By Shamus Posted Tuesday Feb 6, 2007

Filed under: Nerd Culture 42 comments

Some notes about LiveJournal:

A majority of my (visible) readership hails from LJ. Most of my incoming links are from LJ pages. A lot of my comments are from LJ users. (Have I said thanks? Lately? No? Hey: Thanks.)

I’m sure I have over 100 LJ links. Contrast this with MySpace (2 incoming links) or (none, that I’ve noticed) or Blogspot (one, that I’ve noticed). One of my favorite things to do is go to sites who’ve linked me and see what they are all about. I’ve found some crazy stuff that way, some interesting stuff, and some sites that I return to on a regular basis.

Now I wonder: Why is this site so popular among LJ users, and not so in the other blogging communities? (I’m talking about the community sites like LJ, MySpace, BSpot, etc. I’m not talking about just random domains or forums.) It’s entirely possible that this is just due to it not attracting attention in these other areas, but I can’t imagine these groups are that isolated from each other. If Blogspot users were interested in the site, it seems it might have made the rounds by now. So, what I strongly suspect is that these communities have very different sorts of people. Perhaps they like different things, or perhaps they behave differently when it comes to linking & sharing.

This bugs me, because I feel like there is some underlying complexity or pattern that I’m missing. The traffic is too unbalanced to be random – there is a reason why links from LJ users outnumber all other types of links combined.

Having said this, I must say I can never get the hang of LJ. To avoid implicating anyone, here is a fictitious yet realistic example of one of my many, many trips into LJ:

I’ll see a comment from someone named “HPFan“. They will say something nice about my work, and so I’ll want to visit their site and find out a bit about them. If nothing else, it would be nice to know their gender so I know if I should use “he” or “she” in my reply. Their name links to their website, which is I visit the site, and see the site is named Shiva’s Lair. Their user portrait is a .gif animation of Hello Kitty saying “Die. Mortals.” Under this picture It will say User: amazing-rando, and under that it says, Name: Poetic Crank. As a bonus, they may offer an email link like: As someone who has always blogged and emailed and comented and posted under his own, real name, I am confused by this. To me, it’s like this person has six names.

If I made a LJ site, it would be, my site name would be something like “Shamus’ Place”, and would say User: Shamus. Name: Shamus. Email: [email protected]. And the user picture would be a picture of me. However, I’ve never seen a single LJ user do this. I think I’d be breaking some sort of taboo.

I’ll surf around Shiva’s Lair and try to find out a bit about this person who was good enough to visit my site and pay me a compliment. The site itself will instantly make me feel out of touch, because it will be centered around some aspect of online culture which I have never heard of, and that is apparently very established, complex, popular, and quite beyond my understanding. Like, maybe the site is frequented by a group of people who spend their time translating the entire series of Harry Potter books into iambic pentameter Shakespearian prose. They will have their own acronyms and terms for things, so much so that I’ll understand less than half of what they have to say.

I’ll suddenly feel like a small town priest visiting the big city, who unwittingly blunders into a dimly lit fetish club for BDSM enthusiasts, some of whom like to dress up like nuns and priests. I may escape with my virtue and sanity intact, but I’ll be left with the frightening realization that the world is so much bigger than I imagined.

LATER: A further note is that I find sites which link me by looking at Technorati. It’s possible that I’m getting BSpot / Blogger / MySpace links that Technorati isn’t finding, or that LJ is just more Technorati friendly.


From The Archives:

42 thoughts on “LiveJournal

  1. JFargo says:

    (For the record, Jeremiah is my real name. *s*)

    I can help solve part of the mystery for you, from personal experience. Livejournal is a blogging community – the only way people can communicate with each other on there involves writing their own blog and reading each other’s posts. There’s comments, sure, but always in the form of a reply to a post.

    MySpace? From what I’ve seen, it’s really not as much of a writing community as it is a social experiment. It’s not about the writing, you can comment on a friend’s page whenever you feel like it right there in the front just to say “hey” or to call them an ass for ditching you last night with no sense of connection to anything else on the page. It’s friends leaving each other post-it notes on the refrigerator.

    So, Livejournal is more about the comments on writing where MySpace is friend-to-friend, really.

