Plays Well With Others

Detesting LiveJournal …

Have I mentioned lately how I hate LiveJournal? Well, I do. I know, I know … why use the thing, if you hate it. Because of the simple fact that if I don’t then I run the chance of losing my three readers.

I actually don’t mind the way LiveJournal works — the communities, the friends lists, the groups, etc. What I really hate is that they all look the same. There’s no way to really make a unique layout without having a degree in nuclear science, so most people just use one of the handful of templates available and we end up with cookie cutter weblogs. It’s like the McDonalds of weblogging. They all look the same. Of course, it works for McDonalds because familiarity is what people want when they are in a foreign country, looking for something that reminds them of home. A Big Mac in France is pretty similar to one in the United States. For food, it’s a good thing, but for a journal … it’s not.

For me, the LiveJournal system takes away all the personality of the writer, leaving behind a templated website full of words. You don’t even have to visit the person’s LiveJournal site. You can just make them a “friend” and their words are imported into your layout. Ugh.

What I always found fun about journaling is that you can click a link and go directly to a person’s website and not only read their thoughts and emotions on the topic of the day, but also find a bunch of other stuff on their site to amuse yourself — links, photos, other writings, archives. Most of all, you could see their style portrayed through their site layout. Maybe they took the minimalist approach or the creative approach. Either way they chose the colors and the style and made it a unique place to visit. LiveJournal strips all of that out and leaves just the story of the day — a blogging factory.

Even though half the sites I visit have a LiveJournal connection — mine included — I still prefer to visit their “real” site to read their thoughts. I get an entirely different feeling when I read an entry within the context of the person’s website, as opposed to the feeling I get when reading it from my “friends” list. It’s just not the same. Going to their site is like getting invited over for a cup of coffee and sitting down in their chair to talk about their day — it’s comfortable and cozy. Reading it from the “friends” list feels more like I’m reading a newspaper on the bus to work. I could be anywhere and half the time, I’m just skimming the entries over to find something that catches my eye. And that’s another problem … when I go to the “friends” list to read entries, I don’t really read the entire entries anymore. I skim them, looking for the one that seems the most interesting. I have so many to choose from written by so many people that it’s almost like a contest to see which one can catch my attention first. However, visiting their website invests me enough to actually read their entry. I’ve gone all that way, I might as well stay for a bit and take some time there.

Ugh. But I guess it’s just easier for people to use that system and crank out entries as easily as possible rather than taking the time to actually put some thought into their presentation. It’s really too bad. I do have to admit though that some of the best journalers I read still keep a website separate of their LiveJournal feed, if one exists, and I still enjoy visiting an actual site WAY more than getting the feed imported into my “friends” list. There really is something to be said about investing some time into making a great impression … rather than just taking the easy way out.

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