LiveJournal (often abbreviated as LJ) is the name of a weblog site that allows Internet users to keep a newspaper or newspaper online. It is also the name of the software of server of open source that was designed to run. The differences between LiveJournal and other blog sites are that LiveJournal includes The WELL-like features with a community and social media features similar to Friendster's.
LiveJournal was created in 1999 by Brad Fitzpatrick as a way to keep his institute friends updated about his activities. In January 2005, the Six Apart blogging software company bought Danga Interactive, the company owned by Fitzpatrick that maintains LiveJournal.
Currently, for 2011, among LJ users, the majority constitute the Russian segment with 5 million active registered users. Its popularity in Russia is way ahead of Facebook or Twitter, being the most used blog site in this country and in the ex-Soviet countries and also used by Russian speakers living all over the world.
A number of features distinguish LiveJournal from other weblog sites, one of which is the "Friends Page", a list of the most recent comments from people included in the "Friends List" (sometimes abbreviated as "flist") - turning LiveJournal into a community of interconnected weblogs, and bringing it closer to being a social software network. Another special feature is the use of the S2 reference system to allow users to customize the appearance and operation of their weblogs.
As in other online services, users can upload a small iconic image, LiveJournal users refer to it as "userpic" or "icon", with which they will be distinguished from the rest of the community (this image function of user is the user avatar). This small optional image can have a maximum resolution of 100x100 pixels. Free LiveJournal users, whose accounts are approximately 98% of the network, have a limit of 16 interchangeable icons. Payment account holders, whose accounts account for 1.6% of the network, can have up to 35, and can pay an optional bonus to get a total of 100.
The icon selected by the user will then appear, if it exists, in the publications on individual pages of users, and in the "Pages of Friends" of other users which have been made by their friend. The user's default icon will be highlighted in the user's main journal.
Each user has a "User Information" page, which is used to describe personal hobbies. It can contain a wide variety of information including contact information, a biography, images (linked from external sites), and lists of friends, hobbies, and communities to which the user belongs.
By mid- November 2005, more than 8.7 million user accounts had been created, of which almost 1.4 million had been updated within the last 30 days. Of those users who entered the date of birth, the vast majority were in the age group between 15 and 23 years of age. Of those who specified a gender, more than two thirds were women.
LiveJournal is more popular in English-speaking countries than in other countries (although there is a language selection function), and for users entering a place, the United States is the most widely represented country.
There is also a considerable contingent of Russia, as many Russians have made LiveJournal their main mechanism for blogging.
The following is a list of statistics collected until November 2005 (based on information provided by users):
Here are the five US states with the highest number of users:
As with most weblogs, users can write comments on outside posts, and thus create a message thread (or thread) in the style of a message forum- each comment can be answered individually and, in this way, a new string is started. All users, including those who do not pay, can customize this feature by choosing from several options: they can order the software to only accept comments from users on their "Friends List" (or "Friends List", hereafter "flist") or that blocks anonymous comments (which means that only registered LiveJournal users can comment on their posts), you can order that any new comments be "filtered" (ie hidden until the author of the post has read it) and approved), or even not allowing any message to be written.
LiverJournal also works as accommodation or "hosting" for communities or group discussion forums, which cover a wide range of topics. (For example, there is a community that deals specifically with Wikipedia (in English).) Each community has one or more users that maintain it and have access to its options and functions.
Some areas of LiveJournal rely heavily on voluntary participation and user contributions. In particular, the LiveJournal Support Area is managed almost exclusively by unpaid volunteers. Similarly, the page web is translated into other languages thanks to the work of volunteers, but these efforts have been reduced due to a growing and widespread frustration, many attribute the cause of this frustration to a certain lack of participation and interest in these issues and problems by the management of LiveJournal.
In the past, LiveJournal software development had been supported by extensive voluntary participation. In February and March 2003 there was even an initiative (nicknamed the Bazaar) to encourage voluntary participation. It was about offering money in exchange for "desired" developments or improvements to the system. The Bazaar initially proposed a regular (monthly) payment scheme. This, however, was paid only once, after which it was neglected and forgotten, without explanations by management, until approximately one year after its creation, when it was closed.
