From LiveJournal to…

200px-livejournal-logo.pngLiveJournal is, among other things, a hosted blogging service. It is interesting in many ways: it’s powered by free/open source software; it’s been sold recently, and for the second time; it has a strong social networking component; it’s one of the older blogging products/services, having been started in 1999; it’s popular, with the LJ stats page claiming over 14 million blogs at the time of this writing.

There are of course posts all over the place about the sale. The post by Frank, the LJ mascot, has drawn 5000 comments already. Even my posts on the LJ sale drew some comments. One of the comments was from that girl again, who also made her own post on the sale.

Having plundered everything they could from its code and staff, Six Apart have offloaded the troublesome Livejournal onto some Russians… I don’t trust SUP. I see even more ads and even less privacy in my LJ future.

Oh well, at least the guy who runs Insanejournal is happy. Every cloud…

The most solid silver lining to this “cloud” is that LJ is free/open source. The LJ code is available, and is indeed in use at multiple other sites, including InsaneJournal and, yes, DeadJournal.

I wrote “most solid silver,” not “cast iron” or “copper-bottomed,” because there is a loophole in the GPL. Nevertheless, if you like the software of LJ (or, for that matter) but dislike other aspects of the site itself, you can find other sites running much the same software under different policies.

Finally, I want to pick up on the point that LJ includes a stronger social networking component than most blogging products and services. This is particularly interesting, given the current spate of posts (e.g.) referring to “social blogs.”

Such hybrids include Six Apart’s Vox. Since the launch, it has seemed to me that: Vox is like LJ with the corners carefully rounded and polished; 6A acquired LJ, not because it wanted LJ, but because it wanted Vox.

Social blogging platforms also include trendy venture capital bait like Tumblr and Twitter. Hence it seems that LJ was ahead of its time: social blogging in the previous millennium.

SUP Fitz LiveJournal?

My previous post, in which I did little else than link to the first two announcements of the LiveJournal deal, seems to have received a disproportionately high number of visits. Since then, I’ve seen a couple of WTF reactions, including Justin’s.

Looking for fodder for a more substantive post, I searched for “livejournal sup wtf” and found comments on the deal by the LJ founder. Brad Fitzpatrick welcomes the new Russian overlords:

This is pretty cool because: They’re ridiculously excited about LiveJournal… They want to throw a lot of resources at LiveJournal… “, Inc.” now stands alone again, focusing on nothing but LJ… I’ll have more LJ influence (via new role as advisory board member) than I’ve had recently.

If I was on LJ, I would be reassured by this. I don’t see why Brad, who now works at Google, would feel pressured to post it. But now, as he says, we “get to sit back and watch all the community reactions and conspiracy theories.”