On LiveJournal and subcultures

LiveJournal is not a single community – it is a collection of communities. It is not all subcultural, all youth, all anything. Yet, for subcultural populations, LJ plays a very special role. It is for these communities – those who have found a safety net in LJ – that i decided to step back and write a piece for Salon – Turmoil in Blogland. I am not arguing nor do i believe that Six Apart is bad, misguided or clueless. I am fully aware that this sale is quite valuable for many different groups involved. And i’m very well aware that Six Apart (or at least Mena Trott) gets the value of personal communicative blogging. Yet, LJ culture is unique and often chaotic and scary. To nourish this will take a commitment and responsibility that i’m truly hoping Six Apart will embrace. For the subcultural populations on LJ, this decision will be key and it’s important that Six Apart works to learn from these communities before altering the social fabric in any way. For example, for many of us, there’s nothing comforting about pro-Ana communities, yet they’re very present on LJ. Understanding why these communities flourish on LJ says a lot about both the tool and the culture we live in. Efforts to destroy them will be devastating to the individuals and communities involved, even though the behavior seems so self-destructive. The trick is not to be patronizing, but to understand.

So, enjoy the piece. And thank you so much for the ongoing commentary – i’ve learned a lot from the different perspectives people have offered.

PS: to clarify on broader commentary – i identify as a blogger and i blog on four public sites, one private one, and various class ones. I also keep a private LiveJournal although i used to keep a public one. That said, most of the perspective that i’m offering comes from my interviews with bloggers and LJers, not my own personal experiences.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

12 thoughts on “On LiveJournal and subcultures

  1. Frances

    I liked the article.

    I had some problems with your initial posts, but through this article I understand your concerns better.
    It was mostly because of the fact that I use LJ on a completely different basis than the one you describe that I thought you were a bit harsh.

    You can find a longer string of thoughts about how and why I use LJ in my latest post.

  2. Spook

    Pretty good article but I couldnt fill everything I wanted to say here. So I put it up on my site. Please read and let me know what you think about it.

  3. joe

    I still would like to see what solid business motives SixApart has for this move… is it just “business strength” as Ms. Trott says? If they don’t intend to change LJ, how do they plan on making money off of it?

  4. Day

    Interesting thoughts about LJers and blogging. New to this “social tool” I am amazed that someone is studying people and how they “label” the things we write and people are boxed-up into certain cultures that some people think they belong to–a bit scary.

  5. Kelvin

    I liked the article a lot. Although I felt that some people were being somewhat unfair to Brad for assuming he can be their online Atlas and hold up their entire world, your Salon piece was dignified and actually made a point.

    My response to those naysayers (on my own blog) might see a bit hard on your piece, but I didn’t really mean it that way.

    And I’m sure you can’t think that 6A is evil if you use their product. 😉

Comments are closed.