LiveJournal

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.

Features

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.

Demography

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):

  • United States - 4,101,631
  • Canada - 296,613
  • United Kingdom - 237,813
  • Russian Federation - 236,916
  • Australia - 108,946

Here are the five US states with the highest number of users:

  • California - 901.972
  • Florida - 566,198
  • New York - 526,791
  • Michigan - 434,804
  • Texas - 388,144

Interaction between 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.

Notable users and diaries

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,

  • Rachelle Waterman's diary, username smchyrocky, a teenager in Alaska, who was arrested on November 19, 2004 for the alleged murder of her mother. His last entry contains a reference to his mother's death.
  • The Journal of John Dallas Lockhart, username ohbutyouwillpet, a lawyer for 36 - year-old who escaped from Ohio, United States to avoid being charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of children, including an infant four months old.
  • Jeff Weise's diary, username weise, a high school student in Red Lake, Minnesota responsible for the massacre at Red Lake High School.

Cases where LiveJournal has had an impact on the "real world" include:

  • homeless_at_nyu: In 2004 Steven Stanzak's newspaper, a "homeless" student at New York University (NYU), received extensive national attention in the United States. Stanzak had lived in the NYU library for 8 months, since he couldn't afford the expensive student housing. The student made his adventure a chronicle in his LiveJournal and, eventually, captured the interest of the media, as well as the attention of the university's board of directors, who eventually granted him free accommodation temporarily and increased his financial aid.
  • ea_spouse: Another user who generated extensive discussion was the (so far) anonymous, known as ea spouse. This user created a newspaper with the purpose of making complaints about possibly illegal business practices on the EA Games website. In November 2004, the veracity of these complaints was discussed for several days at sites such as Penny Arcade and Slashdot, until a week later a class action lawsuit was filed against EA, concerning irregularities in the salaries of its employees.
  • Interdictor: Michael Barnett, the head of an internet company in times of crisis, who witnessed Hurricane Katrina in person, from a data collection center in the Commercial District of New Orleans, and documented in his blog the passage of Hurricane through the area, becoming famous overnight.

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.

Use in Russia

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

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.

Establishing social networks

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.

Controversies

Invitation System

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

As LiveJournal has grown, administrators have had to face problems about the content found on the site. Due to these problems, LiveJournal has defined terms of use, just like many other Web servers. The terms of use detail freedom of expression, but at the same time include a list of unacceptable behaviors such as spamming, copyright violations and harassing other users. LiveJournal created an "anti-abuse team" to monitor compliance with the terms of the contract. This team is the entity responsible for responding to any claim that may be filed for copyright violations of the law.

The "anti-bus team" has been criticized several times for its way of dealing with alleged violations of the terms. Many users have expressed that the team has reacted too severely to cases of alleged violations of the terms of the contract (or the opposite, which has allowed certain obvious violations to remain unpunished). In November 2004a controversy was generated, when a document destined for the "anti-bulky equipment" came to light before its official publication. It was inevitable that comparisons would be made between the document and the terms of use and some users felt that the new document was more restrictive than the original terms of use (while the opinion of others was that the broad contents of the terms of use already covered what the new document dictated). The new document has been officially published, as planned.

A small group of users who have been affected by the "anti-abuse team" policies have decided to leave LiveJournal in favor of other blog servers, but this group is tiny compared to the vast LiveJournal user base. The new LiveJournal policies have generated among many the opinion that LiveJournal is a server for teenagers, personal diaries and social networks. But that is very restrictive when it comes to formal Web journalism. The opinion of others is that the "anti-abuse team" is performing its function as it should and has only restricted/blocked users with bad intentions or with a history of various violations of the terms of use. Naturally, in the opinion of that team, LiveJournal is a server that does allow Web journalism prudently, as long as there is no violation of the terms of use.

Sale to Six Apart

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.

Reaction of the user community

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".

Other sites that run under the LiveJournal engine

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.

Chronological line of LiveJournal

1999

  • As March 18 as 1999 - LiveJournal is launched (the first entry:, the first version of the server code:)
  • As November 17 as 1999 - The journal titled news is created.

