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19 June 2009 @ 02:21 pm
Vote for Cheesemon and Provocative Mainstream!  
A few weeks ago, Oprah interviewed the creators Twitter and Facebook. Here are some of the things that I remember being said:

- "We started the term friending .."
- "You can poke others who haven't been updating .."
- "We have communities that you can take part in .."
- "Privacy is important, so we created a way for you to make your journal private .."

While Oprah was shocked as each new feature was listed, I'm sitting here thinking, "Wait, isn't this Livejournal?"

And it could've been Livejournal. Livejournal was a pioneer, many social sites may not have even been around without it laying the foundation! However, somewhere along the timeline, it lost its will to compete.

Heck, I was on a site recently that asked you to share it through the following sites:

According to this long list, Livejournal is even less popular than Mister Wong! (Who is Mister Wong anyway??)

So this is my platform: I want to focus on marketing and branding LJ, I want to bring the activity back to the communities and your comments. Since I saw those interviews, I've been brainstorming ways that Livejournal could compete with giants like Facebook and Twitter, and with a chance to sit in the Advisory Committee, I'm sure I can bring some of these ideas to the table.

Here's where I will be pouring my resources into:

  • Marketing: Livejournal needs to brand itself and start a campaign proudly declaring itself as the superior alternative. This campaign needs to be aggressive yet cost-effective, out of the box, word of mouth, hip, targeting all demographics.

  • Changing: Livejournal has stayed roughly the same since its conception. While some may find consistency attractive, I think it's this same reason that has made many leave the site for something new. I want to push LJ to evolve and become that something new. Sure, change can be bad, but change can also be improvement. I want to focus on developing new stuff while tweaking the good stuff already here (like Scrapbook!), with the goal of making it a better, more fun experience for members, new and old.

  • Fun Incentives: Contests! Frequent, regular contests! I want to give members a reason to come back, keep interest going, and keep everyone actively blogging. While Facebook has 75,000,000 members blogging every day, we only had 220,000 in the last 24 hours. C'mon, I know we can do better, and perhaps through prizes as simple as a Livejournal collector's pencil or a digital gift, I think we can!

  • Sustainability: I feel that Paid Accounts can sustain the site better than ads, and I would recreate the business model around them. While I wouldn't try this without the support of the community, I was thinking of making LJ a 100% paid service, although with a far lower cost per year ($5?) or a by-donation amount which would maintain quantity. It could make our members feel special too, like the invite days, and weed out the spammers. The end goal of this is to make Livejournal self-sustaining and ad-free, kind of like Wikipedia.

  • Expansion: Many communities have roots on timeless fandoms, but we can't let it be restricted by these boundaries if it wants to compete and attract more members. I want to work on diversifying the communities, multiplying the topics you can discuss on the sites -- I want LJ to be a place where anyone will be able to find an active community based on any of their interests.

  • Sponsorship: To get the Livejournal name out, it needs to start partnering with more trendy corporations .. Youtube, Apple, Skype, as well as the smaller, up-and-coming businesses. Perhaps LJ could be a launchpad for LJ users' business ventures. We also need to get more celebrities on board! Imagine Oprah, Obama and Ashton Kutcher on Livejournal, too, and the millions of members each star could attract!

In short, my goal is to make Livejournal provocatively mainstream. Mainstream is popular and everyday, the common stuff -- but by provocative I mean making the mainstream exciting, interesting, stimulating, topics that raise comments and make the news. I envision Livejournal as a buzzword, where everyone here would be proud to own an account, for posts to uncommonly have 20 comments or more, where you can go up to your classmate/coworker and say, "I use Livejournal" and not hear back, "What's Livejournal?" but "Cool. I use LJ too!" This is how it was like in the early 2000s, and even though it's a whole new ballgame with Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, I know we can do it again. We just need to be progressive, proactive and provocative.

And if for whatever reason you disagree with that, I hope you'll at least support the last part of my campaign to push for 200 x 200 pixel userpics!

C'mon, which one would you rather have?? :)

Hey, I hope you like my platform, and if you wanna support it, please comment now! I apparently need 300 in a very short period of time!

P.S. Hi, I'm Kevin, aka cheesemon, I've been an active member of Livejournal since 2003 and haven't had a reason to try something else since. :)
Tomas Gallucci: Parcher/Big Brotherschpydurx on June 19th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
You're traveling in the right direction, but you're going there the wrong way. It's roughly akin to flying west from LA to get to New York. EVENTUALLY you'll get there, but it's much more direct to fly East.

You're right when you say that Live Journal needs better marketing, but you've got the wrong idea about how to get there. We don't need Obama or Oprah. People like Live Joural because it hasn't changed. Furthermore, if you had read : LiveJournal Users: Passionate, Prolifc, and Private, you would know that Live Journal interact on a much higher level than Twitter or the rest. We discuss ideas here at lenght, not make the most atrocious background and play twenty songs and videos at the same time.

As much as I'd like to see LJ pick up some steam in the world, I do not want to see this happen at the expense of what we already know Live Journal to be. As much as I'd love to support your nomination, I do not want to be responsible for the bastardization of Live Journal. Therefore, I do NOT support your nomination.

Feel free to unscreen this comment to further discussion of your platform.

P.S. Live Journal had Friends List long before Facebook or Twitter were even thought of. Friending had long ago become a verb before these services existed.

Edited at 2009-06-19 10:40 pm (UTC)
Cheesemoncheesemon on June 22nd, 2009 05:15 am (UTC)
Hey, sorry for taking so long to get back to you, I was swamped with work for the last week (I actually wrote my platform during lunch!)

