I also have trouble deciding to add someone, particularly if we haven't met in real life or interacted much online, because I'm not sure how much automatic trust is justifiable.
oh lord yes. but i think your locked post system works in your favour on this subject. whereas i'm not sure my blanket friends-only thing works as well.
it's interesting you mention criteria for new friends beause i've found if you meet someone in real life and decide to add them because they're interesting, you can get bogged down in, well, how much of a boring journaller they can be. it doesn't always match up. i used to be a stickler for having similar interests, but sometimes it's nice to ad someone who is interesting but not necessarily in your sphere.
i'm not bored as such but my friends list is rather static due to a) my lack of trust and b) the whole friends only thing. i occasionally go on friends-adding sprees. and sometimes people add me back and that's fun. these days i'm more likely to add people who don't live in london though.
i have tons of filters on my journal that are old and haven't been used for years. the plan is as i lock down all my old entries i can then delete all the filters. i hate filters. but maybe i'll have the odd one or two in future. as you know i favour other journals. i think it's because i like to create a new space for my feelings, i've used this account as a dumping ground so many times that it just becomes exhausting to look back at it (even when i'm just trying to private all the entries). other journals allow me to heavilly veto the readers and also i can shed it like a skin whenever i need to.
i think you know my reasons for being friends-only. it started because a friend of a friend was spying on me, it continued when i realised that people would try and pick over my journal when they don't even know me. there are too many vultures on
livejournal the internet.
I think your auxiliary-journal approach ameliorates the blanket-friends thing on your main journal. With the main journal, you can post your less intimate thoughts while still controlling your audience, and save the flammable stuff for the other journal(s).
I have a few LJ friends who are RL friends and never (or very rarely) post. Some of them have explicitly asked to remain on my list so that they can read my friends-only entries. Sometimes I get a bit frustrated because I feel it's not a reciprocal arrangement, but as long as they keep in occasional touch via some other medium, it's not a big deal.
I feel somewhat obliged to add RL acquaintances after I've met them if they make themselves known to me by commenting. That works out about as often as adding random LJ-only acquaintances. It doesn't seem to make much difference, really, since, as you say, interesting person != interesting journaller.
I did the filter-condensation thing with my journal a couple months back. I went through everything and privatized a bunch of crap entries and labelled all of my other entries with the filter that they were on. It was very liberating, actually, and now I can easily figure out what level of privacy I need for a given post. I was tempted to create another journal during this period, but once I had my filters sorted out I found that I didn't feel the need any more.
I remember your reasons for going friends-only and I think you have very good reason to stay that way. I don't believe the person responsible for the incident is terribly stable. I've been fortunate thus far in that none of the people with whom I've had fallings-out online or in real life have ever been that vindictive, but I'm frankly willing to admit that that's at least partly dumb luck.
I agree very much with your general guidelines for posting and adding.
Mostly I find new people through interesting comments in other journals. I found that as I get more involved with the friends I have, I got more reticent to add new people because it could become a relationship that matters, rather than just a fairly decent thing to read, and that requires more effort and seriousness on my part.
I got past this fear of letting new people in after I cut a lot of the the people's journals I'd added but wasn't really reading or interacting well with. Deciding it was ok to cut back and not feel guilty made it easier to add new people who seemed to have potential, but who I wasn't really sure about. So I'll add someone and if I end up like them/their journal, then good, and if I find I'm just not engaged and scrolling past, then I defriend. I have a bunch of people who read my journal who I never read or used to read, that's ok by me, but I don't feel the urge to add them back. If they comment and are generally nice people who just happen to keep a dull journal, I'll usually reply to their comments and treat them with respect.
When I went friends only a few days ago, I added some of the people who I had still been checking out and unsure of, because it's a good way to make up my mind and also because if they actually are reading, I don't necessarily want them to be left out. I filter, so being on the general friends posts means more talk about work and thesis, and photos. It doesn't mean access to the very personal or to the angsty fears.
I've had a few comments exchanges with friends of LJ friends recently where I've thought, "I should add this person!" I haven't, and I've regretted it. I think I'll start acting on that feeling.
I've finally begun to be somewhat less anxious over adding new people. I still feel the obligation to build a relationship with a new person, but I'm also willing to put a time limit on that. If, after a couple of months, I don't feel a connection growing, I drop them. It doesn't necessarily mean that I didn't like them.
