She's writing a paper. She needs help. She has questions to answer.
Regarding Use of this technology:
1. when did you start using LJ?
I heard about it in 2001, and began using it a few months later -- I started my journal in early May 2001.
2. why did you chose LJ over other blogging sites?
I'd never really heard of the phenomenon before. I mean, I'd heard of people putting out rants and "This is what's up with me" on their websites, and I have a nice pre-LJ collection of assorted ramblings on my Angelfire website, but LJ was the first I heard of actual does-the-work-for-you blogging. My friends godai and Keenspace artist Dennis K. (http://fogclub.keenspace.com), who I'd met on the F.O.G.Club message boards (through my best friend, who introduced me to the comic because he was best friends from high school with Dennis K.) were using LJ, so I figured it was time for me to get one too to keep touch with them.
3. why you chose to stay on the site when the software is open source & you could build your own site (particularly relevant when people have technical knowledge that rises above the typical user's capabilities)?
Connections. Everybody who reads me, likely reads me here. I've invested time and money to making connections. I do own journals on other LJ clones, of my same username, but I don't use them much; I have a little content on Deadjournal, which is syndicated to LJ as deadazz, and a little content on Journalfen. Almost everything that I read, I read here; I've transferred my webcomic reading to LJ as well.
Granted, I could set up my own clone site, get the RSS feeds from all my friends -- but that would be crippling me by not taking advantage of the security features you can use if you're both on the same site. Plus, I'm feeling lazy, though I probably will set up my own clone when I go into the work world, because I like it as a tool.
4. Are you a paid user? If so, why and since when? (consider what benefits this option offers you, etc.)
I am not only a paid user, but a permanent user. I got my original paid account as an anonymous gift, sometime back in the misty dawn of time. It was for 6 months, and when I was debating to renew or not to renew, lasayla bounced up to me (virtually speaking) and announced that there was a SALE on PERMANENT ACCOUNTS, come quickly! That was either late 2001 or early 2002. I snapped one up, and transferred the remainder of my paid time to a very happy marxdarx, who wants a paid account of his own now.
I like it because it gives me status, gives me virtual immunity from the "You post too much! LJ is OVERTAXED by people like you!" camp, and gives me features: extra pictures, polls, post-from-email, and all the new and juicy things that brad and company implement.
Regarding Social Systems (i.e. friends’ lists):
1. how did you make decisions about who to add to your friends list? (related question: why do you read the particular journals that you do?)
At first, I got to know people that I actually knew, either face-to-face (I'd met Dennis K. in person before he deleted his journal) or elsewhere offsite. After a while, I began meeting people on LJ, deciding that I liked the way they wrote, exchanging comments, and friending. Currently, I add people that I know and am friends with, and those I really like the writing of. vidicon and and theferrett and I may never meet, but they still write a mean essay. So: actual friendship, acquaintances, and good writers.
If I can't stand or understand someone's writing, even if they're a face-to-face friend, I don't keep reading. (evealone comes to mind... sweet guy, bad writing.) If I find myself skimming someone's writing, and they're not someone I need to keep track of, I don't keep reading.
2. Is there anyone out there in your friends network who I could also talk to? (please let them know about this project/let me know how to reach them)
I'll go pimp it in my journal. I found this through karlita. And I'll post it in shadesong_nexus, and see if 'song won't come over here. The shadesong Effect is one of the interesting strong manifestations of the LJ thing.
3. how did they end up linked to your journal?
I'm not really sure how karlita and I got on each others' friends lists. She added me first. I think we met through shadesong. 'Song was roaming around LJ, ran into me, and added me first, which is surprising now, because her friends list is larger than mine, which is scary.
4. why do they read your journal?
I write coherently and often. Evidently this is interesting.
1. Have you used the option of protecting entries?
Yes. I love it. I've secured things both for my eyes only, and for all friends, and varying groups.
2. Do you have customized groups within your friends? (give an idea of how many)
3. What are the motivating factors behind using these filters? What criteria do you use in determining who belongs (or does not belong in a group)?
I have two opt-in groups, for spiritual matters and don't-want-the-unprepared-to-wander-in adult topics. I have 26 other groups, some of which contain just a few or one people for privacy, some of which are further filterings of the opt-in groups, some to give out personal information like name, address, and one that is solely to control against friends-page-breaking code and images. I do NOT use default view.
4. Do you limit comments on your journal (i.e. no anonymous, friends only...)?
I log IP addresses of anonymous commenters, and caught one of my friends being a poopyhead that way, and confronted him about it. He was sorry.
1. What kind of customized features do you have affiliated with your journal?
a) Layout? (including titles, comments field)
I went with the S2 style "components", and so far I'm very happy with that, after I tweaked color to suit. I do have my #comments, leave a comment field customized as "# straightjackets, institutionalize me".
b) Icons? (where do you get these, why/how do you choose them)
Most of my icons, I construct myself. I choose them to suit topics and moods I'm commonly in. One of my icons has a blue-haired person representative of me grinning in an unsettlingly maniacal fashion. I actually do grin like that. It scares ralmathon. Another one, which I use for geeky posts, features a photo of a few MIT students' weekend project of putting a networking switch into a teddybear.
I have a selection of links in my links component: useful LJ features, my schedule and household, my immediate family.
2. Have you ever taken advantage of search features for locating other LJ users (by interest, geographic location, etc.)?
Sure have. I found some good communities that way.