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Howdy all,

I've been thinking about how I write lately, in part since what scant bits and bobs I have written in the last year or two has been brain-meltingly bad. The primary realisation I came to is that, consciously, I am a terrible writer. Every time I stop to mull over a word, or a tone, or any one of an army of matters grammatical, syntactical and or verbal, I lock up and instead unleash descriptive effluent upon the world. In order to write well, I have to avoid thinking about the act of writing.

I've been on Livejournal for the best part of a decade, and what I have done here has taken many forms, both positive and negative. But the purpose of posting here has now changed so often that it's very hard to distinguish what the point is - the notion of Livejournal as a community has evaporated in the last few years, which is a shame since that was one of its major strengths. I sued to spend hours wandering through links in a prototypical iteration of the Wikipedia Disease looking at different people and writing styles and uses and... Now I don't. In part, this is down to a lack of time; to a greater extent, it's because no one really posts about how awesome this girl X or this guy Y is anymore. The population is so ridiculously vast now that the community has been subsumed into a grand and utterly anonymous blogging city.

This is not meant as a slight against the site - structures evolve, things change, people move on. It is however indicative of how my reasons for looking to greener pastures. My ex-girlfriends are nice people, but were I single tomorrow I would not just get back into bed with them: we are now very different from who we were, so looking for the same things from each other would be regressive at best. Meanwhile, there's too much history for a fresh start. What else can you do but move forward into the great unknown?

Much like a good 90% of the people I know here, I've been blogging elsewhere for the last few months. Slowly but surely, the output is increasing and the quality is on the rise. I won't be deleting this journal any time in the foreseeable future - it is a rather significant chunk of my life put down in writing, and it will be a long time before everyone I know that might wonder what I've been babbling about will find their way along. It can be nice to touch base, and it's always nice to get other points of view, however much disparity of opinion there is. I'll be around from time to time, but who knows when that may be? So then, the move is made and the dip is plunged: to arms! I can be found at Turn My Brain Off - be sure to say hello.

I've noticed the same thing. LJ used to be a thriving community where it was easy to connect with new people, but over the past few years it's kinda dissipated in that respect. I used to check it out a few times a day, now I check it out once, maybe twice a week.

I partially blame Facebook and Twitter. But, why blame? There will always be something new. However, the difference with those two is that with Facebook you mostly follow family and friends. With Twitter, you mindlessly follow celebrities. The former awesomeness of LJ just doesn't really exist in those places.
I was discussing this with someone a few days ago, and part of the conclusion that was reached is that it was the removal of the invite system that acted as the turning point. Until then, there was at least some vague social connection present, but once that was removed it became just another blogging system. I can understand the reasons for doing so - the ability to make LJ an occupation that can be lived off, as opposed to a time-consuming side project that gives little return, would tempt anyone in that position. On a rational level, I shouldn't complain that what I have been getting for free is now different, and it is better to miss something than regard it with no feeling at all.

Facebook and Twitter... I'm not sure they are actually blameless - they're not really designed for the long form, whereas Livejournal is. I think that had they come along sooner, they might in fact have removed the rather pressing need to revise LJ to meet the demand. But this is all hypothetical - each has a purpose as you suggest. Facebook is for me about staying directly in touch with friends and family I otherwise might not be able to with so much convenience; LJ is more about presenting something of a greater worth and scale than "I'm eating sausages!" every ten minutes. Twitter is something I back and forth on - the status function is useful, but I think it's being overutilised as an alternate Facebook when it has a greater potential in a professional sphere.

I think it boils down to a matter of novelty as well - people love new things, and enjoy the idea of being on the cutting edge, irrespective of how cutting edge they might actually be. LJ was novel in its initial open period, but has since found its carcass stripped (people are posting significantly less, even if they haven't moved to other blogging clients); Twitter, now that the sheen of the new has worn off (and the constant DNS attacks have been made rather public) seems to be losing steam. If they ended up charging for using Facebook, that will find itself similarly castrated.

But you're right - none of it really replicates the sense of grouping that LJ once had. The flash, alas, has been let out of the bottle!