Today, voluntary contributions to the software are considered less and less as possible candidates for inclusion in the system, as the company has acquired more and more employees who are dedicated to the business interests of the organization. This has led to the formation of forks, or alternative systems derived from LiveJournal, many of which introduce new functions, which users would like to find in LiveJournal. In particular, those functions that are frequently discussed in the LiveJournal suggestions community, suggestions (Incidentally, this community is often stereotyped as superfluous, since many of its regular readers feel that LiveJournal has stopped worrying about the ideas of its users, and that today it is dedicated exclusively to implementing those proposed by the development team, especially since its acquisition by Six Apart).
In some cases, and due to legal and administrative concerns, LiveJournal must have prohibited some users from making voluntary contributions.
Certain LiveJournals have become famous over the years, for having especially interesting content, including political comments and anecdotal advice on topics ranging from home care to aquariums. Some also, because they belong to somehow known or successful characters, including several famous writers, graphic artists, media personalities, programmers, etc.
Other newspapers, however, have grabbed attention due to misfortunes associated with their owners. See, for example,
Cases where LiveJournal has had an impact on the "real world" include:
Controversial or dramatic entries can suddenly attract several thousand comments, since the robust social network is usually capable of transmitting alerts to users similarly, external pages such as the Encyclopædia Dramatica or LJ Drama categorize these events and provide links to the newspapers or entries in question.
In Russia, LiveJournal is frequently used as a citizen complaint tool. In 2010, two communities were created within the social network to demand transparency from public officials. Its importance in the former Soviet Union is also evidenced in the fact that former Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has had a blog on the web since April 2009.
Frank the Goat is the mascot of LiveJournal. He is treated as a real living being by many of Livejournal's users, and his brief "biography", as well as his "diary", reflects it.
Occasionally, those who call the PhonePost telephone publications service are informed that "Frank the goat appreciates your call". When this happens, it happens randomly.
The unit, "social network" in LiveJournal is a quatern (with four possible connection states between one user and another). Two users may not be related to each other, as they can have each other as "friends", or be one "friend" of the other, without reciprocity.
The word "friend" in LiveJournal is above all a technical term; however, the word "friend" has a strong emotional charge for many and in some communities such as lj_dev and lj_biz, as well as in suggestions it has been discussed, if the term should be used in this way. This conflict is discussed in greater detail later in this article.
The list of friends of a user (also known as flist) often includes, in addition to individual users, several communities and RSS services. Generally, a user's "friends" have access to protected publications. In addition, this label causes the publications of these "friends" to appear on the "Friends Page" of the user. Friends can also be grouped into "groups of friends", which allows these functions more complex behavior.
This double use of "friend" as someone, who reads, on the one hand and as someone, who is trusted, on the other, does not necessarily coincide with the current use of the term. Among individual users, who populate the list of friends of a particular user, there may even be a mixture of people known through "real-world" friendships, online friendships, users who share certain general interests, and "Friends" for courtesy (reciprocity, when first labeled by this user.) Sometimes, a list of friends represents something at all related to social relationships, something like a reading list, a collection, a puzzle, or something random without some social significance.
The fact that the word "friend" is used in LiveJournal, without qualifications, to describe such diametrically distinct units, can sometimes result in conflicts and susceptible susceptibilities, as well as in various misunderstandings. The situation is intensified by the fact that marking or unchecking a user as a "friend" is as simple as pressing a button, while in real life friendships develop and disintegrate over long periods of time. Since the creation of a "friends" relationship in LiveJournal does not require the permission of anyone, and only the action by an individual user is enough, any user can mark any other as a friend. Many users have apprehensions, and fear being marked as "friend" of some controversial character or, from someone who they decidedly don't want to have as a friend, in any way. To combat this, a function has been created that allows users to "hide" the list of users who have marked them as friends.
The 1st of April of 2004 (Anglo - Saxon feast similar to April Fool's Day), the team of Livejournal made a joke that the terms "friend" and "friend" for "harassed" ("stalking") and "harassed changed by" ("stalked by"). Although many users found it funny and proposed to keep the new terms, the matter caused contoversy, particularly among victims of harassment.
Despite these problems, the word friend is still used to define these multifaceted relationships in Livejournal. It is presumed that this reflects the intention of the designers, that LiveJournal goes beyond being an online organizational structure, and becomes something like a community, analogous to the concept existing in the "offline" world.