2000

  • Of April 1 of 2000 - are introduced the "Message Boards" (allow comments on entries journals)
  • Of maypole 21 of 2000 - is added the title line inputs
  • Of August 2 of 2000 - the option "Interests" is added to the user information (interest)
  • Of August 3 of 2000 - The first version of Directory Search (Search Directory) is put in the phase Beta development.
  • Of August 15 of 2000 - First version of the Support Forum (The oldest requirement still stands on the site:)
  • As August 22 as 2000 - The theme directory is implemented. (Has ceased to exist)
  • Of August 25 of 2000 - are introduced the Text Messages.
  • Of September 13 of 2000 - the benefits of paid accounts are definene.
  • Of November 14 of 2000 - User visions developed the first version of its Windows client.
  • As December 1 as 2000 - Birth of the journal changelog.
  • As December 16 as 2000 - The Communities (Communities) are implemented.

2001

  • As January December as 2001 - scheme is introduced Dystopia for the site.
  • As March 18 as 2001 - Born surveys created by users.
  • As March 24 as 2001 - LiveJournal The server code is converted to open source.
  • Of maypole 16 of 2001 - the first support privilege is granted: support help.
  • Of September 2 of 2001 - invitation codes are introduced.
  • Of November 4 of 2001 - avva becomes the first full - time employee.

2002

  • On January 5 of 2002 - A user debugging runs for the first time to remove user names that had been blocked or deleted.
  • 2 of February of 2002 - a cluster database is organized.
  • Of April 1 of 2002 - New category of support: Communities (Communities).
  • As April 14 as 2002 - LJ is changed to UTF-8.
  • Of maypole 3 of 2002 - the translation of the Web interface to other languages starts.
  • Of July 3 of 2002 - Zilla (database for tracking errors and projects) is created (The first entry to the base: (link available on Internet Archive, see history and the latest version).)
  • As July 8 as 2002 - is introduced RSS.
  • On August 22 of 2002 - the first interim privileges are introduced.
  • Of November 26 of 2002 - The category of support, Customization (Personalization) closes.
  • Of December 29 of 2002 - the category is added Syndication (Syndication) support to the area.

2003

  • Of January 16 of 2003 - The programming language Style System 2 (style S2) it is put in the phase Beta testing.
  • As March 18 as 2003 - the scheme is introduced XColibur site.
  • Of April November of 2003 - LiveJournal reaches the million users.
  • Of October 24 of 2003 - the system is introduced to enter articles via e-mail (email)
  • Of October 29 of 2003 - New category of support: Style Systems (System Styles)
  • Of November December of 2003 - the system that allows users to enter new items are introduced telephonically.
  • Of December December of 2003 - invitation codes are eliminated.
  • Of December December of 2003 - LiveJournal transmits announcements in theaters: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Denver.
  • Of December 17 of 2003 - it is authorized that the invitation codes that were not used are put to use as LiveJournal coupons until 31 December.

2004

  • Of January 2 of 2004 - admission system changes (login) and password (user keys) are performed.
  • Of January 29 of 2004 - LiveJournal reaches two million users.
  • Of February 12 of 2004 - The first colorbar (color bar) is released.
  • Of maypole December of 2004 - LiveJournal wins the "People's Voice" award at the Webby Awards in the category of Community (Community).
  • Of July 22 of 2004 - LiveJournal provides services photo server through a union with FotoBilder.
  • Of November 19 of 2004 - The LiveJournal of Rachelle Waterman reaches notoriety after being arrested on charges of orchestrating the murder of his mother.

2005

  • On January 5 of 2005 - Brad Fitzpatrick sells Danga Interactive and LiveJournal at Six Apart for an undisclosed amount (but was estimated to exceed one million dollars),
  • On January 14 and 15 of January of 2005 - The Company managing servers LJ InterNap suffers a power outage. As a result, LiveJournal is offline for more than 24 hours while Fitzpatrick and the other Administrators work to restore more than 100 servers. The Slashdot news site reports the incident at 3:30 GMT. This incident was named "The Great LJ Blackout of 2005" of "The Great Blackout of LJ of 2005".
  • Of April 22 of 2005 - The winners of the second annual design competition are presented: (names in English) A Novel Conundrum, 3 Column Style, Tranquility II, Flexible Squares and Nebula.
  • Of June 1 of 2005 - Several updates: Entries by telephone como.mp3 are saved, most winners of the design competition are implemented for use by users and "journals" eliminated for more than thirty days they are deleted servers.
  • On June 7 of 2005 - LiveJournal initiates a sale of 24 hours allows users to buy the permanent accounts for $150 each.
  • As June 15 as 2005 - LiveJournal initiates full support for tags (bullets).
  • Of July 19 of 2005 - New category Support: Issue Investigation (Investigation of problems) whereas the categories of Embedding (Insert) and Press (press) are closed.
  • November 18 - 19 of November of 2005 - The data center moves from Internap, located in Seattle to the base of Six Apart in San Francisco.
 

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