LiveJournal is a smaller, weirder predecessor to Facebook. Unlike Facebook, it allows you to develop subcategories of trusted friendlists, which is seen as hugely beneficial by the type of people who actually use it.
Just The Facts
- LiveJournal lies somewhere in the weird realm between blogging sites and Facebook-style personal update pages.
- Along the way, it has developed its own style and particular breed of user.
- For research that required extraordinary valor in the face of a breath-takingly ridiculous atmosphere, Sephira wins this week's <a target="c" href="http://www.cracked.com/funny-stuff/create/">Topics Page Contest</a>.
LiveJournal is 95 percent female. Like an acting club or cheerleading squad, the minority of males who use it are either gay or there for the chicks. The all-female atmosphere means that 95 percent of LJ comments consist of people hugging each other, and the other 5 percent consist of people apologizing for judging someone’s Harry Potter rape fanart.
Person A: This is pretty intense.
Person B: You’ve offended me.
Person A: I didn’t mean to. I merely meant that your portrayal of rape is quite subversive to the dominant patriarchal worldview.
Person B: My feelings are still hurt.
Person A: I’m so sorry. Hugs.
Person B: Hugs.
LiveJournal also offers a selection of icons under which users can post or leave comments. This theoretically makes conversations held in the comments section easier and more natural because the icons can express a range of emotions. In reality, LiveJournal conversations are simply held with twelve slightly different versions of Zac Efron's face.
LiveJournal users can also opt to join 'communities' of people with similar interests. Like journals, these communities also have privacy options, making them the internet equivalent of the Popular Table in a high school cafeteria. 65 percent of these communities are devoted to making animated gifs of Twilight characters. The rest are locked and thus off limits to us, but we guess that they have something to do with making animated gifs of Twilight characters.
Another interesting feature is writer's block, which asks LJ users a new question every day and then collates their various answers. Recent questions by LiveJournal's new owners such as 'America's missile codes: your thoughts?" and 'How much grain, on average, does your family store for the winter?' have caused some users to express concern.
LiveJournal has been criticized for allowing the maintenance of pro-anorexia or 'pro-ana' sites and communities, in which users trade starvation tips. LiveJournal's management responded to complaints by arguing that, given the average weight of Internet users, such sites are needed to ‘balance things out’.
In 2007, LiveJournal administrators deleted without warning a small amount of LJ sites and communities which they thought contained underage pornography, including a large community of Harry Potter fanfiction writers. LJ users got all angry about this and started talking about the First Amendment, which was of course added to the Constitution to prevent private companies limiting the rights of people using their free software to post pictures of 13-year-old boys.
Much of LJ's software was reused in developing Facebook, and in recent years all the normal people have flocked there, leaving a hardcore group of weirdos who are still offended by the Russians censoring their porn.
LiveJournal's future looks uncertain. It is probably being taken over by Russians, who are presumably now rich enough to complain about how their parents don't notice when they cut themselves.