I'm a huge fan of filtering. I don't keep separate journals because I think it's too much of a hassle. I have enough trouble keeping track of one journal. When I started getting the urge to jump ship, I went back through my entries, added a filter heading to all of the friends-only entries and privatized a bunch of the earlier fluff entries. Then I consolidated filters and deleted a bunch of them. Since then I haven't felt the urge to make another journal at all. I almost always immediately know which filter I'm going to post under.
Maintaining my flist
My flist has been steadily dropping lately, I'm unfriending people with whom I have no interest in sustaining a connection - online or off -- which means that a lot of interesting people are being lost to me. It makes me surprisingly sad to do so, but with school, my attention and resources are (pleasingly and usefully) diverted.
I had thought that this "cleaning" would allow me to deepen relationships with those people who remain on the list -- Bostoners I wish to connect with socially, or friends from other cities, or long-standing net friends -- but it's had the opposite effect. Without the comparison point of journals I like but am not invested in, I find myself re-creating that gradient inside the shrunken list. So when I cut about 40 journals, I ended up starting to ignore another chunk who remain on the flist.
Friends-only and Filters
I was starting to get too much mail (emails and anon/un-friended comments) from loonies about my journal -- recent public posts (which remain public) such as my abortion story and a post-election rant, in particular, invited responses from exes I wish to stay far away from (inc. the date-raper/father mentioned in the abortion), and people who thought I was a horrible person, and one or two over-admiring stalker types who were making me lose my cool -- and I was moving into a graduate community where I knew that my online persona would be used to judge me. While I would be fine being open about who I am now, my earlier journal (much like yours, in that it was completely un-crafted, and more dreck-y) was not something I wanted shared. I had to lock all the earlier posts, and during that time, decided that going f-o would reduce the number of new, interesting journals that I'd find on my friends-of list and be compelled to start reading.
When I locked the journal, I re-did filters. There used to be only a few kinds of filters -- ones to speak to individual users (usually my lover(s) and best friend), and ones about those same people (that they couldn't see) -- that were about using this journal as something other than a journal, and more like email that could be saved in situ as comments and posts between two or more people. Now I have subject-based filters, my "normal" filter is much like your permitted filter in that it assumes a decent level of trust and leaves off political "friends" whom I don't feel I can remove from the flist, but don't want in my entries, that operates slongside filters about art, school, etc. It fragments my journal so that any one reader only sees the pieces that zie wants, but I get to still use my journal for a large number of purposes. I also use the private post feature much more now, and feel less guilty than I used to for doing so -- this journal is reference for me.
I made reading filters, too. I moved all the feeds I was interested in to an auxiliary journal, and then I sectioned the remaining flist into several groups. The first is journals I have an obligation to read (lovers, friends with whom I interact regularly), the second is journals I am particularly excited to read (net friends, mostly), and the third is the most expansive and only leaves out some of the old RL friends whose journals I skim at best. I try to read un-filtered, but when I've been away from my computer for more than day, I start reading filtered, and I'll choose the most-encompassing filter that I have time for.
2005-03-30 10:22 (UTC)
Re: Part the First
Without the comparison point of journals I like but am not invested in, I find myself re-creating that gradient inside the shrunken list. So when I cut about 40 journals, I ended up starting to ignore another chunk who remain on the flist.
Ooh, that's very interesting. I had been toying with the notion of cutting back to a certain (somewhat arbitrary) size. Now I wonder if it might be better to spend less time worrying about the exact number of journals on the list and concentrate on keeping the list lively by adding more stimulating journals and seeing if connections form.
I also find it fascinating that we both adopted the same approach towards re-configuring our journals. Mine wasn't triggered by any specific events or by trolling. I was starting to feel repeated urges to jump ship to a new journals or to delete this one and never deal with it again. My solution to the problem was to go through and privatize most of my older crap entries, add filter headings to all friends-only entries and pare down and reorganize my filters. The urge to make a separate journal disappeared. I immediately know now which level of privacy I want to adopt when I post. I don't have separate levels of reading filters, but I do tend to rotate certain LJ friends with whom I don't feel as close or with whom I don't need regular comments exchange to maintain the relationship, onto and off of my default view. I might adopt a set of reading filters like yours once I start working again.
I try not to. It makes me sad, since I really enjoyed getting to know new people on here, but I've found that unless I lay out a significant chunk of time to them as soon as I friend them (reading old entries/memories, etc.), then I can't really give them an identity in my mind. It doesn't even work if I do it at a later date. Lately, if someone's in Boston, I'll usually add them so that I can expand the social network I have here, but I try to make it an offline connection soon, because otherwise they're stuck with the same problem as the random net folk above.
