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.