1. [Do not] announce your departure or hiatus to the world. “Goodbye my Internet Friends Forever” is always a mistake. If you want to leave or go on a break, just do so. When you announce it, people feel that you’re begging for compliments. Also, if you don’t absolutely mean it, you look like a total idiot when you come back the next day and post that “What Pokemon are you” quiz. And if you’re trying to avoid evil stalkers, you just gave them free information; don’t ever do that!
The reality of things is that I have not looked at my LiveJournal friends page since October 5th. This is not through conscious decision (“goodbye, my LJ friends forever!”), but mainly due to convenience, workflow, and waning interest. That’s not to say that I am disinterested in what folks have to say over there — I just do not always think about it and when I do, it almost doesn’t seem worth the effort of logging in, navigating around, and reading the large backlog of missed posts. I am not giving up on LiveJournal; I just find that it is less and less relevant to my interests.
I started writing about my life in this thing called “a blog,” short for “web log,” back in August of 2001 after being introduced to the concept by burningskyz. It caught on like wildfire in my social group. We all joined LiveJournal and wrote about all variety of things. As RSS became more mature, I started using my journal’s friend list as a way of reading other blogs. Eventually, I got myself a proper RSS reader and migrated those feeds out of LiveJournal — splitting my reading time between reader and journal. These days, my online reading time is mainly split between Google Reader and Twitter, with a touch of Facebook on the side. After toying with LiveJournal’s poorly thought out OpenID implementation (flawed in that I could read protected entries but not comment on them), my online writing moved completely to my site (syndicated to LJ via brianenigma_rss). LJ reading and writing simply dropped by the wayside.
I have subscribed to a few people’s journals with Google Reader, which is nice but not a complete replacement for reading LiveJournal. One of the features that is unique to LJ — and used by many of my friends — is the ability to post things as friend-locked entries. Obviously, these do not appear in the RSS feed, and so I never see them in Google Reader. I know of no easy way around this. A couple of months ago, someone posted a squirrely little Perl script to JWZ’s journal that gets an RSS feed of all of your friends (not the default group or other sub-groups, but everything). The output of that script would then have to be a public-ish RSS feed for Google Reader to ingest, and that completely subverts the concept of posts being friend-locked by making them public enough for Google to see. Given the choice of turning people’s friend-locked entries to public (in a hidden feed somewhere, but still technically public) and simply not reading LJ via Reader, I am choosing the latter.
So that is my long-winded way of saying LiveJournal has gotten old and while I have not completely given up on it yet, the reality is that is has been a month and a half since I looked at it. Goodbye, my LiveJournal friends for another month and a half. See you in the new year.
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P.S. If someone really does know how to get LJ friend groups, including protected entries, into Google Reader, then you are an amazing person and must share this information post-haste! Mainly, I am looking for a solution with the following features:
- Allows me to view protected entries within Google Reader, preferably with an indicator that the post is public versus protected
- Doesn’t require me to divulge a password in plaintext (for instance, within a URL parameter that can be seen in proxy logs, in OPML exports, or handed over to a 3rd party server/service)
- Understands LiveJournal groups. I have groups defined on LJ for California, PDX, ARGs, and whatnot. As I discover and add new people on LJ, I really do not want to have to manually add them to the right groups on both LJ and Google Reader. I know myself and know I’ll forget an update. They will quickly get out of sync.