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Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
An Anniversary, Ms. Havisham Style
Well, this journal has made it to another year. This is my sixth anniversary here. But it's also the most bittersweet, since many of the friends I looked forward to reading have abandoned the site and others only post infrequently. As a measure of how things have changed, I almost went back and changed that "here" in the second sentence to "there," since most of the comments I get these days come indirectly, via the "notes" I import from Live Journal into Facebook. Sigh. It depresses me, because there are many things about LJ that I still dig, despite its many problems, from the ease with which concentric circles of friendship -- intimate to casual -- can be managed to the comment threading that still makes Facebook's implementation seem ridiculously lame. And I say all that despite a pretty strong hunch that my life would have gone a lot better if I'd never taken the plunge into personal blogging. Anyway, here's the tally, for what it's worth: 3267 journal entries, 13,849 comments received and 11,350 comments posted. I wonder if I'll make it to 4000?

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From: e4q Date: August 31st, 2009 07:59 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i don't know whose blogs you do comment on, but i notice you never comment on mine. perhaps you find me boring? but that means you don't get to meet people in the threads, which is how i refresh my own flist. i started off in lj with two friends, neither of whom blog now, but as people have dropped away (and in one instance actively dumped!) i have picked up new people. either in the threads of friends or the one community i do read (buddhists) or because they follow me in the same way. if you want your lj to live i think you have to be more proactive. people will drop away, and other people get involved, just like real life!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 31st, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Hey, I'm sorry you feel I never comment on your journal anymore. It doesn't feel that way to me, because you're certainly one of my favorite LJers, someone whom I look to for sustenance and goodwill. But my schedule has shifted over the past year or so, which means that I'm not up as late. I used to read your entries when they were freshly posted, but now often don't see them until much of my day has passed. For whatever reason, I'm less likely to comment on things that have been sitting a while. And sometimes I just don't make it down to your entries at all, because I'm spending less time on the computer and only see the first couple entries on my "Friends" page before moving on.

That said, I make it a point to comment somewhere almost every day. I have posted more comments than entries over the past year. But the social networking aspect of Live Journal seems to have passed me by, since few of my comments turn into more sustained contact. There are exceptions, of course, I've gotten to know three LJers over the past year who are among my favorite contributors. Maybe it's just that the Tucson LJ scene, into which you had a good deal of insight, has dried up, at least in terms of the connections that kept me in the loop.
From: e4q Date: August 31st, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
oh! i am glad you still read me!

yes, it does seem that in the US livejournal was used a bit like friendster for a while, but i suppose everyone is facebooking now. on fb i get a sense of how people have used social networking sites in the past, and i do quite like it for that, i have a couple of local friends who i otherwise wouldn't be in touch with, and of course, there is the scrabble. but in general it leaves me rather cold, and i prefer the diary/penpal thing of lj. i am on a couple of ning communities, too, and i find that format quite annoying, the style of the thread here works best for me. i read other blogs on google reader, that works for me ok, though it's a faff to click through to comment, so i rarely do. my big guilty pleasure these days on the internet is tumblr. the age range is substanitally lower than my own, so there is a lot there that i find very eyerolling, but i enjoy sharing images, and find it quite inspiring, now that i am following a couple of good people.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 1st, 2009 02:37 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I haven't made much of a foray into tumblr yet. I don't quite get it. But that was once true of Facebook, which I refused to join until you suggested it! Oh, how I miss those days of Scrabulous. I liked the site better when I was playing all the time. I don't even know ning, come to think of it.
From: e4q Date: September 1st, 2009 07:54 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i think there are two main user groups at tumblr, extremely young emo kids and architecture firms. it is a weird mixture. but what they both have a passion for is creating virtual sketchbooks. you don't bother friending and there is no real conversation outside of the images themselves. so if you want your own sketchbook, it's like that has two layers, stuff you made and want to have somewhere, stuff you like and would like to refer to again, and then there is the stream of who you follow, who you can 'like' or repost in your own stream if you want to. who you follow can be changed quickly. that bit is like leafing though magazines at the dentist, but without having to cough as you tear a page out.
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: August 31st, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
You know, it's funny, I used to read this on LJ a lot (not from the start, but probably going back four years now), but now that you post it on Facebook, for whatever reason I usually read it there. And I don't like commenting on Facebook stuff, because I'm too aware of the visibility of everything that gets said there.