    As for the names on Livejournal? Yeah, that can be really annoying. Once you read someone enough (assuming you pick semi-intelligent people to read) you’ll usually pick up on, at the very least, their sex. Sometimes? Sometimes you get lucky and even get a real name. Amazing, I know.

  2. Fub says:

    LiveJournal also acts as an RSS aggregator. Someone made a ‘feed’-account out of your RSS feed — it’s like a virtual account that only posts the contents of your RSS feed. Some people (me included) have this account as a ‘friend’, which means that whenever there’s a new article up on your site, it shows up on our friends-page.
    It’s so much more convenient to keep track of various blogs this way, and I do almost exclusively all my reading through my friends page. This convenience may explain some of the high numbers of LJ users who comment.
    The culture of LJ, where comments are generally welcomed, may also have to do something with this.

    As for who the people are who comment… That is sometimes indeed quite hard to find out. There should be a link to their profile, which may (or may not) tell you something about the poster.
    Note that it is possible that you can only see a fraction of the posts someone wrote — if you’re not one of their friends, they may have posted some entries that are invisible for you.
    Also, some people have multiple journals — one for each of their fandoms/nerdy activities/whatever. If you stumble upon one of those, then it is really hard to know who this is.

    (As for me, my default icon is indeed a portrait of me [in super-deformed style], and I do have some icons that are photos of me. If you look at the profile information and click on the default user icon, you get a list of all icons the user has defined.)

  3. Don Alsafi says:

    Just thought I’d poke my head in first to say hi, and second to offer myself up as an exception to most of the experiences you cite. I’ve always blogged under my own name, my LJ reflects my varied and fairly normal interests, etc.

    It’s just what ya make of it, I guess! :)

  4. Cymru Llewes says:

    There are quite a few folks on LiveJournal who use their legal names. Most of us use nom de net that we’ve used for the past 10 years or a Nickname that we’ve had even longer than that. It’s mainly the young’uns who pick up the out there usernames. Plus, username space is limited. (Who really wants to be Phil463.)

  5. Hal says:

    Man, you dedicated an entire post to me and forgot about it already? I’m not feeling the love.

  6. Esther says:

    Well, I can only speak for myself. I have a LJ I’ve used for many years for fannish pursuits, and a more recent blog that contains everything else. (I tend to use the latter for interactions outside of LJ.) Even for people without a second blog, though, keep in mind that LJ is often primarily a place to express fannish pursuits (which, yes, do often have a frightening set of acronyms and conventions). The writers may be a very different person in other contexts.

    As for “why LJ and not other sites,” LJ’s convenient friendslist (RSS aggregator) does play some role. You may know this, but you can check the number of people who have you on their friendslist here. Beyond that, though, it’s been my experience that LJ has a higher proportion of geeks and nerds than most of the other sites you named, through some sort of accidental magic. I know that, many years ago when I wasn’t active in fandom, I picked LJ for fairly nerdy reasons: its open source development, its independence, its customization potential, its lack of commercial ads. In all those areas, it still beats MySpace. It also offers a sense of insular online community that’s often absent from those sites, which I think is attractive for people who do tend to do a lot of their social interaction online (again, geeks).

    P.S. I’m often terrible about commenting, but I love your comic. Makes me laugh out loud on a consistent basis!

  7. GreyDuck says:

    “Man, that Rando stuff just slays me.”

    Yes, that’s pretty much what I took away from this entry. I’m a horrible human being.

  8. Kevin says:

    I think like Fub mentioned earlier, a lot of the LJ popularity comes from the RSS feeds through the friends page. It is an easy way to view a lot of your interests with only having to go to one place.

    As for the name issues, I believe there to be several reasons for this:
    – For the cold view; the internet allows anonymity, meaning if people don’t have to leave their real name and contact information they are free to be as rude/cruel/selfish/mean as they like without fear of real reprisal. This can be very empowering for some who would otherwise not be so bold.
    – For others the sheer popularity of LJ may exclude them from ever getting anything close to their actual name. With over 12 million accounts, common names are bound to be taken.
    – I think what drives some of the names is actually a little bit of both of the above points, coupled with the fact that there may be something that makes them uncomfortable in their own skin. They choose to reinvent themselves in their blog, to try and portray themselves according to how they want to be to some degree.
    – Or they may just like the name.

