November 20th, 2008

_support, cameo

Turn off the radio; turn off the lights

Being a few words of advice to anyone stepping in to a LiveJournal management position.


I have used LiveJournal for over seven years now. I signed up in May 2001. I use LiveJournal as a journal, as a communications service, as entertainment, and much more. I have dedicated countless hours to not only using the service, but also helping make it better.

It is a nightmare to think of LiveJournal in the hands of people who drive it into the ground in a misguided effort to make it succeed. It is easy to make management assumptions that are completely rational given a generic online service, but are entirely the wrong thing for LiveJournal due to its culture and history. This document covers not business management, but user management, as LiveJournal's users are an idiosyncratic group with strong opinions, a history, and disparate factions with different goals and different uses for the service. The unifying wish of all groups of users is for LiveJournal to succeed, still be around into the far future, and to remain a fun and free-thinking place, in the spirit of the way it was under the watch of bradfitz.

To manage LiveJournal properly, you must be:
  • familiar with the service yourself
  • invested in nurturing and maintaining the current user experience as well as developing in exciting new directions
  • willing to engage with the userbase as people who hold a stake in LiveJournal's development and future, not just content providers or visitors
    (There will be members of the service whose input is misdirected, or who do not have the background to give useful advice, however, this is not the document for covering those issues.)
  • aware of the history that your users will be aware of, even if not in the same detail
  • able to realize that there is no one true way to use LiveJournal

Do not underestimate the amount of time and energy that people put into LiveJournal. There are people who barely use it. There are people who use it a reasonable amount and have no more attachment to it than they have to any other company providing a needed service: SRP for power, Cox for internet, Gmail for mail, LJ for blogging. The real strength of LiveJournal, however, is that the most active users have formed an emotional attachment to the community above and beyond their need for the service that LiveJournal provides to them.

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  • Current Music
    Cowboy Mouth, "Jenny Says"
  • Tags
running, bomb tech

Tweets for 2008-11-20

In the last 24 hours, I posted the following to Twitter:
  • Thursday, 0235: Poking at mturk causes me to exclaim, for the first time in perhaps 20 years, "IT'S A CROSSBEAK!" Dad yanked Mama's chain about crossbills.
  • Thursday, 1345: Farming out idle cycles of brain to micropaid services. Now identifying birds from pictures. Trivia is useful; can tell duck from roadrunner
  • Thursday, 1349: @cassieclare Because it is not Twilight without sparkles, no. (though I hear dire rumors that the soundtrack does not in fact sparkle.)
  • Thursday, 1810: Getting wandery while packing. Some things have to be done, though, and I should do them now rather than waiting.
  • Thursday, 1931: @llbbooks Hooray! Will you be able to access the internet from your room now?
  • Thursday, 2014: Ack! His parental units will be in town for a whole week! Ph34r! (hack cpu? hack HD! Overclock his dad. Bad pr0n joke.)
  • Thursday, 2308: difficulty breathing due to OMFG WHAT AM I DOING HERE I'M NOT GOOD WITH WORDS.
  • Thursday, 2315: I'm actually lightheaded. (Though I can blame part of that on what I've eaten, or rather *not* eaten.)


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