Dreamwidth posts 14 - 23 March - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Dreamwidth posts 14 - 23 March
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at 09:29 pm
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The other thing that's gone on in the past couple of weeks is that I started a friending meme to help people find enough to read on Dreamwidth to make it worth while to post and hang out regularly there, either as well as or instead of LJ. I hesitated over whether to link to that here, because I don't want to come across as constantly banging on about how great Dreamwidth is when people have already made a positive decision that they want to stay on LJ and are not at all interested in getting involved in a new site.

I came down on the side of deciding that yes, I would include the link, because I think it's relevant to at least a subset of my LJ people. Some of you are potentially willing to consider Dreamwidth, but don't want to leave a large, lively site for one with a lot of parked journals and hardly any activity. Well, there's a big movement on Dreamwidth at the moment to change that, both to create more content and to promote the content that's already there. So some of you might be interested in giving Dreamwidth a second look at this point. And if not, that's totally fine too, I definitely do not want to pester or pressure you.

There are slightly over 20,000 active accounts now, compared to just over 2 million on LJ. That may seem like a big difference, but obviously you're not going to interact with 2 million people even at second or third degree. Also, at a rough guess from the stats, something like 1.5 million of those active accounts are spambots and the vast majority of the rest are Russian language. So, your chances of finding plenty of interesting stuff to read on Dreamwidth are lower, certainly, but no longer vastly lower.

It so happens that in just the week where I found all these new people and new reading material on DW, LiveJournal changed its mobile interface so that it is extremely bandwidth hungry and only just barely usable, but very annoying and inconvenient. The result of this coincidence is that I'm now spending all my commuting time reading my Dreamwidth reading list, and my LJ reading is reduced to checking every couple of days when I have a free evening. I will make a serious effort to keep up with my close friends here, but I am probably going to have to start dropping or filtering out people who are just online acquaintances who write stuff that I find appealing. This isn't a political decision, it's a matter of practicality, but I just wanted to give a heads up that I am not going to be around on LJ as much as I used to be.


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lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:March 23rd, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
9 minutes after journal entry, 10:39 pm (lethargic_man's time)
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The result of this coincidence is that I'm now spending all my commuting time reading my Dreamwidth reading list, and my LJ reading is reduced to checking every couple of days when I have a free evening. I will make a serious effort to keep up with my close friends here, but I am probably going to have to start dropping or filtering out people who are just online acquaintances who write stuff that I find appealing.

Would it help if I were to do what you do in reverse, i.e. post links from my DW blog to the posts on my mine LJ blog?
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livredor: bunneh
From:livredor
Date:March 23rd, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
16 minutes after journal entry, 10:46 pm (livredor's time)
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Somewhat, thank you very much for offering. If you want to make sure I see your journal at least twice a day, then links from DW will help with that. If you don't mind me checking in more like 4 or 5 times a week then I'm doing that anyway, and don't need any extra effort from you. And hopefully Dreamwidth is going to come forward with the cross-site reading list in the next few weeks / months, in which case the problem will go away and I can just read your blog from the convenient DW mobile version.
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ewx: default
From:ewx
Date:March 23rd, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
57 minutes after journal entry, 11:27 pm (ewx's time)
(Link)

Speaking only for myself: the thing that approaches like the friending meme don’t address for me is that the primary thing I want to continue reading is the people and communities I already read on LJ (and similarly regarding my intended audience). There are plenty of details to this that could perhaps be filled in, but ultimately I think that’s at the root of why I don’t post at DW and don’t usually reply at DW when given the choice between the two (even though I have a DW account).

I will be pleasantly unsurprised if this eventually changes!

My poorly informed guess is that the primary drivers for migration will be better DW features and LJ screwing up from time to time, rather than due to improving integration between the two. However I could be completely wrong about this, so I wouldn’t want to discourage improvement in integration features.

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ewx: default
From:ewx
Date:March 23rd, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 11:33 pm (ewx's time)
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Also, OMG, >1,100 comments on that post, how do you cope? l-)
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livredor: bunneh
From:livredor
Date:March 26th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 07:20 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Heh. Mainly I had enough sense of self-preservation to turn off email notifications for that post. But I've been spending about half an hour a day going through, picking out interesting to me people, keeping an eye on things to make sure it doesn't turn into a troll fest on page 10, and other than that it more or less runs itself. This is one of the reasons I really like having a hosted journalling service: since I made that post I've had a week of getting more hits in a day than I usually get in a month, and someone else is dealing with the load balancing.
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livredor: bunneh
From:livredor
Date:March 26th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 07:18 pm (livredor's time)
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I think unfortunately you're right, that it won't be Dreamwidth that draws people, it'll be LJ that drives them away. But integration is desirable anyway, if only to avoid the lock-in that's now happening with LJ. I mean, you're effectively arguing that no matter how much better Dreamwidth is technically, you're never going to move, because the people and communities you read are here and the people who comment on your posts are here. That's not a criticism, it's entirely reasonable to prioritize established community over technical features. But it does mean that LJ is more or less Microsoft: people can make vastly better products and give them away for free, but few people will ever switch because MS stuff doesn't play well with others, so any change means cutting yourself off from most of the people you want to interact with.