  9. Yeah, livejournal does tend to be pretty cliquey. There are a lot of communities on there (public journals that anyone can post to, basically), which is usually where people interconnect – and I think that impacts on how people write their actual journals as well; they end up building them around a particular theme, just like a community would be.

    And of course it’s on the internet, so loads of these cliques and interests are ridiculously obscure, yet somehow hundreds of people know all about them – that’s helped out by LJ’s ‘search for other people who share your interests’ thingy, I guess.

    The username thing is probably just exacerbated by the character limit (my LJ username at least is a contraction of what has been my pseudonym all over the ‘net for years now), as well as the number of LJ users (most people don’t want numbers in their URL, as has been said)

    While I don’t think not having a picture of yourself to identify yourself is particular unusual on the internet (most forum users have a picture of something else as their icon, after all), it’s a bit more confusing on LiveJournal because each user has multiple icons – usually a default one (the one you see when you look at their page), and several others they can choose from when commenting or posting; so they may not identify with any one icon in particular (not as much as a forum user would identify with his one icon, at least)

    In summary – yes, it is a bit confusing.

    As for why you get more visitors – it’s probably because of the community-based way LiveJourna works; it’s built around people talking to each other and ‘friending’ each others journals (building little cliques), so when one person finds your site and thinks it’s worth mention on his LJ – that really means all of his friends have found your site (with a possible knock-on effect)

    If a high-membership D&D community, or a popular LJ-er has recommended you, that can be responsible for a few thousand visitors.

    And, because LiveJournal is built around commenting, you’ll probably know about it, because they’ll (we’ll) perhaps be more likely to say something than the average drive-by reader.

  10. Brad says:

    I am a Livejournal and Blogger (Blogspot) user – I found out about your site via LJ, and I only just now realized I hadn’t blogrolled you on my blogger site. That problem has been remedied.

    I think the reason you don’t see many hits coming from is that Blogspot users don’t visit the sites they read by clicking on their blogrolls. The aggregate their lings in Bloglines, Google Reader, Rojo, Feedgator, or some other RSS reader, and click through from there. Also, bloglines users tend to write on a specific topic (mine for instance), and are less likely to just post random cool stuff they come across. Livejournal users, on the other hand, live for random cool stuff.

    That’s my best explanation for it. Either way, keep up the good work!

  11. orange_crushed says:

    To be fair, Kevin, I think the anonymous aspect of LJ also frees people to be as kind and positive as they would like, too; since there’s no fear of being mocked for your interests/tastes/fandoms when you’re anonymous. It frees people creatively- there might be accountants out there publishing fantastic romantic prose under pseudonyms, or gym teachers writing clever, catty reviews of teen pop records or something. It’s the great equalizer of anonymity. While LJ is daunting to newcomers, it does have the benefit of being very welcoming and sustaining once you’re in.

    Well, that’s it, I’ve de-lurked. Shamus, love the comic. :)

  12. jbrandt says:

    I’ve had a friend lose a job because he used his real name and identifiable details on Livejournal. He wasn’t even being particularly unpleasant– just posting a bit of random work complaining. Well, his boss found out and canned him. So now he carefully locks his posts and removed most of the identifying info.

    But in general, what other people said about livejournal versus other social-networking sites holds true. It’s a different sort of community. It’s also older, and has older (and perhaps more mature) users than the stereotypical teenager on MySpace. LJ users are thus more likely to have a community based around shared interests rather than around animated gifs or music fandom or just being in the same high school. Those communities are more likely to share the sorts of things you post. I know that’s where I first found a link to your page.

  13. lebkin says:

    I am surprised no one has brought up the fact that the large amount of Live Journal visitors could be self-causing. In my own internet experience, most interesting websites I find are linked from somewhere else (in the case of Twenty Sided, it was from a post on the Treasure Tables blog). If more people are linking to Twenty Sided from LJ, that means that more people on LJ have the chance to see a link. And thus this higher traffic could lead to even more links, which in turns brings more traffic. It becomes a self reinforcing pattern.

    As for aliases online, I there there are two elements. One is safety and security. You don’t use your real name to protect yourself. I started using the internet under an AOL screenname as a kid in my parents house. It was to make it hard for kidnappers and molesters and such. Probably not as big a danger as my mother thought, but still important. I used it long enough that it stuck, and now I use it for everything out of habit if for nothing else.

  14. Rebecca says:

    Well, you were linked to a couple times on JournalFen. That helps. (Please don’t ask me to explain JournalFen!)

