17 am (UTC)
We could all migrate to wordpress together... but wordpress does not have as strong a social element.

I can ignore the games on lj, but the two things that really bug me are:
- they're losing the war on spammers
- I can't pay them to stop showing ads to visitors to my blog

18th-Feb-2011 01:24 am (UTC)
I'm really sad about the LJ ghost town thing too. It is by far my preferred blog/microblog/share point, however, almost none of my non-local friends use it. Not that I don't enjoy reading about my local friends, but in most cases I'd be likely to learn a lot of what I read through in person communication.

On the other hand I recognize that I have become more private, more balanced (less to complain about or even just really struggle with or ask advice about), less interested in reading lj communities, less prone to friending random people.

For me facebook has not replaced LJ for me, I hardly ever even check it. It's more like a contact book with some content if I wanted to check up on someone.

I use twitter, daily. There is some art to expressing oneself clearly with brevity, but mostly it's just fluff too. In fact, I'm less and less interested in it as more people retweet things that I'm not interested in.

And to bring it back to LJ, I would have to credit LJ with a substantial amount of who I am today and almost all of who I interact with today on a social level either directly or indirectly. Yet, most of that is just the fruits of LJ years ago, and not LJ present.
18th-Feb-2011 03:26 am (UTC)
I've signed up for a Diaspora invite, because "why not?" (Haven't gotten it yet, but I'm hopeful.) If they get the project really going, it'll be better than Facebook.

It's hard to find out much about the Diaspora project, but there is a Wikipedia article on it:

There are a lot of companies gunning for Facebook, but I think that Diaspora has a better chance than most, given their open source commitment and modular approach. As a developer, if you were to get interested in the project you could get in on it early for sure.

I still won't join Facebook, no matter how ubiquitous it has become. And I still participate in LJ, even though friends are disappearing daily, because I still want to keep up with the few who are here. And I do occasionally use LJ to write notes to myself. But I am looking for a new solution to come along; I'm confident that it will, eventually.

Good luck to you in finding the best solution for your needs!
18th-Feb-2011 07:41 am (UTC)
Perhaps I'm just in denial, but even with half or a third of the comment-response per post I used to get 3-4 years ago, I'm still finding LJ discussions and depth preferable to Facebook.

Longer discussions and thoughts and descriptions tend to go here. I'll sometimes post a link on FB to an LJ public post, if I want my mom to see it... ;-)

I don't post original material on FB, but I will echo tweets there. Tweets tend to be "I'm going to Sunnyvale now to hunt ostriches" kinds of status updates, nothing significant. This had had the effect that I make fewer daily "yesterday I hunted ostriches" posts on LJ, but still weekly "Why I like hunting ostriches, after the last several chases" posts.

Edited at 2011-02-18 07:46 am (UTC)
18th-Feb-2011 07:49 am (UTC)
You hit the nail on the head with those.

It is sad that so many people have left LJ and real communication in general.
18th-Feb-2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Facebook really doesn't do it for me. I consider my Facebook profile public (since I've friended so many people), but protected LJ is where my private stuff goes. Plus, LiveJournal has an API so you can (self-promotion alert!) back up your posts and comments to them and not worry about it going away.
21st-Feb-2011 02:34 am (UTC)
Remember, Chris, if you are not paying a bill for the service, you are not the customer, you are the product.

FB, Twitter, Blogger, LJ, and any other "free" service will do only as much as it takes to gain a larger "product" base to sell to their actual customers, the ones paying the bills. Such is the nature of mass media -- commercial television, for example, is no different.

Sadly (or not, depending on your point of view) few if any people are willing to pay a monthly fee to have social media available to them. And thus you will not see a user-driven environment, whether that be the UI, privacy settings, or whatever, but rather a customer-driven environment, where you, the product, can be monetized to your maximum potential.


21st-Feb-2011 11:19 am (UTC)
Actually.. we pay for LJ :)
21st-Feb-2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
I know all these customer / product dynamics very well.

But LiveJournal has a history of being customer / user focused, and a lot of us have and still pay for service.

But LiveJournal has been sold (and sold out) so many times that little of the original intention remains. And nothing worthwhile has emerged to take its place either...
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