I keep hoping that this relative drought of friends will help me be more invested in using this space for myself and for maintaining friendships, since otherwise I don't have the time, but without an ever-changing sense of audience, I'm feeling like I use the space less.
I hope I can make it cyclic -- expand the list during the summer, contract during the winter. I also don't know how to find new people anymore. The friendsfriends feature is often useful, as are convos with people in the comments section of friends' journals, but I simply feel less bold now -- as if friending someone when I have a friends-only journal means more than it did when I kept public entries as well.
2005-03-30 11:44 (UTC)
Re: Part the Second
Some people deliberately seek out non-local LJ friends and others actively seek locals. I think the ones seeking non-locals are trying to keep their offline and online lives separate, usually to avoid potential crossover drama. The ones seeking locals are trying to integrate their online and offline lives in order to enrich both experiences. I've found, though, as mentioned by capitalflash
above, that an interesting RL person doesn't guarantee an interesting journaller and vice versa. It's a tricky business, balancing the intersection between virtual and face-time.
I don't have a solution yet for finding new people. I'm going to try a new approach to the recommendation strategy in a couple of days, I think. I feel less bold than when I started my LJ as well, but I think I'm going to strive to start suggesting reciprocal additions when I have prolonged comments conversations with new people in friends' journals.
I've been lurking on your journal for awhile and personally, I just like everything you write, the photos, etc. I even enjoy your sense of humor. My friends list comprises of people that I talk to online really, there's only a few people on that list that actually cross over to IRL. Some folks on my friends lists are 'friends of a friend' that fill in the gaps of missing conversation (sometimes). For the most part, I post as if I'm posting to the general public (much like your rules, I try to limit the amount of quizzes, use the lj-cut tag, etc) and if I need to post something that is private, then it's friends only.
I've never had an unpleasant experience with finding out that someone unexpected has been reading my journal, mostly because I feel I carefully control the publicity of the content through the use of filters. I would probably feel violated if I heard about an issue I'd addressed semi-privately on LJ from a person I knew wasn't included in the LJ discussion, but that has never happened to me. My trust derives mostly from my experience, which is that if I maintain a low profile and avoid engaging in flame wars, trolling, or posting publicly about private issues, I won't have problems keeping a public journal. That said, I can understand completely why everyone doesn't agree - usually it's because they have had a serious problem despite adhering to similar measures.
I think I need to be bolder about suggesting reciprocal additions when I get into discussions in comments threads. It's a good idea, because at least you then have one point of common ground that you already know about.
Some people prefer multiple journals because they like having a separate brain-space in which to put certain things. I started having the urge for that when I felt this journal was becoming too cluttered. My solution was to go through all of my old entries, privatize the trivial ones, include filter labels in subject headings and streamline my filters. This made the urge to create another journal go away. But having to deal with the emotional ramifications of yet another friends list is another factor that strongly discourages me from having another journal.
Your guidelines for LJ are what I try to strive for. I do not always succeed--especially with respect to the last one--and always feel horribly guilty about it.
Right now, I'm probably the very last person to ask about how to remedy a static friends list or how I add friends since I haven't been doing much of that lately. Previously, I would do a mass addition of a bunch of people who I'd seen and/or had comment exchanges with in other peoples' journals. I always check out their journal first. I think there was one person who I added blindly since she was friends only.
I know the whole friends only thing bites me on the ass in that respect. People are less likely to add me and if they do, with the only part that's visible, it's entirely likely that they'll be disappointed when they see what's on the other side. I'm okay with that though--at least the former.
Also: Filters, check. Multiple journals, check (but the other one's just for me and I haven't kept it up.)
I started meandering, here. Lots of stuff I've been thinking about lately that I wanted to comment on but I seem to have fallen off my train of thought. Mrr.
We've talked about this recently in your journal, so I'll just mention that I've now added something to that Word document I told you about. It's a list of people I'm considering adding due to comments exchanges in current friends' journals. I made a bookmark folder for some potential new friends and I'm going to try a new approach to the recommendations request in a day or so.
2005-03-29 15:50 (UTC)
My friends' list remains pretty constant. It contains mostly people I know in real life or people recommended by real life people.
That being said, I use commnities to meet and interact with the larger LJ sphere. The only time I considered making my journal friends-only when I suspected a co-worker was trying to rifle through my journal. If someone wants to add me, they can, and vice-versa. I filter any information I consider sensitive.
