the one and only truly amazing katster (katster) wrote,
the one and only truly amazing katster

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LJ selling out? Say it ain't so!

So, by now, you've probably all heard the rumors and/or the confirmations we're seeing across the blogosphere that Six Apart (or 6A) is going to buy LJ. Here's the Eweek article that seems to confirm it. Here's the inevitable Metafilter thread, in which insomnia says he has no comment on the matter--which leans towards there being truth in the rumor. And here, crschmidt seems to confirm the rumors as well:

Since it seems that the news about LiveJournal and SixApart becoming one really is true, I’ll toss some more thoughts out there. Someone will probably read through all these posts eventually, especially if they want to avoid another snafu like the one that Movable Type’s licensing changes caused.

Now, I'm speaking both as somebody who uses Movable Type (or MT, the major product of 6A) and LJ. MT powers the NFZ, and I deliberately made that choice partly because I wanted to play with MT, but partly because LJ didn't quite have the same je ne sais quoi for doing a weblog. So, I started a totally seperate blog. What I do on LJ is mainly for my friends to read about what's going on in my life, and about me. My weblog is for politcs mainly and doesn't really concern my life either on or off the net. As I mentioned in the comments thread on crschmidt's weblog, the two are very different things. LJ is where I keep up with my friends. NFZ is where I want complete strangers to read what I've wrote. Now, I grant you, since I post publically, there's the potential for crossover, but for the most part, this seems to be the distinction.

And I'm not the only person who thinks this. As zephoria puts it:

Jump inside LJ culture. People who use LJ talk about their LJs, not their blogs. They mock bloggers who want to be pundits, journalists, experts. In essence, they mock the culture of bloggers that use Six Apart's tools. During interviews with LJ/Xanga folks, i've been told that MovableType is for people with no friends, people who just talk to be heard, people who are trying too hard.


I would love to know why people donate to LiveJournal. My hunch is that it has to do with cultural identity. When you donate, it says so on your page. When you donate, you signify that you value LJ. Forget increased features, you've just made the ultimate commitment to a community - a commitment of money. And aren't you jealous of the permanent members and early adopters?

In fact, my first thought upon hearing the rumor, in griffen's journal last night was "Oh shit, I hope it's not true." My second thought, as I poked around and seemed to have it confirmed, was "Oh shit, what happens to the community? What happens to my expression of faith in the community, as evidenced by shelling out for a permanent account?" Because that's what it comes down to. People have made the ultimate expressions of faith in something they're doing, and that is putting their time and money into a project. And thus, to have this happen makes it feel as if brad and the other LJ higherups are selling us all out to benefit themselves.

It wasn't until somebody posted a link to the Social Contract that I realized why I was having this feeling of disquiet about the whole thing. Because stated right there as number one is this principle:

Work with the community, for the community
We promise to keep you informed of changes to the best of our abilities without being intrusive. We promise to run our business based on feedback from the LiveJournal community, and with the LiveJournal community's best interests in mind.

Ahhh. Yeah, I don't really think that this is in the best interests of LJ, and obviously, judging by some of the reaction in news and lj_maintenance, that I am the only one who thinks this way. And tomorrow, when that announcement comes out that 6A has bought LJ comes out in news (since I am pretty sure the rumors are truth, judging by what I've said above), there will be a bloodbath that makes the time brad tried to impliment posting and comment limits look like a nice sunny afternoon in the park. (And the fact that I can make that point and have most of the people on my friends list knowing what I mean is part of the allure of LJ.)

And if that first social principle is being broke, what is to stop them from breaking the rest of them? What is going to stop 6A from changing their minds about it six months down the road? Mind you, this is the same corporation that drastically alienated its users with the upgrade from MT2 to MT3. (I looked at it at that point, and gulped, because at that point it would have cost hundreds if not thousands to update the NFZ. The cost is now about a hundred bucks, but a hundred bucks isn't easy to come by, which is why it was quite the expression of faith to pay a hundred bucks to LJ to get my permanent account.) So, to be utterly frank, I don't trust 6A not to screw us over.

We'll see what happens. But I would make sure you have a backup of all your LJ entries and be ready to move, because I'm not sure that 6A understands what LJ is and what we've done here in making this not just a journaling service, but a community.

And this is my thoughts. Hope they make some modicum of sense.

[Edit 1/5/05 9:17 PM: It's official. So here's the scoop, guys, the way I see it, in all honesty. brad says things won't be changing much. brad says to give them six months. Okay. I'm willing to do that. I'll back up everything I have, but I'm willing to give them a shot before I go committing to another journal service, because in all honesty, I'm happy here. We'll see what happens.]

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