Couldn't resist writing this one up: In post-Soviet Russia, President blogs you. The President of Russia has a Livejournal ([livejournal.com profile] blog_medvedev) and updates it (or gets someone to, anyway) fairly regularly.

LJ, its future, DW not a threat and SUp taking it in the wrong direction )

Ah well. I'm supposed to be writing up what's wrong with the OpenID implementation on both LJ and DW, but I keep getting distracted.

Short version: Both sites are problematic, DW has the excuse of being new, LJ has no excuse at all )

That's pathetic. Hopefully the competitive pressure from DW will push them into making more improvements, like it has done elsewhere. Competition is, after all, a good thing, and LJs been stuck in its own little rut with nowt but a bunch of clones for too long.

Meh, rambling. Time to go do something constructive.
Short version. Livejournal has today fired about half of its US based staff, including several people that I'd say are key, if not crucial to the operation. This means that while SUP/LJ Inc have the right ideas about where to take the site, they're running out of money (and paid over the odds anyway) and can't afford to do it.

I suspect that LJ itself will continue, as it has ongoing revenue, but the improvements that it needs to turn itself into the successful site it could've been will now be significantly slowed, which puts the long term health of the site in danger. Not got time to do a full post, but here are some links:
... )
I promised a 'how to' on backing up your journal and exporting it to other platforms, in order to write that I first need to do it myself fully and properly, so that'll happen later on (hopefully tonight, depends if I can get it all to work). In the meantime, some of the comments/posts linked abouve are from [livejournal.com profile] rahaeli/[livejournal.com profile] synecdochic, who used to be an LJ staffer but left to concentrate on her writing career (I got the impression she was asked to defend the indefensible once too often)—she's a good fiction writer FWIW. Last year, she announced that with a small number of others she'd be working on a fork of the Open Source Livejournal code (to be called Dreamwidth) to update it, make it compatible with modern servers and run a platform that'd be more community friendly in the way LJ "used to be". Many of the proposals she put forward were ones that echoed what I was looking for—crucially a separation between your 'reading' list and the people you trust to read your friends locked posts, as well as complete interoperability with other sites on the same codebase.

That latter is interesting—if she/they (we?) can get it going, then different people could run Dreamwidth installations and you could still add people, let them read your secure entries, etc from your friends page, without much if any extra effort on your part. That could mean that anyone could pay for a server and run their own site. Drawback is that you'd need your own webserver, renting one of them is a minimum of £50 per month, much more for something decent.

But if enough people were to chip in, it'd be more than possible. In fact, it'd be more than viable, it'd possibly be a very good plan. There are a bunch of you reading this that know a lot more about the backend side of this sort of thing than me—we'd need to work to set it up, and then install updates, etc. Almost certainly viable with enough people, so, well...
[Poll #1326311]
Interesting comment made at [livejournal.com profile] minnesattva's:
The sensible thing to do would be to differentiate LJ, position it if you like as an 'intellectual networking site', or the equivalent of a collaborative newspaper (it has news, opinion, cartoons...) - something you *read* (or write) rather than something you play at. You could even have a default set of people who would be added as your 'friends' when you started on LJ representing some of the best/most popular writing on here - people like say [livejournal.com profile] bradhicks or [livejournal.com profile] theyorkshergob who don't write about themselves on their journals much but write about actual *stuff*, but who you could then add or subtract at will...
Can't say I disagree with that at all, and am amused at the two choices given as examples. I have, naturally, got a whole passel of posts in my head on the whole SUP buyout/ending-of-Basic/interest not-really-censorship thing, but, y'know, lack of motivation strikes again. I do think ending Basic accounts is a daft idea, and I thinkt he way it wasn't clearly announced was insanely stupid.

SUP appear to want to treat LJ as a Social Network, not a blogging platform with SN elements, which I think is completely the wrong way to go, especially given the Russian market success where blogging means LJ. Ah well.

Possibility my long-on-hiatus alternate platform collection of ideas might get dug out again soon. Possibly.
So then, Google and [livejournal.com profile] brad have finally launched their social graph API. Simple version: Your friends list on LJ, Twitter, MySpace, FaceBook etc are public information. So if this takes off (and it will) you'll be able to log into one and find out if your friends from one are on the other. If the information is private, then you'll need permission, but if it's open info then I don't need to ask you gits to find me on Twitter or Bebo (MatGB, natch), I can get the site I just registered for to go see who I know, just like I can currently get them to check my Gmail addressbook. Which will be nice. If it works. It should do. Meh, Brad explains it in all his geekiness if you want:
Brad's product launch vid, in all his geeky glory )
There's an example of the code for those that want it on David Recordon's Blog, including a nice little in-joke.

LJ's new overlords are proceding apace with dragging Livejournal into the 21st century. It aggregates interesting public posts, yes, you can opt out if you want to (how it works for communities) but why would you want to? If you don't want people to see it, don't post it publicly. While it probably won't be of much use to established users, it will really help new users, which the site needs to survive, SUP spent money because they thought they could turn the site around and make it work. Features that draw new users in and help them get set up easily are needed--every other similar site has had this for years.

Last up, [livejournal.com profile] davegodfrey brings the science funny. SRSLY, go read and if time listen, watching a Discovery institute loony get schooled is always worth it, right?
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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