People are already freaking out about this, even though i have yet to see anything that says anything about any changes that are going to be made to LJ due to the new ownership. (The closest that same linked article comes to talking about any possible changes is to say, "My sources tell me that all Live Journal employees are going to be retained.")
And then there's stuff like this. Um, what?
Here's what i posted as a reply:
They [People who use LJ] mock bloggers who want to be pundits, journalists, experts. In essence, they mock the culture of bloggers that use Six Apart's tools. During interviews with LJ/Xanga folks, i've been told that MovableType is for people with no friends, people who just talk to be heard, people who are trying too hard.Edit: It's official. And nothing is really changing. I am shocked (sarcasm).
There are LJ-ers of all sorts of opinions. Personally, i read a lot of pseudo-professional blogs when i have the time, and i find them very valuable. And i know i'm not the only LJ user who feels this way. (Hell, you're writing this very screed on a non-LJ blog, despite saying "i adore LJ from the bottom of my heart.")
While you cannot generalize about LJers, a vast majority of them are engaged in acts of resistance regularly (think: subcultures, activists, youth rebels, etc.). They value LJ because it values them. They value LJ because it is a tool of resistance, an act of going against mainstream and representing those already marginalized by society - the geeks, freaks and queers among us. They don't want to be mainstream. They don't want their parents/authorities/oppressors using the same service. At the same time, LJ provides shelter, support, community. When someone threatens to commit suicide, LJ doesn't throw up its hand and scream "not my problem." There are folks who actually work to help friends help each other. They're not just an anonymous service - they care.
Despite being an actual LJ user, i'm not going to attempt to speak for any sort of "majority" of LJ-ers or even to speak for the ones i regularly interact with. But to speak for myself, i do not use LJ because it is "subversive." I use it because it allows me to easily keep people updated on my life and to kepe updated on the lives of others; i like the ease of the friendslist feature (though the terminology is problematic). I like the huge amounts of information i can tap through the usage of communities and asking friends (who then ask their friends, and on it goes). I am 21 years old and my parents read my LJ, which contains such "subversive" or "resistant" things as fanfiction and political opinions and religious musings that do not always agree with those of my parents or of some of my friends. In fact, one major reason i got an LJ midway through my first year at college was so that i could easily keep my parents updated as to what was going on in my life. While i don't "friendslock" any of my entries, i really appreciate the existence of those privacy features, and think they are one thing that makes LiveJournal superior to other blogging services. I also like the way that LJ threads comments and e-mails replies -- something that most if not all other blogging services (save those that use LJ's open source, such as DeadJournal and GreatestJournal) lack. I adore the communities i have found on LJ and the way that LJ facilitates the formation of such communities. While many of my communities may in fact be "subversive," that is now why i am doing this.
I would love to know why people donate to LiveJournal. My hunch is that it has to do with cultural identity. When you donate, it says so on your page. When you donate, you signify that you value LJ. Forget increased features, you've just made the ultimate commitment to a community - a commitment of money. And aren't you jealous of the permanent members and early adopters?
Again, i won't speak for anyone else, but honestly, i want those extra features. I've gotten addicted to having a plethora of icons to attach to posts/comments. I like being able to create polls. I do like knowing that i'm helping keep the service alive and growing, but i only think of that when someone mentions it. When i get a notice saying that my paid time is going to run out soon, my decision about whether or not to pull out my debit card is influenced by how attached i am to the services that payment will provide me with, not about making a tangible commitment to a community facilitator.