It's interesting to hear you say the thing about personal blogging. I've never had nearly the complications you have, but I've often felt the same way, probably to a lesser degree.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 31st, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Hmmm. I wonder if that's true of other people who now read me on Facebook. Some actually comment more there than they did here. Facebook comments tend to be shorter, I've noticed, and less engaged. Or maybe that's just my problem!

As far as personal blogging goes, I'm not sure what to think. I set out to do it with the specific intention of learning about the complexities of social networking. And I have, certainly. But I've found along the way that the flak I got from those who disapproved, especially in a professional context, and the changes that my presence here led to in my "real-world" relationships contributed to a change in my self-image that was probably not for the best.
From: e4q Date: August 31st, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
actually, i nearly did! it's where i first read it, but due to the content i thought i would wait and comment here.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 1st, 2009 02:37 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I try to do that when I see an LJ entry imported to Facebook before encountering it in its "natural" state. Sometimes I forget, though.
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: August 31st, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That second part is something that bothered me, and led me to make my blog public again and to make the content bland. It got to the point where people I hardly knew (or didn't know at all) knew things about my life that some close friends didn't. I also didn't have anything left to say in real-world conversations with people who read it. So I've always been interested to see how you manage your online persona via implication and euphemism, the suggestive images and occasionally cryptic prose.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 1st, 2009 02:39 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I sometimes have these grandiose ideas about what I'm doing, what I've been doing all along. And since I had them pretty much from the beginning, or even before I started, I suppose they would count as the product of authorial intention. But having to sustain that kind of project while also presenting glimpses of one's actual existence is difficult. I am reminded of Sebald's The Rings of Saturn, which is both entirely fictional and kind of like an autobiography.
masoo From: masoo Date: August 31st, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I still comment here! But you're right, FB does end up being the place where a lot of comments happen. I see it as expanding my readership, since far more people see me on Facebook than on my blog ... at least that's what I tell myself.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 1st, 2009 02:41 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I sometimes find myself starting to post comments to the blog entries I import from you into LJ or the ones that appear on Facebook, before I remind myself to go to the actual blog. I do think that Facebook can expand readership. But it tends to be a readership that already knows you pretty well, which is different than the pure internet experience.
masoo From: masoo Date: September 1st, 2009 02:52 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yeah, Google loves me, so I get complete "outsiders" jabbering away in my blog comments, people who wouldn't see me on FB.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: August 31st, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
My own blogiversary is coming up too. I haven't thought about it much, though--probably because it depresses me to think about how much my blog has shifted from an archive of experimental prose/poetry and a record of my efforts to get a handle on online interaction, audience, performance, etc--to... I don't even know. Mindless posts about the growth of my garden, recipes, and a locked archive of my efforts to stay afloat while writing my dissertation. It makes me sad that I've become so much less "interesting." I also comment less, and I know this. Less frequent posts and comments are partly due to the physical strain it puts me through now to sit at the computer any longer than I have to. But that can't be all.

I do hope you don't leave this place, though. For what it's worth, I can't get into the note function of Facebook AT ALL, or Facebook much at all either. And even if there's less back and forth here now for many of us, I still love meeting you here in this space, which feels more like a space of your own devising.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 1st, 2009 02:43 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I eventually figured out how to make the Facebook notes thing work to an extent. But it's still pretty unsatisfactory.

As far as what you have been posting to LJ, I think the problem may not be the mundane stuff -- your friends like to hear about your garden etc. -- but your clear sense that it's too mundane to be of much interest to anyone. Maybe lowering the bar a bit would help?
pissang From: pissang Date: September 1st, 2009 12:30 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I still read you every day. My LJ is kind of like Charliejournal b/c I never cultivated a large network of "friends" and the ones I do have don't write much anymore. Even though I don't comment much, I prefer reading you here than on Facebook due to the friendlier interface.

I am just going to assume I'm one of those people who you are upset about not posting anymore. If not, I should be. I actually still write a bit, but I find myself making my posts private when I'm done. I don't know why but my urge to share has dried up. Possibly, if I grew my readership, I'd have a greater desire to post. And possibly I outgrew the persona I began writing with and never bothered to develop a new one. Anyway, you're blog is still up there with espn.com as one of my favorite forms of productive procrastination.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 1st, 2009 02:45 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Ha! Well, that's nice to hear.

Actually, you aren't one of the people I had in mind, because your posts were always intermittent. I'm always delighted to see one, but never expected you to be regular.

I suppose it was the disintegration of my Tucson LJ friend/acquaintance network that bothered me most. People I had regular contact with online and offline have now ceased to show up here. And I feel like I can't really contact them offline, strange as that may sound, because I no longer see them online. Funny how that works.
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