"Communication breakdown, its always the same."- Led Zeppelin
"What we have here is failure to communicate" - Cool Hand Luke
The initial results of our unscientific survey of blogger's opinions of LiveJournal (LJ) are in. Using rigid statistical analysis and the opinions of respondents, we can make some hasty generalizations:
Journals are read very rarely by bloggers
Journals don't link to blogs
Blogs don't link to journals
Journalers and Bloggers don't communicate
What I found interesting about the initial LJ stats (thanks again, Seb) was that here you had about 1 million people engaged in the process of blogging within a relatively closed community. Although still dwarfed by blogging (Blogger alone has over 1 million users); its significant, simple, valuable to its users and growing. The demographic difference, the relative youth of LJ, compared to bloggers, was equally striking.
So here's my supposition: LJ is a closed community from which insular communication is an emergent property. Blogging platforms provide open communication from which community is an emergent property.
Since LJ is a community first (to join you have to be invited by an existing LJer), it provides the social infrastructure to support new and young bloggers. That coupled with the founding communities youth may explain its demographics. Just as LJ can learn from blogging about open communication, blogging can learn from LJ about community (and deploy mechanisms like Blogbuds for supportive ties).
But is that the real story? I contacted Eric Hancock, who mirrors his blog to both LJ and Radio. Eric is bridging two communities, some would call a community straddlers, perhaps the most valuable role according to social network theory.
I originally started posting to LiveJournal because a friend of mine keeps a journal there. After a while, I started reading more and more journals. LJ has an interesting community; very social, pretty interesting. There are nice 'blogging tools for LJ (I use iJournal, a nice, little client for MacOS X), as well as tools for Radio Userland to cross post automatically.
Eric provided a How to Do This:
- Radio ships with a Manilla-Blogger bridge. It posts to anything that supports the Blogger API. I think, if you were so inclined, the Manilla-Blogger bridge could post to LJ, too.
- Mark Paschal wrote a tool called Footbridge that easily posts to LJ from Radio.
Everyone has their own opinions of different communities and differences are good. But if you are inclined to bridge communities and expose differences its even better.