Whatever Happened to Livejournal?

Remember Livejournal?  It was the forefront of free blogging platforms in 1999 and provided a space for communities to form and people to network.  I’m still on there for a few communities that remain very strong and haven’t transitioned elsewhere. It’s a terrific platform for connecting with like-minded people, asking questions in communities, sharing information, and posting and re-posting media and links.

However, since 1999, quite a few competitors emerged with more intuitive and accessible platforms (like WordPress!), so Livejournal doesn’t have the same cache as it once did.  Still, there are loyal LJ denizens and I was curious if libraries and other information organizations had a presence.

I did a quick search through the community list for “library” and, to my surprise, there were dozens of pages of results.  I didn’t see any formal pages for libraries (though I only looked at the first four pages of results), but I did see a few informal library pages (created by fans!), as well as communities of librarians and library-enthusiasts to talk shop.  I’ll briefly list some of my favorites:

Library Grrrls is an open community (meaning anyone with an LJ account can join or watch) that markets itself as a space for “discussing library work issues, women’s evolving roles in libraries, and general library bitching or exalting.”  They have 1875 members (!) that post regularly, asking questions and advice, sharing news, and just generally discussing work and play in libraries.

Library Mofos is a moderated community (meaning you have to request to join) that is primarily for venting about library work, rules, patrons, co-workers and so forth. There are LOTS of rules, mostly in regards to privacy and confidentiality. There are 1972 (!!) members and posts seem mostly tongue-in-cheek, though NSFW warnings apply for language, if you couldn’t tell by the name.

Library Grads is a much smaller (97 members) open group of recent or soon-to-be MLS graduates.  Folks are mostly posting to get advice about classes, job interviews, and different position skills and workflow.

Finally, there is an unofficial Multnomah County Library page at MultCoLib!  There are only 49 members and very few posts (none of them recent), but I think it is so cool that a library fan took it upon zerself to form a community and try to have dialog!  Their interests include “big wooden tables” and “inside voices” and ze has posted about programs and services, cool things on the official website, and fun things ze has found in different branches.

Overall, it seems like LiveJournal is a decent platform for community building, but it’s unlikely to be a smart choice for an official library page. Not only is the interface somewhat clunky, it’s just not aesthetically pleasing and is designed more for “journal” style posts and Q&A.  Still, I think it’s neat that these unofficial communities exist and support one another in a mutual love (or frustration with!) libraries.

-Caroline McNabb


One thought on “Whatever Happened to Livejournal?

  1. J. Andrews

    I’m still on Livejournal, although a lot of the people I’m friends with on there mostly post on their own blogs that are just fed to livejournal. Still, it’s nice to be able to go down my flist and see what people are posting about. These aren’t necessarily the same people I’m following on Facebook, and of course their LJ or their blog posts are more in depth than you can get on Facebook.

    Livejournal really struggled with technical issues, regime change, and spam. I believe it’s owned by a Russian company now and it’s actually really big there with political activists, which is where a lot of the spam and Denial of Service attacks came in.

    A lot of users felt like they should stick with LJ through it all because of that reason. It was promoting free speech and being punished for it.

    I do agree that most American libraries probably won’t have much use for it, but it’s good to know about it.


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