I have gone to an effort to maintain connections after I moved, and it's more or less worked for me. I can completely understand people not wanting to make that effort, but for me, it's worth it not to deal with ads and LJ's nasty business model. And now that I'm there, yes, Dreamwidth has a lot of superior features, but I am perfectly up-front about the fact that the features would never have been enough to make me move. I do appreciate that Dreamwidth is putting effort into integration with other sites, even though it means in some ways less motivation for people to move across, because in the end I do care more about community than platform. The problem is that integration is a two-way street, and if LJ won't, for example, fix OpenID bugs, there's very little DW can do.

I guess I had a long hard think about it and decided that in the end there are about a dozen people whose lives I want to keep up with no matter what. So I'll make do with Facebook or Twitter or isolated personal blogs, and fiddle around with RSS and aggregators and regularly visiting sites where I only know one person, in order to be able to share their thoughts. For everyone else, well, it's nice to have a community, but I don't much mind exactly what its composition is. There are some people I interact with regularly on LJ, and some people I only talk to when I happen to see them in person, and that's fine with me. That's how things were before LJ existed, after all!
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ewx: default
From:ewx
Date:March 26th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
3 days after journal entry, March 27th, 2010 12:51 am (ewx's time)
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I wouldn’t want to say never; I started using LJ when there was a perfectly good Usenet, I read Facebook, I read and post to Twitter. And I still use Usenet: long-term coexistence is perfectly possible.

Wild stab in the dark: maybe if DW had less integration with LJ it would be on a level with Usenet, Facebook and Twitter in this discussion, rather than an adjunct to LJ. After all, lots of LJ users I know have Facebook accounts (and irritating virtual farms), despite the essentially absent integration between LJ and FB.

(Still not actually intending to discourage integration features, even if it looks like it!)

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ewx: default
From:ewx
Date:April 24th, 2010 08:45 am (UTC)
31 days after journal entry, 09:45 am (ewx's time)
(Link)
The link-munging is definitely a step towards “drives away” for me. My LJ paid time expires in late June, let’s see what I do then…
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pw201: serious business
From:pw201
Date:March 24th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 01:58 am (pw201's time)
(Link)
DW is technically interesting: they're doing new features more rapidly than LJ, they're making an effort to get newbie developers involved, and so on. Still, they've not produced an LJ killer in terms of features, not yet anyway (I know DW say they don't want to be an LJ killer, but realistically, I think that's where they can most easily pick up new users).

Like ewx, I'm here because people make worthwhile postings here (which DW's remote reading stuff would admittedly sort out) and worthwhile comments here (more of a problem as I'm not convinced they'd follow me to DW). As ewx says, what will drive people is the community (and possibly further drastic misbehaviour from LJ), and, going by the friending meme, DW's community appears to be fandom people who really care about identity politics. So, no, not yet.

I do follow dw-news, and I'm still a bit concerned over DW's financial viability. They've been flat at around 20k active users for a few months now, if you believe the numbers here (I plotted it and something funny seems to have happened between July and September 2009: down by about 5000, which might be an accounting change, I suppose). Invite codes aren't in short supply: I assume that everyone who knows about DW and wants an account now has one. I have not seen much indication of whether DW can survive at the current levels: if they can, maybe I'm worrying about nothing, but I get the impression they'd planned for more growth.
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livredor: bunneh
From:livredor
Date:March 26th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 07:34 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Yes, all those comments are completely fair. I really like the newbie developers thing, speaking as one myself, but I can see that's not going to be a major motivator for most people! I don't know what an LJ killer would be, considering that the community who are already here are going to be such a huge counterweight to any features DW may produce.

I might have expected that having a working, usable search system would be a big attraction, but I think people have just got used to LJ not being searchable. And being able to watch journals without giving strangers access to locked content is a huge technical advantage, but again, I think LJ people are used to fiddling around with filters if they want that fine-grained control. Or else they don't care because they want content hidden from their boss or their mum, but are happy to open it to everybody else in the world. My money is on the remote reading as a killer feature, because it will mean people can use the better features of DW without having to give up their community here. But we'll see.