    P.S. The Livejournal “name” they use is the username. That would be how other users refer to him/her, unless him/her is famous enough that everyone knows their real name.

  15. Suebee says:

    Another LJer here. I think the thing with the numerous names is that people often incorporate in-jokes and shibboleths into their user names and profiles. It is a way of stamping your profile with a little originality. There is also the instance where your user name of choice is already taken, so you have to make something else up.

  16. Shamus says:

    “As for aliases online, I there there are two elements. One is safety and security. ”

    Pseudonyms are perfectly reasonable, it’s just that – to someone who doesn’t understand how it works – it looks like everyone has a half dozen pseudonyms.

    It’s like:

    Hi, I’m Clark Kent.

    Nice to meet you Clar-

    I’m Superman.

    Ok, so should I call you-

    People call me the Man of Steel.

    Ok. Man of Steel, got it.

    Sometimes they call me The Last Son of Krypton. Or the Man of Tomorrow.

    (blank stare)

    My real name is Kal-El, though.

    I really wish I had some Kryptonite right now.

  17. Telophase says:

    If you’re seeing an uptick in the number of links coming from Livejournal in the past two months, I expect it’s because you got reviewed by The Ferrett back in December, and linked to in January, when he declared you his Best Gaming Comic:

    He’s got a rather large readership.

  18. Telophase says:

    And a note on my LJ username and why I don’t use my real name: it comes from an anagram of my real name. I dropped it into the Internet Anagram Server once and “Telophase Fines” popped out. I’ve been using “Telophase” as my online name for so long that more people know me by that name than my real name (which is why I have “Telophase” on my badge at conventions – people recognize me more that way). I also don’t have my real name immediately obvious on my LJ to discourage coworkers finding it through casual Googles and incessantly asking me to explain all the strange things (to their minds) I post there. I’m tired of explaining manga and fandom and so on over and over and over.

    But I don’t *hide* my name; it’s easily findable through the information in the first paragraph of the top post, or go to my DeviantArt page, which is the same as my LJ name. The exact mechanism of finding I leave up to the reader as an exercise. :)

    I know other people on LJ who use their real names as their LJ names, and people who use names they’ve been known by in their online activities for years, and other people who hide their identities for very good reasons (one has a stalker, others don’t want fandom activities found by relatives, others are keeping their professional and off-work lives separate, and others use their nicknames in their second jobs as artists).

  19. Pete Zaitcev says:

    When it comes to LJ, usually the best is to think in terms the person if you know them IRL or in general, and only failing that, by the ID. It is exactly the same concept as an account name on a multi-user system.

    The ID I am using is my old account name from early 1980s. It just so happens to be a name, because this is how the accounts were created in my first computer system. If it were a classical UNIX, I’d be now, if not worse. This is how we (geeks) came to know rms, esr, and, what the heck, even the infamous rtm, who was driven to the life of crime by the university admins denying him the ‘rtm’. The full name based nicking still happens, but it’s rare. I only know of one other example only: torvalds.

    So, would be not in keeping with the spirit. For one thing, it’s longer than 8 characters.

    The historic geek handle can me imaginative, e.g. quux or dwmw2. I think the owner of the latter even approved the mnemonic of David “Window Manager” Woodhouse when someone else came up with it. You have to be a user of the early X11 to get the joke. Think olvwm2, fvwm2, but “not virtual”.

  20. azrhey says:

    LJer here too. I think everyone upthere has given all the reasons I can think of for why LJ and why the anonymity. if you google azrhey it will pop on geek websites, political and lifestyle forums and maybe still some medieval history groups. If you google my real name you will come up with several references to travel insurances, med-evac forums and luxury car rental insurance. I work hard on keeping those separate as the sales reps of Maserati do not need to know I like to read LOTR fanfic or that I called in sick to watch Torchwood :)

    BTW, I do not know if you say my comment here
    but I am still unable to see any of the comics for DMotR!
    I have since then inquired around and as far as I know noone in France, Spain and Portugal is able to access the image with the actual comic.
    I stick around because I find your other posts also interesting, but would like to know what is going on with that. In fact the last ones I saw was while were you complaining about bandwidth and then you said everything was fixed and that is when it all went away. I understand bandwidth problems,but reading other people’s amused comments is rather frustrating.

