elwen: (muuchan)
[personal profile] elwen
Can you relate to this too? 10 Signs You Were Once Obsessed With Livejournal

Oh the inexorable march of time and how things change. I mean, I've never heard of rating communities and the fashion thing, but icons! And friends-only banners, even though I never locked my entire LJ.

When people reminisce about LJ, I always like to note that before blogs, there was an even older predecessor: online journals. Our posts were longer, and less frequent - much more like a paper diary. We didn't have a common host, especially not in the early days, but we stitched ourselves together with "who I read" lists and cross-links within entries.

In fact, the link at the beginning of this post I discovered because it was posted to the Facebook page of a friend I met when we both kept OLJs and discovered our voices were very similar to each other's. (And obviously we both eventually ended up on LJ, before becoming Facebook friends.)

I still remember that there was an influential article that people passed around, about why online journals made sense - even though so seemingly opposite from the private, physical version. It began with something like "When I think about online diaries, I think about sheep." It went on to tell a story about how a farmer found a dead sheep in his flock but thought nothing of it - ascribed it to the cold or sheer randomness. But in countless pastures around him, other farmers were discovering similar phenomena. If the farmers had kept online diaries, sharing their experiences, might they not have found a common thread, larger patterns, and thereby learn something deeper about the world? That was the gist of it. Every now and then I poke around Google trying to find the article again, but I don't remember enough useful keywords and my Google-fu is not good enough.

After OLJs came blogs on personal domains, driven by blogger or Movable Type, alongside Pitas and other hosts whose names I've forgotten. For a while I even kept both an "OLJ" and a blog.

All of the entries, both OLJ and blog, still live on my computer or one of my harddrive backups somewhere, I think. I used to have grand plans of importing them all into the latest incarnation of the journal. The first few iterations of the OLJ were all hand-coded HTML, and there was no concept of separating content from layout, so I would have had to do it manually, or somehow learn to automate it. But in times since, I've become a more private person online. (I was always a private person offline.) I don't think I could bring myself to share those same things anymore. If they're still out there on the internet, that's fine, but I don't think I'll ever intentionally put them back up. Maybe, someday, a carefully culled and slightly re-written selection. Like selections from the papers of some famous scholar after he's dead, ha.

Until then, I'll just keep commenting mostly on media I consume - actually my "book thoughts only" Twitter feed is relatively active these days - and occasionally glimpses into other facets of my life. Though as this post has unfolded, it seems clear to me that the journaling "voice" in my head has never fallen silent. It just can't outcompete all the other demands on my time these days.

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elwen

March 2015

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