Warning: I may have gone a little crazy with the gifs. Please forgive me. They’re really fun.
As a generation, mine is creepily sentimental about things we probably shouldn’t be. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ’90’s, but there are a lot of things I don’t miss about my youth. Some ex-classmates from my elementary school were getting super sappy and unrealistically melancholy about junior high the other night, and I wanted to go all witch from The Princess Bride where I start screaming “BOO! BOO!” at them.
I mean, I miss goofing off at recess the same as anyone else, but I think all the girls in my class forgot about all the arguments and tears that came down over boys, competition, and a number of other pressures.
What I do miss from my past, is Livejournal.
Livejournal was *kind of* a social media website from the ’00’s, but the thing that made it different was that it also wasn’t. Sure, you had friends on it, but it was still a journal. While it wasn’t a diary, it wasn’t far off, and you probably just called it that because your friends made fun of you if you called it a diary.
THE PROS OF LIVEJOURNAL
Acquaintances Became Friends Fast
Whether you found their name because they gave it to you or because you were friends with someone they were friends with, when you went to somebody’s journal, it was easy to become part of someone’s life quickly. Sometimes, it was a circle of trust, and when it wasn’t, it felt more like a hostage situation.
Sometimes the posts were about going to see the musical Rent before it became a movie, but more than likely it was about how awesome or terrible their day was which was made up of a lot of little minute information that really spelled out who they were and what they were going through.
The Heart of the Matter
In real life, it could take someone forever to figure out what their friend was going through. If you had Livejournal, it didn’t usually take that long.
Livejournal friends were possibly unlike other social media friends, because you read their personal thoughts daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. There weren’t status updates or tweets, so there were no limits as to how long or detailed your posts could be. And damn, could they be detailed.
Which meant that when you became friends with someone on LJ, you really had to commit. They were sharing their personal stories and intimate lives with you. This didn’t always mean it was mutual or you guys were bffs, but there was a big level of “accept or go elsewhere.” You couldn’t just be friends with someone and NOT follow them.
“Love Will Keep Us Together”
Because of how much sharing was going on (a LOT), this meant that you were close to your Livejournal friends in ways that other social media, and sometimes not even your real life friends, could even touch. Not unlike Instant Messenger friends, you could end up listening for hours.
Which meant that when they were in for tough times, and it’s LJ so this was most of the time, you had their backs. Just today, one of my old LJ friends mentioned that people had said some rude things to her, and my reaction was, “Who are they? I’ll cut them!” Just like that.
If you knew each other IRL, you were often featured in their entries
A friend of mine once posted, “I don’t really update this very often, because the main friend who reads this is with me most of the time. And she knows what happens, because she was there.”
It also meant that if you were lived in different cities or went to different schools, you automatically felt closer when you were apart.
You LJ Friends Were There for You…well, most of them were
Because you had secrets on each other, when you were freaking out or breaking down, they were there.
I have a friendship I put a lot of miles into, and even though I could have wrung her neck a few hundred times, and her mine, we are somehow still on speaking terms. Because every time I was having an emotional patch of hell in my yard, she was never far to chime in that she was there for me. Of course, this site almost ruined our friendship over the years as well, but we also let each other see posts we probably never would have said aloud to one another.
Really There for You
Not Everyone You Know was on it
Only a small subset of the population was there. Which meant you guys knew stuff everyone else didn’t about each other.
So instead of singing the beige song you knew all your friends, co-workers, and family members would find acceptable, you could be honest. In depth. Real.
There’s something magical and tragic about a picture that can only be 100×100.
I belonged to 1,000 different icon makers. It became my life. It even temporarily became my hobby.
You could make your own, and they could be gifs. There was a competitive aspect, but 1) it was about the quirkiest shit and 2) it was passive aggressive as hell.
I Don’t Have to F^@&ing Impress You
Plus, you didn’t have to worry as much since the people that were on it either followed you or didn’t. Who cares what “the masses” think? You only have 12 friends on here!
The Collective Day
Since there are a limited number of moods on Livejournal (actual moods, not mood icons), sometimes everyone was having THE SAME DAY.
You Could Procrastinate TOGETHER
THE CONS OF LIVEJOURNAL
Debbie Downers Galore
Sometimes, you had a rough day, and you just wanted to feel better. Then you got on and started reading someone’s crappy entry, and you just…ARGH!
And sometimes even when they weren’t being mopey zoo animals or you got past those entries, it was just too late.
Because of all the information all the time, when you got into a fight, mis-communicated with someone, or they got angry at what you said, things went down the drain, like WHOA. As fast as things on dial-up and DSL can go.
I once had a fight with someone on that website that lasted so many weeks that I actually had to end our friendship, because I was beginning to become exhausted all the time from the anger and disappointment the fight was taking out of me. All I did was think about it and respond to their comments. That fight changed my life, and not in the positive way that people normally use when they say the word “change” in past tense.
On the other hand, sometimes your friends posted very briefly and ambiguously. Or not at all. Or they DID post, but the entries were private. According to a LJ friend, there’s a way to figure out when your friends are posting but are limiting who can see the posts.
This meant when their posts dwindled, you weren’t sure if they were mad at you or if they weren’t on LJ anymore. What was that last post supposed to mean anyway? Was that about you??
Let Me Count the Ways
Like I said, one could spend a lot of time sifting through friends’ LJ posts. You had to read through paragraphs and paragraphs of shit your friends wrote. Or if you were me, you had to read through the dozens of poems your one friend posted each day.
Do I Know You?
If you had Livejournal friends you also saw regularly, there was only a limited number of skimming you could do. Because they would figure out pretty fast if you weren’t reading their entries.
This could be a good thing if your friendship was on the line and you had to read through too many of their plentiful and Guy Pierce in Memento ramblings. Sometimes life is about more than making the same jokes over and over again.
With all the information and feelings flying around, it only made sense that sometimes you heard too much.
Pete and Repeat
And you had to read the same types of entries from your friends ad nauseam. It can get old.
In the words of T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics, “Feelings are boring, kissing is awesome” But Livejournal didn’t really have a kissing option. Meaning you got a lot of this…
I do miss the congregating at that site. You knew who your friends were.
Gifs brought to you by the Reaction Gif page! (Except “boo” which I just found through Google and Matt Smith the 11th Doctor icon which is from Fanpop.com) This post is in no way affiliated with Livejournal, I’ve just been using the site a long time and believe it deserves more attention than it gets these days.