The cut-tag issue remains thorn in my side. I rarely include images and unless the a friend pleads modem access, I tend to get cranky about requests for cut tags. The layout of one's friends page does not determine the content of my journal. Resizing images, however seems a fairly reasonable request.
As for a substantive comments in a journal, I think that depends on the level of effort spent on the journal. I don't expect comments back from users that I feel contribute significantly by posting. However, if they tend to post quizzes or polls and very little else, I feel the need to have them comment in my journal to feel that there is something to jusify them being listed on my friends list.
On that thought I should probably prune some dead journals, but not today.
2005-03-30 12:28 (UTC)
Re: Static LJ
I don't expect comments back from users that I feel contribute significantly by posting.
This is a good point. I think if I'm going to expand my friends list, I'm going to have to become a little less stringent about my own and other people's commenting habits.
My LJ sure ain't nothin' like was when I started using that intranets thing.
I seem to have cycles on adding and purging. I did one a month ago and only one complaint. As for adding, I try to keep it to people who are friends of people on my friends list. Sometimes I'll randomly add somebody but its pretty rare now. If anything, I've noticed I'm pretty tough on ages. I think I have one person on my list who is old enough to be my kid...and if I think about it too long I get weirded out. Generally I'm tough on teenagers. Thankfully they want even less to do with me...
Let me know if anything I just said made sense...
It's interesting that you bring up the age limit. I think I've unwittingly kept mostly to people my age or older, although I have made a couple of great LJ-crossover-to-RL friends who are five or six years younger than I am. When people add me and I reciprocate, I usually don't know how old they are and if/when I find out that they're much younger than me, I am surprised.
I started my LJ as an extension of my web site. I add people to my flist because some share common interests and many are very creative people with LJs that are interesting to read. I post in my LJ in hopes of getting more peeople to discover the web site and some people who read at the site to look at the additional content in the LJ. Then I also post in hopes of having discussions with other LJ users. I read the LJs of the 30 people on my flist, but I only comment when I have something to say in response to their post.
I have started other blogs outsides of LJ (one at blogspot and another one at DeadJournal.com) as a way to explore different things outside of the web site.
I'm not fond of people who have LJs totally Friends only. How would one know if that person's LJ is interesting? I respect people want to have their privacy with an LJ among the people on their flist, but I think the purpose of almost all blogs or LJs is to know new people and share your thoughts with others. Whether a LJ is Friends Only or not, I will probably not add that person to the flist if their LJ doesn't interest me and doesn't fit the type of LJs I want on my flist. If a person doesn't find your LJ interesting, they will probably move on to check out someone else's LJ. I don't mind if people have LJs that have Friends only entries in addition to their public entries.
It's interesting how long-term journallers seem to get set firmly either for or against friends-only. I don't care if a friend I already have decides to go friends-only. Usually they wind up doing it because of a nasty run-in with someone. I never ever add someone with a friends-only journal unless they add me first. I added a friends-only journal blindly once and regretted it. I don't imagine I'm the only one with a (largely) public journal who thinks this way, so I bet once people decide to lock down their journals, they make a lot fewer random LJ friends. Personally, I love random LJ friends - I've met some of my favorite people that way.
Comment regularly and substantively on my friends' posts, or at least be sure to answer the comments on my own posts. This is probably the most time-consuming effort on my part, and it's why my friends list doesn't grow very quickly.
This is where I'm most inconsistent. Sometimes, there isn't anything to say on most of the posts, but once in a while you get into a good, prolonged commenting thread about something fairly interesting or important to both/all parties. It does suck, in a way, because there's these gaps of however long where no interaction occurs, so those good conversations fade in significance until the next one happens, and the friendship/relationship lies fallow.
I probably ought to streamline, but a fair number of people on the FL are infrequent posters, so it doesn't mean additional time every day. But there are people with whom I don't really feel as much rapport anymore, or have never really developed any...
I'm really terribly apathetic about my LJ. I add people when they come to my attention and I decide they're interesting. I don't add people who add me if I don't feel like reading their journal. I delete people without remorse. I don't think I ever started paying any attention to the social ramifications.
I also don't generally think of what other people would like when I'm posting. Actually, I realize that all my posts THIS YEAR SO FAR have been of the "a funny thing happened the other day" variety (possibly because my friends are funny? Or possibly because I'm really tired lately so they SEEM funny...) or the "look at this it's neat!" variety. I should probably do something about that and post something with some content.
The problem here is that I have no content. I'm not really that motivated to write up Hrist's Amazing Senior Thesis Adventure, and I don't think anyone's real hot to read it.
