I’ve observed in the past that LiveJournal has been disrupted more by Twitter than any traditional “blogging” platform—like it or hate it, Twitter’s perfect not only for status updates (its original use case) but for just about any quick “hey, I’d like to share this with friends and followers” impulse. Tumblr is something of an extra sucker punch: while there are things that LJ does that Tumblr doesn’t, nearly everything they both do—from following your friends’ posts to providing a safe haven for teen-to-twentysomethings to get righteously angry about the state of the world—Tumblr does objectively better.
But one of the things that LJ does better than nearly anything else is right in the name: journaling. A typical LiveJournal post was obviously much longer than anything on Twitter, but it also tended to be more personal than what we usually see on Tumblr. (Which isn’t to say that there aren’t a lot of Tumblrs with surprisingly personal stuff on them, but the platform has a very different character that tends to be far more anonymous than LJ. This is both good and bad, which I’ll circle back to.) The only thing that’s ever matched that is, well, blogging: WordPress, Blogger, or something wacky like Octopress, which is what I’m using here.
And, frankly, Twitter has been disappointing me more and more as a company. I know a bunch of LJ users all got up and left because they didn’t like the direction they thought LJ was going, but folks, compared to Twitter LJ is owned and managed by the best people on the planet. I’m one of the ones who “moved” to Dreamwidth, but I’ve gotta admit that not only has nothing bad happened to or with LJ in years, the changes they’ve made make it feel a lot more modern than DW.
Lately I’ve been missing journaling in a way I haven’t for years. I’m not sure why, but I’ve noticed I’ve been tweeting less, checking Twitter a little less obssessively, and being quite inattentive to Tumblr. My tech blog, Coyote Tracks, is hosted at Tumblr and has a somewhat staggering following, at least by my standards—but my burnout with web development has left me less interested in keeping up with tech trivia and more interested in writing.
That’s why I turned my LiveJournal into an echo of an ostensibly writing-focused blog, “Coyote Prints.” All well and good, except for two things. First, there’s not that much to say about writing for me.
Second, what do I do with the posts that aren’t about writing, aren’t about tech, and are too long and/or introspective for Twitter?
For years the answer has been “nothing,” but I’m not sure that’s really the right answer. I feel like I should, at least occasionally, actually be… journaling.
What’s interesting—and also embarrassing—is how much I realize I’m missing on LiveJournal. I don’t think to check my Friends page more than once in a blue moon, and a lot of stuff happens that I’m not paying attention to. Friends I (clearly) don’t stay in good touch with moving across the country, that sort of thing. I’ll try to be better about that, but it’s not easy to get back into that habit once it’s broken.
I’m not sure whether to post journal-ish things solely to LiveJournal or to keep doing the slightly pain-in-the-butt “manual echo” between Coyote Prints and LJ; I’ll probably stick with the latter for now, although LJ’s wonderful ability to do “friend-locked” posts largely only exists on LJ.