I take your point about people not being willing to follow you to DW. I have found that most people are fairly willing, as long as I put in the effort to make it easy for them. After all, it's not 1999 any more, people are used to the idea that there is content on lots of different platforms and hosts. You seem to treat LJ as more or less a blog, but even so, you've chosen not to move to Wordpress or something self-hosted, presumably because you benefit from the network effect here.

There is quite a lot of identity politics on DW; that's partly self-selected, because it's people who care about identity politics who are a lot more likely to be offended by LJ blocking searches on bisexuality or displaying racist adverts. I'm less allergic to that than you are, which is probably connected to the fact that I have more "identities", but it's not what I primarily want out of a community. I did see a sizeable minority answering the meme who define themselves as atheists and scientists, or in general more by their job and interests than their ethnic group or sexual identity. But I don't deny that it's a minority.

I know what you mean about financial viability. I am worried about that too, but then again I am not convinced LJ will be with us in recognisable form in a couple of years either. At the moment I'm willing to take the gamble in order to join a site where I feel comfortable and energized and leave one where I felt miserable and irritated. But I know it is a gamble, for sure.
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hatam_soferet: default
From:hatam_soferet
Date:March 24th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry
(Link)
Funny you should post this today; I'm dropping DW posting, because the people I care about are almost all on LJ, you being the single exception. Invite codes put people off and also irregularly fail to work, cookies have got stuck, OpenID has been made of fail, and so forth. Now I have a professional-looking blog elsewhere, I don't care so much about the ads cos I'm just using LJ to have conversations with friends and family; I'm not going to hassle them to struggle with buggy DW invite codes for a small ideological pleasure. An invite-code-less registration period would do a lot more for me, DW-wise than a friending meme. Oh, and a less silly name, but there isn't much can be done about that.

But then, we use the internets for different things.
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mathcathy: default
From:mathcathy
Date:March 24th, 2010 07:13 am (UTC)
9 hours after journal entry, 08:13 am (mathcathy's time)
(Link)
What change to the mobile interface? I haven't noticed any change and I use it - perhaps knowing about the change prompted you to look for differences?
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blue_mai: one
From:blue_mai
Date:March 24th, 2010 08:04 am (UTC)
10 hours after journal entry, 09:04 am (blue_mai's time)
(Link)
I also hadn't noticed the change - I noticed someone else complaining about the changes too, but hadn't really noticed them. The homepage being taken up by "Spotlight" stuff is annoying, and the lack of linebreaks on the friends page is annoying, but it's been like that for as long as I've been using it, which is to say several months (so not ages).
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mathcathy: default
From:mathcathy
Date:March 24th, 2010 08:33 am (UTC)
11 hours after journal entry, 09:33 am (mathcathy's time)
(Link)
Sure, there are annoyances, like having to reload the page every time you want to go down a comment in a thread ... but if I'm realy annoyed by that then the non-mobile version works well enough, the whole page loads, albeit slowly, unless there are too many comments for my mobile to cope.
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livredor: geekette
From:livredor
Date:March 25th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 11:29 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
There used to be two versions of the mobile page, and I was using the very primitive one at livejournal.com/mobile. It had just a plain text list of the titles of the last 50 entries, with a very stripped down version of the post and its comments when you clicked through. But LJ switched off that old version this week, so now there is only the new shiny version at m.livejournal.com.

The text is just too small to be really clear on my phone (I think you have fancier phones than I do), and I hate the lack of linebreaks and the having to navigate to separate pages to move down comment threads. And you can't see the full post text and the comment text on the same page. Plus it seems to be really slow to synch the comments, so I'll click on a link saying "5 comments" and only 2 or 3 of them will be available, which is frustrating.
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mathcathy: default
From:mathcathy
Date:March 25th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 11:36 pm (mathcathy's time)
(Link)
You can still use the full address. It takes a while to load, but it's ok.

Your phone is higher quality than mine,my personal mobile doesn't even have 3G
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iddewes: Snufkin
From:iddewes
Date:March 24th, 2010 09:44 am (UTC)
12 hours after journal entry, 11:44 am (iddewes's time)
(Link)
Hi!
Well, I don't blame you, and I understand if you take me off, because we don't know each other very well, after all. I do read your Dreamwidth entries sometimes, but don't have a lot of time to comment.
(by the way I did a search yesterday on LJ and noticed that the search engine used now is Yandex, which really shows how the Russians have taken it over). I've still mostly got people I know outside of LJ as friends on here, and they are not on Dreamwidth, so it's easier for me to stay here for now.
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