I've yet to find common interest searches useful at all. Generally I look at the other people interested in what I'm interested, shudder, and seriously consider getting a new hobby.
But then, again, back to the apathy. I recognize that my friends list is largely static and I hardly ever post and when I do post it's not terribly interesting or insightful... but... I can't seem to make myself care. And I think I'll blame my thesis for that, too.
I'm not really that motivated to write up Hrist's Amazing Senior Thesis Adventure, and I don't think anyone's real hot to read it.
Oh, I don't know. I love a good round of bitching about academics, myself.
Anyway, speaking of absolutely nothing related to this post at all, I got your postcard today and it thrilled me. Thank you. I showed it to Marco and to tharine
when she visited Camden today, which was really appropriate because I took her to the Cyberdog store
. I'm so excited about it I want to take a picture of it and show it to everyone, but I also know you've had crappy experiences with people stealing your images. Therefore, I am perfectly willing to stick it on my fridge and show it off to the people who come over to my house if you'd prefer The Intarnet not to have access to it.
What criteria do you use to decide to add new friends?
a) Reading their LJ to see if they're well-written, funny and personally compatible,
b) if they're Friends-only, reading their comments in communities or other journals for the same reason as above,
c) bonus points if they're also Friends with people whose judgment I trust. Like you. :)
Do you feel yourself getting bored if you don't have fresh stimulus by adding new people?
Sometimes. A lot of people I knew IRL before joining LJ have proved to be rather disappointing in their LJ habits. Some only use their LJ to bitch when things are going bad, so that gives a very one-sided impression of their lives. And most of them have abandoned writing in it altogether.
Do you use filters or keep multiple journals or both? If one and not the other, why?
I've been tempted to start a second LJ, but I know I'd abandon one or the other because I'm lazy, so I stick with filters for keeping up with locals, posting TMI, for posting only to the especially trustworthy etc.
If you're friends-only, what's your rationale?
Oh yeah, I said I was going Friends-only like, back in November, but have been rather lax in enforcing that. ;) I figured I'd do it before I had any particular reason to, contrary beast that I am. But in a way, I'm attempting to be more selective as well, since as you said, common interest searches don't guarantee satisfactory results.
Do you think that deciding to go mostly friends-only has freed you up to post more intimately about your life? Do you feel that your posting or commenting habits have changed since you made that choice?
As a new LJer, I find myself where you were at the beginning of your LJ journey. I have a friend who's kept a diary which I've been reading for a while and one day while bored at work, I thought, like many others before me - why not start my own?
To be perfectly honest, there is a small part of me that wants to be popular and have heaps of LJ friends, and join lots of communities, however as I juggle work, uni and a relationship, I only have so much time to devote to it and therefore try to limit my online interactions to those I deem to be low maintenance.
The final spur to start the journal came after the realisation that I usually write (poetry/short stories) when I'm depressed or down or particularly moved by a negative situation of some sort. My 'unfinished biography' of work reads like that of someone who rarely smiles, and that is not a true reflection of me at all. I tried carrying around a small notebook and pencil to record all my moods, but years of purging negative emotions this way seems to have left a mark on my ability to write anything else.
I thought a change of medium might be the best way for me to learn how to record the good things as well as the bad, so I'm using my LJ as a place to rant, reflect, purge, be silly, whatever, you name it. All my posts are public at the moment and my intention is to keep them that way. I'm curious to see if I will follow what seems to be the trend and start to lock some entries as my friends list grows. I have no plans to change my current minimal approach, but I guess time will tell.
I do however seem to have inadvertently set myself a couple of rules.
*Be completely honest
*Never add friends just for the sake of having them, but never not add someone for fear of rejection
Do I sound idealistic? Like a fresh faced, wet behind the ears enthusiast?
I guess I am and I know this wasn't quite what you were asking, but thought it might be nice to give you a newbies perspective.
I have added you to my friends list as I love reading your LJ. Feel free to add me - or not, read mine, comment, or not. I may try to woo you, but right now I think I need to go to bed.
Actually, I think you're far less naïve about your LJ expectations than many of the rest of us were when we first started our LJs. Most importantly, you already realize that maintaining a community of online friends is just as much work as maintaining real-life ones, if you want to form high-quality, rewarding and trusting relationships with them.
I admire your ground rules, particularly the one about adding people boldly. As you say, this may be a function of newness to LJ and the relatively small size of your friends list. I think, however, you're more likely to be able to build a close core community if you start out being open rather than excessively guarded and cautious.
Consider your wooing accomplished, by the way. ;-)