From 2 of September of 2001 until December of December of 2003, the growth of LiveJournal was controlled with a system of invitations. That measure was precipitated by the fact that the number of users grew too fast and the system architecture could not support that load. The introduction of an invitation system meant that new users were forced to obtain an invitation code through an already active user, or they could acquire a new account by paying a certain amount (paid type accounts are reverted to free type accounts at the end of the contract period). The invitation system also had the effect of preventing the abuse of certain users by restricting the creation of several accounts at once, which in many cases were not used. New improvements in the system architecture allowed LiveJournal to remove the invitation system.
As soon as LiveJournal removed the invitation system there were various reactions among users, and many of them opposed the change. A good number of users felt that the invitation system gave LiveJournal a touch of elitism, while others argued that it helped create a smaller and more united community. Other users, including those responsible for administering LiveJournal, responded to these criticisms by saying that the invitation system had been implemented from the beginning only as a temporary measure.
Decisions of the anti-abuse team
Danga Interactive, the company that created LiveJournal, was initially created by Fitzpatrick who also initially owned the company as a whole. While LiveJournal was growing, several companies made purchase offers to Fitzpatrick but from the beginning rejected any offer since they did not want to leave their project (which he called his "baby") in the hands of others who did not share the basic principles of the site. These principles were: dependence on the income of the accounts paid to finance the operations of the site, the opposition of deploying commercial advertising in LiveJournal, a support model through volunteers and the support of the free software movement. However, as the administrative aspect began to consume more and more of Fitzpatrick's time, he began to take acquisition offers seriously since he preferred to focus on the technical aspect of LiveJournal. Finally Ben and Mena Trott, co-founders of Six Apart, joined Fitzpatrick and were able to gain their trust by demonstrating that they shared the basic principles that Fitzpatrick had established for LiveJournal. Fitzpatrick decided that selling LiveJournal to Six Apart would allow him to develop technical aspects while knowledge of Six Apart could improve usability and site design. Six Apart's interest in buying LiveJournal and Danga originated from the fact that they already owned other products that allowed blogging.
Rumors of the impending sale of Danga to Six Apart were initially reported by journalist Om Malik of Business 2.0 magazine on his blog on January 4, 2005. The rumor spread immediately and users started a discussion about the sales possibilities of the company that owned LiveJournal.
The next day, it began to be assumed that there were great changes among which was the rumor that LiveJournal would require all its users to pay for their bills. Such was the panic caused that many users made copies of their diaries and impacted the performance of the site. Within a few hours Fitzpatrick confirmed the sale of LiveJournal and insisted that the company's fundamental principles would not be affected by the acquisition. Fitzpatrick also explained that he and the other Danga employees would continue to run LiveJournal and that he had determined before selling that Six Apart was committed to retaining the fundamental principles of the site.
The vast majority of users supported Fitzpatrick's decision but there were some who criticized the fact that Six Apart did not fully support free software as it was selling "proprietary software". There was also disagreement about the changes made to the LiveJournal principles document. Also, although some users trusted Fitzpatrick, after the sale they felt that he no longer had control over the site.
Those who supported Fitzpatrick published several responses to the statements made against him and his company. They noted that the vast majority of LiveJournal's code would continue to be open source since their license was under the GPL. They also noted that the majority of changes to the principles document were mostly changes to words to avoid legal problems (this document was never intended to be a legal contract).
Other people who supported Fitzpatrick stated that, since Fitzpatrick was the sole owner of Danga Interactive, he had every right to sell the company to anyone he wanted without consulting the user base.
Finally, Fitzpatrick himself stated that he had tired of the administrative aspect of the site to the point that he had even considered closing it. Fitzpatrick said: "I knew I would have closed the site on my own if I didn't get help".
The software running LiveJournal is open source and is written primarily in Perl. Thanks to this fact several communities have been designed with LiveJournal software. With the exception of DeadJournal and GreatestJournal these communities are usually unstable and short-lived. An example of this is the closure of uJournal in August 2004, a fact that left about 100,000 serverless accounts before they were transferred to AboutMyLife. Another example is Journalfen, which has been taken offline several times and has been plagued by spam although it has tried to maintain its focus on a single community.