Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

On a weblog's 10th birthday

ring-billed gulls

My livejournal weblog turned ten years old today. My first few entries were about hikes I had taken, my thoughts about folks going to law school, and reflections on kite-flying and creativity. As the years have gone on, a number of people I read here have earned Ph.D's and become university professors, a number have married, a number have had kids, a number have divorced, a number have lost family members, a number have taken new jobs, a number have released novels or music or poems, a number have moved cities, and a number have stayed in roughly the same places and occupations.

I've come to enjoy keeping a weblog because it helps me figure out what happened on which day, and to remember things I might otherwise have forgotten. I understood when I joined livejournal that it was something mostly for my own record, so that the way it blossomed over time into a 'social media' was a pleasant surprise. When the interaction among people was at its peak, though, I understood that this was a fad, and that other social media would arise and replace this one.

Here in Texas we have cyclical droughts, while on livejournal, terms of service worries sent people in cyclical waves to other services in protest of this or that. The services that were livejournal alternatives ten years ago are largely defunct now; the weblog services of more recent vintage still have life in them. A number of people ran out of things they wished to say to a reading list, while others found that they said it best in a different social media form. I particpate in a lot of social media, but find this weblog forum works very well for me.

I've been fortunate to have very little of that commonplace experience known as "livejournal drama". But there has been a bit of drama. I have been dropped from peoples' reading list for being verbose, for expressing an opinion or religious belief different from another person's, or for being friends with x after y decides not to read x and y therefore "unfriends" all of x's friends. I've had that commonplace irony of livejournal, in which a tiff with a livejournal friend arose over basically nothing within months after that same friend and I affirmed that we were immune to defriending over such a tiff. A very, very few livejournal friends were not entirely who they portrayed themselves to be, and in at least one case the poster persists in the game, even though almost any reader will see it is a put-on. In general, livejournal drama has been a minor factor, other than its lesson in how the printed word is so much trickier than any medium in which one can see facial expressions (anyone who has chatted by IM at length completely understands).

On the other hand, I've enjoyed getting to read about interesting people. I've met livejournal friends in real life, and am glad I did. I've lost touch with people I know here and missed them. I've stayed livejournal friends with people I've known now for years. It's been a positive experience. I've learned so many new things, and come to learn to be more patient and tolerant with others through the medium.

Will I keep a livejournal for another decade? Who knows? All I know is that it's been a good experience for me, and a good way to spend a decade.

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