Even though I already didn't make the ballot, I do want to take a bit of time to respond to your comment. Please don't misunderstand my position: I love Livejournal and I love it for a lot of reasons in that essay. However, at the same time, I think I loved it more in 2004, and maybe you did too. In 2004, LJ was still about the same as it was today, but what was different was the level of activity. I dunno about you, but for me, almost half of my f-list have left for other sites, and communities I'm part of that once had 30+ comments a topic can barely make 3. I love discussion as much as you do, but I just feel we need more people here to keep the discussion going.

So my end goal is just to bring activity on LJ that even surpasses 2004, and I personally felt that the main reason so many members left was because there wasn't enough change. And by change I didn't mean adding "songs and videos" -- I've take jabs at the MySpace layout on my blog all the time. :) I'm talking about, say, making it easier to navigate and upload on Scrapbook, or making searching for others with similar interests more efficient, or inventing some new features no other site has. Then advertising the great things we already have, like posts without limits, clean layouts, communities and ad free options.

I don't want to generalize members on other sites. I have really bright friends who are on Facebook and Twitter, while I've seen people on LJ whose blogs and comments are only a line or two. In the end, I just wanted LJ to be diverse and for everyone. You can post a page, or you can post a line. You can get an active discussion going about Shakespeare, or one about which Jonas Brother is cutest. It doesn't have to always have to be high-brow or long, but it also can be. I just wanted LJ to be a place where you can find all sorts of people and discussions. As for the celebs, hey, I wanted them to find them too. I'm sure they'd be more interesting when they have more than 140 characters to say. ;) I would've done anything to get all these kinds of people to come to LJ, make it active again and give them reason to love LJ and keep coming back.

Lastly, about Friending, that's why I pointed it out -- I couldn't believe the Twitter or Facebook guy almost making claim to creating the Friends idea!

Anyway, thanks for giving me some constructive criticism to work with for next year. ;)
pauamma on June 19th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
I support this nomination
Koukou on June 20th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
I agree with schpydurx' comment. I appreciate the consistency and intellectual value of the LiveJournal format. However, the erosion of the legacy userbase and apathy-loss (...I know there's a term for it somewhere) cause me much concern.

I believe that LiveJournal can survive and grow by focing on this very nature and embracing the popular userbase without - by NOT - compromising its format or the retention of its existing userbase.

With proper stewardship, many classical user communities such as "The Well" have been able to maintain their niche userbases. LiveJournal can do better than that. The place for LiveJournal is to act as a counterbalance against the dumbing of social media; the place you can go for real friends, when you don't want to "Facebook" or "Twitter", when you want to want to have a real conversation with words and pictures and not 140-characters-or-less.


I support the nomination of cheesemon.

Any comments on this can be continued ( here ); I ask that replies to the thread at lj_election_en respect the rule of being relevant to the nomination.

Cheesemoncheesemon on June 22nd, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Eh, I already didn't make the ballot and doubt my discussion here will make it to 300 so I'll just reply here anyway. ;)

Thanks for supporting me! I just finished replying to schpydurx's comment, which you can read if you'd like to get a better idea of what I was really trying to do. But in a nutshell, I do love LJ, I do love a lot of things that haven't changed, etc. but I'm just really worried at how we've lost so many people to other sites, possibly because of our unwillingness to change.

I absolutely agree with you -- I think LJ is still here because of its loyal userbase and communities, and while protecting them is important, we really need to work harder on bringing more of those people and communities here to maintain a steady supply of discussion on every topic imaginable. If only more people would check us out, I'm sure they won't go back once they realize how much more satisfying typing more than 140 characters about their interests can be. ;)

I'm sure we can keep the foundation of that intellectual value that both you and I respect about LJ -- but in order for LJ to survive the next 10 years, we need to improve some things to keep things fresh for all our friends here already, and for new bloggers to be aware of us and consider us over the competition. Otherwise, the discussion just won't keep going if we're relying on just us early adopters.

(BTW, any chance you'll be running next year? :) )
Leslielesliepear on June 20th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
I'll support and food for thought.
toddsaed on June 20th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
I nominate myself as an Asian professor in Korea, from California, who presented four times on movies for learning English at the International STEM conference here, and am an actor, musician, dancer, tennis pro, martial artist, and yogi, bringing forty years of experience and movies study to the table.
Could someone also please help me, by going to youtube.com, search at " People Get Ready harp dance", my harmonica dancing video, and download it to Idea Bollywood Club, it is blocked in Korea. Thanks, see you in the big time.
Skittish Eclipse: mywordfoxfirefey on June 20th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
The conflicting outcomes of your goals confuse me.
Cheesemoncheesemon on June 22nd, 2009 05:39 am (UTC)
I had to rush writing this to meet the deadline, so I'm sure there's holes, though it made sense to me at the time. :) Which parts confused you? I definitely want to know so I can tweak this if I try running again next year.

Skittish Eclipsefoxfirefey on June 22nd, 2009 07:13 am (UTC)
The first biggie:

You are talking about making LJ into a 100% pay service, yet also talking about the importance of expanding its membership. You can only have one or the other. As a 100% pay service, LJ would lose the majority of its membership and have difficulties regaining its niche marketshare--you'll note the competitors you talk about do not have paid membership, either. An additional problem with that is that LJ's parent company does not wish for mere sustainability; they wish for profitability. They paid a lot of money for this service, and the purpose wasn't to babysit it, but to get a return on their investment. You cannot compare the funding of a non-profit organization like Wikipedia to the revenue required by a business.