  21. Greyy says:

    I read your site through an RSS feed from LJ. I like using LJ as one place for all the sites I like.

    I would guess that you have a large LJ readership because there is a large gaming community there, and contrary to my experiences with sites like MySpace, LiveJournal is more about sharing and community so your site has likely been promoted by people there. I am pretty sure that is how I found it and I know I’ve pointed it out to some of my friends there.

  22. Gomez says:

    The link from The Ferrett probably helped.

    But MySpace is often more of a hit and run clique-driven online community: your network consists almost entirely of existing friends and family. You post something, some people might leave a comment, and that’s it. Blogger is more of a blog in space: few are going to stumble upon your blog there. LJ is more geared towards involvement, discussion and community. I have gotten to know many people through LJ. I cannot say the same for MySpace or Blogger.

  23. Julia says:

    Saw something somewhere about DM of the Rings, started it, decided to add the feed to my friends page and that’s why I’m coming from LiveJournal these days. (Someone explained above fairly well, IMO. At least as well as I would at this point.)

    Anonymity is useful. It keeps you from doing stupid things. For example, one guy who had his real name attached to his LJ had an interview with my husband’s boss, wrote up an LJ entry including the name of the company and name of the interviewer, didn’t make it a “friends only” entry or anything, and when the interviewer googled him after the interview, got the guy’s opinion on the whole thing. He was NOT offered the job. (And, not knowing his name, but knowing the rest of the story and details, I was able to google “[company name] [interviewer first name] livejournal interview” and find the entry in question. Seriously.)

    My user name contains my first name. I’m using my real first name here. But it’s not going to let you look at a list of all the usernames that contain my first name (unless there’s some LJ-search-fu I need to develop). :)

    I got on LJ because many of my friends were using it for social coordination. I can set up filters so I’m just telling my local friends what I’m doing when, did anyone want to join me for X, I’m not available for lunch this week, etc. I also report what’s going on in my life to ‘net friends, info I might have divulged on a publicly-archived mailing list 8 years ago, but am now too cautious to do so.

    (And if you actually find me on LJ, the kid photos are my kids, and the cartoony-looking things look vaguely like me. The earring is on my ear, I took all the other photos and made icons from them, so credit me if you’re going to use any, and the things created by other people are credited on the page of userpics. Oh, and anyone on my friends list who lists BDSM as an interest probably has some userpics that are NSFW, as one of my friends found out the hard way. I know the gender of everyone on my FL except semagic, which is just an announcement account. And now anyone on LJ can figure out who I am with that information.)

  24. Pete Zaitcev says:

    You know what’s frightening. I see “azrhey” and think, “Oh, I know that nick. It’s Pierre’s gf”. Yeah… It’s like Shamus The Brock’s Cousin. Only online. And I know them all. So, mere 8 characters are enough to encompass the geek capacity of the entire goddamn world.

  25. beckyzoole says:

    Why is this site so popular among LJ users? That’s an easy question! It’s because LJ users are The Cool People.

    (Could it also be because people who translate Harry Potter into iambic pentameter tend to be the same sort of geeky people who play D&D?)

  26. AngiePen says:

    I saw a link to DMotR on a friend’s journal, came and checked it out, then posted a link on my journal. Most of the people I have friended and who’ve friended me are into fanfiction based on LOTR (more or less) so there’s the connection. The fact that I gamed (same campaign, same core group) for almost twenty years has nothing to do with my finding you, although it’s definitely enhanced my appreciation of the comic and other posts here. :)

    Another take on the anonymity thing — I use most of my real name because I’m not ashamed of what I do or what I write and anyone who doesn’t like it can go hang. But I don’t have to worry about my family ragging on me or my boss firing me, while others do. There are people in fanfic fandom — teachers are the obvious example, but also other professions — who absolutely would lose their jobs if it became known that they wrote erotic fiction or even that they read it. I talked to one woman who said that the moralizers in their town were so tight-assed that her husband would lose his teaching job if it became known that she (not him) wrote erotica. And other people have families who are hard-core moralistic to the point of making their life absolute hell if they found out their nephew or daughter or whatever was into this stuff. I don’t have to hide but others do and I’m not going to tell them they shouldn’t. :/

    Icons on LJ are rarely pictures of the journal owner. (Heck, why would I want to post a picture of myself? :P ) Icons are usually a reflection of the person’s online interests, and since everyone has at least a handful and most people have a lot (I have 135 icon slots, for example, only 81 of which have icons in them) most journals of people who actually post and comment widely have a wide variety of icons to use depending on what topic they posted on, what mood they’re expressing, what they’re commenting on, etc.

