June 18th, 2009


*** EDIT: corrected some double entries of text and reformatted into cleaner paragraphs

I invite you to take a look through my archive as well as this introductory post.

LiveJournal has been here for ten years and some of its users nearly that long. What LJ does well has never been duplicated -- it's community driven, it's content driven. It's users are content producers. LJ is unique in social networking sites in that it has become a valuable repository for people's memories -- it truly has taken the place of a paper journal and many people have forsaken their handwritten diaries for an LJ which has many additional benefits but one serious drawback -- the threat of impermanence. While many people probably wouldn't consider trying to archive their Facebook status updates, many of us look to our LiveJournal's as an official personal history -- a document that needs to be preserved for future reference and grows in value each day.

The reason that I'm running for this position is that I feel there are gaping flaws in LiveJournal's ability to be able to continue to shoulder these responsibilities.

1) LiveJournal needs a server side backup and restore feature, which includes comments. In the past year I've seen too many people's accounts deleted and replaced with advertisements -- and was shocked to discover that LiveJournal has no method to restore these. Years of people's lives lost.

2) LiveJournal also needs a global search and replace mechanism. Over the years as users move from image-host to image-host (perhaps from someplace like tripod.com to a place like Photobucket, and maybe to their own web server) their images need to stay. Currently, if you switch image hosts the user needs to manually update every entry.

In addition to those are a number of smaller things: It should be easier to look through back entries rather than having to page day by day. The spell-check should be integrated, LJ should investigate a new "read this user" feature to distinguish between actual friends whom you want to share you secrets with, and people who's journals you simply want to read.

LJ asks that I answer the following questions:

What do you think is the value of LiveJournal?
The thing that sets LiveJournal apart from other social networking sites is that it is community based and driven by content producers. It is a place for creative people to write, to produce, to share, reveal secrets, or keep them. The things that are good about LJ have not been duplicated by any other social networking site. It is a precious place which occupies a large place in my heart and I want, desperately, for it to continue.

What changes would you like to see LiveJournal make in the next year?

1) The biggest change the LiveJournal needs to make is in recognizing that its users have spent hundreds or thousands of hours creating their presence here. Recently we've seen a wave of attacks by malicious individuals or groups who delete peoples accounts and replace them with links to malware websites. In the grand scheme of things, this is probably to be expected. But it is inconceivable that LiveJournal has no way to restore deleted accounts. This boggles my mind. What it says to users is "don't trust us with your work." There needs to be a mechanism for backing up and restoring LJ accounts. LiveJournal needs to realize that they are a mechanism for people's memories.

2) Users need to be able to search and replace their old entries.

3) Reading back entries should be easier -- LJ will let you go "back X entries" for a while but eventually defaults to "previous day".

Why do you want to be the elected representative?
It is with great reluctance that I do this. I have plenty of other things I can be spending my time on, but I fear that if I don't do this, it won't get done. This is in large part for selfish reasons because I want to know that in fifty years the work that I've put into this community every day will be somewhere, that it will be readable, viewable, that it won't simply evaporate.

What do you think are the community’s greatest concerns?
Impermanence. Users want to know that LiveJournal will be here in the next ten years. LiveJournal also needs to figure out how to exist in a world with Facebook, twitter, and the other places which have come to glue the Internet community together. Growing the paid user base is important to this primary goal.

What skills, qualifications, or unique perspective do you think you would bring to this position?
I've been a member of LiveJournal since 2002, I've built up a community of friends here, people I care about and people I wouldn't have met otherwise. I understand the dynamics of groups of large people with differing opinions. As the moderator of photographers, a community with more than ten thousand members I've been able to maintain a space which is exciting, informative, welcoming and nearly drama-free under the single guiding principle "be nice". I think that goes a long way. In all this time on LJ I've never treated another user with disrespect.

MG Puck

LiveJournal Nomination to the Advisory Board

My name is Michael Griffith, I am an Associate Professor in Literature at an Australian University and I am nominating myself as a candidate for the 2009 Advisory Board Election.  I have been using LiveJournal for around 5 years chiefly with my university literature students who have grown creatively (in word and image) as a result of their use of LiveJournal. I have found it an amazing tool to add value to what happens in the lecture and/or tutorial room. Students have been able to develop their capacity for writing stories, poems, essays even plays and for sharing important experiences in their lives. LiveJournal has provided a space for them to grow as a creative and interactive community.
I would make a good representative because I have been working with LiveJournal as a serious educational tool for the last 5 years and see it as having real flexibility for students to be able to express their own individuality. I would enjoy the challenge of improving the product.
This semester I have taken another leap forward and have actually managed to use the structure of LiveJournal to allow students to create e-portfolios of their current, ongoing creative work. I have hands-on experience with LiveJournal having helped nearly 1000 students over the past 5 years get up to speed with this great Web 2 technology. My LJ site contains links to some of my students' best work: http://michaelgriffith.livejournal.com