LiveJournal is evil.
Well, not evil. Just stupid. By having “friends” lists, and making those lists public, it becomes a high-school popularity game. I have studiously avoided becoming enmeshed in the politics, and been outspoken about my position that my “friends” list is an aggregation list, nothing more. It contains the journals I am interested in reading periodically. It says nothing one way or another about my feelings towards the persons behind those journals. Likewise, no one need ask me permission before friending me – my journal is, after all, on the open internet; it’s not like I could stop them from reading me if I wanted to. The usage of the term “friend” for this function was an enourmous mistake on the part of the LJ management.
So I normally pay no attention who is my “friend” and who isn’t, except to check the list from time to time to see if any interesting strangers have added me. But today, through sheer coincidence, I noticed that someone I consider a friend in real life no longer lists me as an LJ “friend”. I don’t recall them announcing a friend-list weeding. And avivahg is still on their list.
I realized that I feel a little hurt because of this. And I’m not happy with myself for feeling that way. There’s nothing wrong with someone not having the time or interest to read my journal. Lord knows I only have time to skim most of the entries on my “friends” page. But now I’m worrying that I said something to offend them, and rather than raise a stink they just queitly de-friended me…
I’m being irrational, I know, and I’m pissed off at LJ for facilitating this situation. This has spurred me to accelerate my movement away from LJ and back to the land of real blogging, where “people I read” and “people I care about” don’t get confused.
It’s also made me realize that I really do care about whether people read my journal. I know for many LJ is just another mask, or a surface-level social log, or a place to spew. I started this journal a year and a half ago as an exercise in transparency, a way to explore, invent and express myself, a way to be known. Through the written word I feel like I can actually come close to communicating who I am and what I’m about, more so than I ever could in face-to-face conversation. Which is why one of the kindest things you can do for me is to go back and read, read from the very beginning. I know a journal is by nature a transient thing; but for me this has been a slow unfolding of myself. In a way I feel like I am feeling my way towards a complete work, the book of me. There are a lot of distractions in these pages, a lot of passing trivialities. But interspersed between them, and sometimes in the trivialities themselves, is a halting, inadequate attempt to finally be understood. Some think it’s a little obsessive to read someone else’s journal archives. To me, it’s one of the most meaningful acts of friendship you can do without leaving your chair.
The other day I realized that my LJ is over 5 years old. I’ve had to deal with the same high-school drama. The way I avoid it is to add anyone who seems generally sane or who I’ve met in real life. I then have a friends list named “viewable” and those are the ones I actually read.
If anyone asks me about their journal, I just say “Man, I have been so busy! I haven’t had any chance to seriously check my friends list in ages. Half the time, that’s not a lie.
In case you weren’t aware of the featurem on the ‘journal’ option of the LJ titlebar then click on the ellipsis after ‘friends.’ You can then narrow your viewing down to any union of the sets of members of one of your security list.
Hope that helps. It has //definitely// helped me tone down the drama.
Oh, and in response to hwat a livejournal should be used for, I have long had a categorization of what I think an LJ should be used for. Sometimes, it will be used for true blog-style entries. At other times it is used to keep your real life friends up to date on your life. Beyond that, I don’t really want to read a journal unless the entries are about personal growth and change. I don’t want to see a person whine for no effect. I don’t want to read a catalog of the mundane things in your life. Don’t tell me about your morning toast unless it changed your life in some significant manner.
That being said, you should know that you’re not only one the list I normally read, but also the very tiny list of people I’ll read when I’m pressed for time.
I’m honored, sir.
I do use the filter functionality; although I only use it for filtering certain posts from mass consumption, and for viewing a worksafe subset of my total friends list while at work. Beyond that when I’m pressed for time I do my culling the old-fashioned way: I skim and only read the posts that a) are from close friends or b) catch my interest.
The bigger problem is that I really don’t want to be able to find out who has me “friended” and who doesn’t, because it fuels irrational speculation on my part…
I love reading your stuff, the only problem is that it generally inspires/requires me to take the time to think and respond…
and so infrequently do i feel like I have the luxury time to do so…
I thought this icon appropriate for this post!
I have intentionally remained neutral.
I like you both very much as individuals, based on what I have read in your journals. You were both kind enough in the past to personally write me and give me advice because you cared. That means something to me.
I was not in your relationship, and don’t know all the details, (hell, the details are none of my business) and I don’t need to know.
As long as you will let me, I would be pleased with having you listed as my friend in this journal. I may not comment as often as I should, but I read your entries a lot, and always find them interesting, sometimes funny, and often times compelling.
What you said…
yeah LJ is a very strange medium. Although in some ways it can be a rather nice new way for expression and you can get creative with it as well.. It still leaves open the door for some painful experiences and realities. Sometimes someone that you think cares, just doesn’t and when they remove you, it becomes rather apparant. You have to learn to brush that off an pay attention to the people that do.
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