    So in the fannish areas you’ll see a bazillion icons which are pictures of fictional characters people are into, or bits of comics or cartoons or symbology from their fandom or fandoms. I write celebrity RPS primarily, so most of my icons are actors I write and read about and I’ll post with an appropriate icon depending on the characters in a story I wrote or am commenting on, or which celeb is being discussed in a non-fiction post. My default is a picture of a beloved dog who died young of cancer (good for general posts where a pic of Sean Bean or Liam Neeson wouldn’t do [grin]) and I have a few other pics of the same dog as a puppy for variety in the generic area. I have a library icon for discussions of books and lit and general serious discussions, and a few icons that are just funny, with varying degress of sarcasm or impatience implied. You’ll often see expressive or commentary type icons, the “WTF?!” type or “Get Over It” type or “Did I Blow It?” or “Make the Stupid People Shut Up!” or “Good Grief!” or whatever, sometimes with verbage but often just a particularly apropos graphic. One of my favorite funny ones is a pic from the movie Troy, of Paris during his “confession” to Hector, and the caption is “Is this worse than the time I TPed Mycenae?” It’s from Cleolinda’s “Movies in 15 Minutes” parody of Troy and I use it a lot. [cough]

    There are entire communities for people who create and collect icons and most people on LJ would be shocked to hear that I have empty slots, LOL! The idea that your icon is “of course” a picture of your face is a sort of alien concept there. :)


  27. MegaZone says:

    I’m another LJ’er who monitors the syndicated feed. I’m not sure who created it. Hell, I may have – I reflexively syndicate the feeds from any and all sites I want to keep track of. I can’t recall how many feeds I’ve syndicated at this point, but it is quite a few – quite a number of web comics especially.

    LJ has become my ‘portal’ because it provides a useful single point of aggregation. Most of my RL friends are on LJ so I can keep track of their goings on there. Some who aren’t on LJ have blogs, so I just syndicate their feeds. There are a number of blogs I read – mostly TiVo/gadget blogs – so I syndicate all of those there too. Along with CNet, The Register, and other news sources. All the web comics I read I also syndicate – if the feed doesn’t exist, I add it. So it really makes LJ a one-stop-shop for everything I want to read regularly.

    This is my profile. And I’m one of the people who uses his legal name in my profile. I couldn’t use it for my account, as it was taken. Yes – my legal name is MegaZone. Yes, I changed it and I’m just that weird a geek.

  28. neminem says:

    Maybe I’m just an aberration… but my lj is neminem. My public email is [email protected]. My aim account isn’t neminem only because when I decided to make that name my standard online name, it’d already been taken there (I’m also not neminem on, for the same reason). It’s not for anonymity, it’s just because that’s who I *am* to the internet. If I were going for anonymity, I wouldn’t link to my website everywhere (including my lj profile), my website containing both a second email that has my full name in it, as well as a couple pages that have my full name on it, as well as the url itself providing an obvious clue to my full name.

    Most of my friends, for that matter, have two names like that, too. I’m as likely to call one of my friends “goobergunch” (or “goober” for short) as I am to call him Martin.

    See also:

  29. You managed to identify my gender easily enough. [At least, I hope it was easy enough.] You do have a good point regarding excessive aliases and a general dearth of information on bios, however.

    I’ve been meaning to make mine actually mean something. I guess now I have the impetus to do so.

    I’d like to think most of my posts, reviews, etc, are straight-forward enough not to cause confusion. If they do confuse new readers, I’d like to be informed. Feedback is a *good* thing.

  30. Monica says:

    Another LJ user here. I’m pretty open about who I am; I’d rather that people who know me be able to find me, and knowing that they can moderates what I post (which is a good discipline on the net, which lives forever). Some people use names that their friends will recognize but others won’t, and I can understand why they do that.

