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Lord Yupa

February 2010

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Frog Wizard

Journals and stuff. [Updated]

This is some thoughts I had after reading mintygreen's entry here.

I've found myself posting less often than I used to, in large part because I don't want to post pointless drivel. This is my journal, and I want it to reflect me. Describing a few meaningless things I did is a waste of my time, and a waste of time for anyone reading it.

I think one of the reasons we see this so much, is that LiveJournal can be so multi-purpose. Traditionally, journals or diaries are a way to record your thoughts or opinions, a personal accounting of your life. LiveJournal, however, extends that into a multi-user communication forum. No longer is the primary focus for many people communication with themselves, but sharing with the community. It becomes less of a personal exploration or history, and more of an entertainment medium.

When done properly, this can be a great thing. You "meet" and get to know new and interesting people, are offered and provide some level of (virtual) support, and you can received opinions and thoughts of others through the process.

I see more and more entries, however, that are what I think of "telephone entries". They contain the same small talk chatty nothingness that occurs when two people aren't willing, or able, to make the effort to talk about something "real". Occasionally done, this isn't a bad thing. It's exhausting to discussing meaningful and through provoking topics all the time, but now we're seeing full journals of nothing but "I woke up, I'm tired, work sucks, boyfriend/girlfriend isn't treating me perfectly, got home, going to bed".

I guess this just seems to be a waste of time to me. Of course, I've also made posts like this myself. So it goes.

Updated: Bleh, this sucks. I had a really nice addendum here, and when I tried to post it, the LJ client harfed, couldn't connect to server, and closed the freakin' window. So, I just lost the update.

In short. . . oh, screw it. If you're interested in what I have to say on this, check my next entry. I'm just gonna write it there.


I disagree. Totally.

Your journal, either LJ-style or old-fashioned hand-crafted kind, or even somewhere in between is your _personal_ space.

Maybe you don't want your journal filling with "pointless drivel" and that's fine - it's your journal and your experience. That doesn't make it any less valid to post about how your butt itches or your cat just yakked on your favorite shoes - it just means that's not what you want to post about.

For me, it's been a great way of re-establishing contact with old friends that I don't get to see regularly. I've got friends across the world, thanks to being an IRC addict on a channel with more foreigners than americans, thanks to going to a boarding school in high school with people from across the country and a few from across the world, and then from going to NYU and living in NYC for the past 7 years.

I've got friends who are never awake when I am, who I can't share a casual telephone conversation with because it would entail one of us being up at 3 am and dropping $10 a pop for a short talk. I can't see them every day or every week and some of them I've _never_ had a chance to meet in person. Having a LJ account and having a way to share some of what's going on in my day, and to hear some of what's going on in their day, has done more to bring us closer together than anything else ever has.

It's not about the lack of willingness or ability to talk about something "real". It's about, at least for me, the realization that the little details that make up my life are real to me, every bit as real as the earth-shattering historical events in my life, and that these little bits of trivia make up who I am. Those "real" entries you talk about are almost always more scripted, more deliberate, and in some ways less real than some 5 minute off-the-cuff blather I slap up because I feel like it. They're no less valid - and they can be much more rewarding to read, in a one-shot - but I don't think they have any more or any less value in themselves.

I tend to post a variety of posts, of different lengths, on different subjects, and of varying levels of "intensity". I rather like posting them, and apparently there are some people who like to read it, for whatever reason. If you don't like it, don't read it. And if you don't like a journal filled with nothing but one-liners about changing your underwear or buying new shoes, then don't read them. That's the great thing about LJ. You have that choice. You can make not only your posting experience but also your reading experience uniquely yours.
Since I'm responsible for starting this, I feel the need to say something about it.

It is as you say, a personal thing... how you write, what you write, when you write, to whom you write, etc... and if people don't want to see it, be damned to them. But (and there is always one of those)... as I said in a comment to someone else... I've seen journals of people who do nothing but fill their pages with the word "blah", or something else equally innocuous... excuse me, my train of thought has just derailed. I blame it on the caffeine.

What I'd say in my original entry was 99% a personal commentary about my own postings; I didn't like how it had changed the way I wrote. I'd been used to keeping a journal on my website, which required more work and more thought. Since I got my lj account the way I wrote altered. I started posting stupid comments that just seemed... well, stupid. Stupid to me. I looked at some of them and thought, "Why in fuck would anyone be interested in that?", and thought I might make a change.

Someone else pointed out, and she was quite right, that some of the most amusing (etc.) entries she's seen by her friends, are the one or two line entries.

And there goes my train of thought again... more tea vicar.
Understood, and I'm completely sympathetic to that stance. I've appalled myself with a few of my posts from time to time. :)

The problem I had is that I felt Topher was condemning the habit not only in himself but in everyone who uses LJ, which I think is going too far. Saying you feel your own journal has lost value in your eyes and you regret that is different from saying that other peoples journals are less valid because you don't appreciate them... I think he went over that line. It sounded like it to me, anyway, and I felt the need to defend the poor downtrodden short-entried masses. ;)
I know that my original post had a dig about short entries, but it didn't relate to ALL of them. I also know I've upset a few people (including friends who's manner and style of posting doesn't really enter my head all that much), which wasn't my intent at all... but then that goes into the whole discussion of personal space vs public forum, and let's not go there, it's sickeningly cyclical. :>

If you can work your way past my rant about Survivor, feel free to inspect my original post on the matter...
I wasn't upset by your post, I was just mildly annoyed by Topher's. That's why I commented on his (Hi! Don't mind me... ;) ) post, not yours.

Even then it wasn't that I was offended, just bothered because it sounded like an opinion that hadn't really been thought out... sort of like he read your post, it struck a chord, and he wrote his own post on it, taking it to the next level - and over the line. I've done the same thing numerous times, but I felt a need to point it out. I guess the bastardly part of me just has to get out from time to time. ;)

Thought about often. . .

Actually, it's something I've thought about often, and if you were to dig back through some of my older posts, you'd see mention of similar topics at least a couple of times.

Unfortunately, this morning I posted while still half asleep and with a meeting due to begin in 5 minutes.

The obviously intelligent thing at that point would be to make a note, go to my meeting, and respond later.

Which is why, of course, I sat down and dashed off a quick post before running in to arrive late for the meeting. ;-)

Unfortuantely, in my less than coherant and rushed state, I managed to make a fairly poor post. I'm almost finished with another, more detailed, entry explaining better (I hope) what I meant.

Hmmm. . .

Well, I tried posting my thoughts here, and I couldn't do it. LiveJournal limits the length of a comment to 4000 characters, and it seems I was closer to 6000. ;-)

I posted it as a regular journal entry here in case anyone is interested.