    Most of LJ’s users are teenagers. Think back to when you were a teenager and the thing that you’d been obsessing about for the last year seemed like your whole life. (Hey, it was 1/15th of your life at that point, at least.) I suspect this explains a lot of user names, journal names, and interest lists. The pattern is probably different for 30+-somethings who’ve had their journals for several years, but we’re a small proportion of the total journals so if you just hit “random” you probably won’t bump into those.

  31. Selki says:

    Having already mentioned this in comments before, I didn’t raise my hand when Fub (comment 2) said “Someone made a “˜feed'-account out of your RSS feed”, but upon reading MegaZone’s “I'm another LJ'er who monitors the syndicated feed. I'm not sure who created it. Hell, I may have — ”

    Actually, I did that. Here’s the original announcement on syn_promo:

    Glad so many people are using it!

  32. 28bytes says:

    Yet another LJ person here. I too found your site via TheFerrett’s recommendation a while back, and added it to my syndicated feed list.

    I love your strip, but I haven’t commented here before because, well, I’m addicted to LJ’s threaded comment style, and find the non-threaded kind strange and frightening.

    As for the non-intuitive username, I sleep a little easier at night knowing if my bosses Google me, they’re unlikely to run across my journal.

  33. Tom Zunder says:

    Hi. I am a LJer. I find a lot of gamers, of all kinds, and SF and fantasy geeks on LJ. I think LJ is quite nerdy and insular.

    A lot of people use anonymity to cover their pet fetishes, avoid the boss, to have multiple identities (often for multiple hobbies) and som LJ names are actually communities not individuals.

  34. saltdawg says:

    May I have a twelve sided die, please?

    I only wanted to weigh in that Myspace is entirely ego-centric, where as Live journal is only 90% egocentric.

  35. Liritar says:

    My oppinion, which probably isn’t worth that much, is that Myspace users are generally using it as a matchmaking site. Therefore, less geeks. Which is why I use LJ.

  36. Liritar says:

    Oh, and the name thing? My online persona is a lot more outgoing than I am. I could never reply to this sort of thing as ‘Meg’. *Laughs*

  37. Rachel says:

    For what it’s worth, I used a nom de net when I first signed up with AOL back in ’92 but figured it was too much trouble, so I’ve been just me (well, initials and last name) ever since. And although I have a MySpace site to keep track of younger cousins, I rarely visit it because, frankly, a lot of the people I’ve Friended out of a feeling of obligation (Real Life acquaintance, etc.) aren’t really people I feel a need to stay in touch with. Besides, the cool ones have LJs anyway.

  38. Rachel says:

    Oh, and in response to the “LJers are teenagers” comment, it depends who you hang with. I don’t think there’s anyone under 25 on my FriendsList, but the majority of them are geeks in one way or another.

  39. Bookie says:

    I know why I use pseudonyms. I entered the internet world before my 13th birthday, and it was common knowledge that if you used your real name a burly stinky man would come to your house and rape you.

    Now adays that isn’t much of an issue, but the habit of keeping my name at least -somewhat- difficult to pick up has remained.

    And as far as Livejournal is concerned, the habit of going by a handle seems to stem from the fact that if you comment, or friend, or do pretty much anything on that site, your handle becomes your fingerprint. I suppose you could make your handle and name the same thing, but that’s not the precedent for one… I guess using a name or using a handle depends a lot on the internet subculture you come from.

  40. Sean K says:

    Hi, my name is Sean Kozma, and I am the least anonymous person on LJ.

    I’ve been reading 20 Sided off and on for a few months, thanks to links from my other gamer friends, but I read this post and had to comment.

    Feel free to read my LJ, but it’s not necessarily representative of me. As much as I’d like to spend all my time in front of the computer, I have too much to do these days, so my LJ isn’t updated often enough to really be representative of me. Still, I thought you’d appreciate my post here.

  41. David Klecha says:

    The only part of my LJ experience that isn’t “me” is the username, daveamongus which I originally adopted, over my real name, because I was a friend on my sister’s LJ (where she would post her thoughts on Due South slash fiction–and so I know what you mean about the priest and the BDSM club) and wasn’t interested in being known… and later kept it so I could post pseduonymously while deployed to Iraq.

    As I’m trying to be a Respectable Writer Type Guy, I’ll probably change it to my real name one of these days. (My real name is also the name of the blog feed for my Real Blog which is maintained with an eye toward all those many people who feel the same way about LJ as you do.)

  42. Kris Pia says:

    some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

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