Skip to the article, or search this site

Chloe Aged ML ML Gold Gold Licorice Aged Licorice Licorice Chloe ML Chloe OwEWxCHq

This essay is sponsored by Ioana, who is similarly affected by LiveJournal nostalgia.

Recently, while searching in the Narnian depths of my closet, I found my first-ever diary, a small, perfectly ’80s plastic-back book with a busted lock. When I was nine or ten, I marred the cover with handwritten bon mots from Ferngully, such as “You are one bodacious babe” and “Awesome use of the language, dude.” Within the pink and teal pages of the diary, though, I’m seven years old, growing up on a rural farm in central Illinois. I write mostly about my plans for the evening or the next day, usually sleepovers with my friends or visits with family. My girlfriends and apparently I read each other’s diaries during sleepovers; I mention several times that my best friend, Joni, is reading “not this journal, but the paperback one” as I write.

I made my first LiveJournal post at age sixteen, writing about my first break-up. I’d been online since middle school and had written about life there for years, coding websites in Notepad by cherry-picking the HTML from other sites I liked, just like many other girls I’d meet online in the next few years. We posted vague bios about ourselves. We changed our names. Our identities were fluid and often hidden, without the permanence of digital photos to anchor them. We wrote poetry. We claimed space on Tripod and Geocities, altern.org and scribble.nu and then, as girls bought their own domains and shared the paid space with their friends, we moved in with them, prefacing our subdomains with forward slashes. And when girls began to sign up on LiveJournal, we were able to talk to one another, finally in the same room.

I wrote in my LiveJournal while sitting cross-legged at my mom’s desk chair as the sun set over husked Illinois cornfields. On our first-ever computer, a Gateway 2000. Years later, I wrote while slouched on my dorm room floor or hiding my screen in a college computer lab. I wrote at night, after everyone I lived with had gone to bed. I listened to Tori Amos and Iron and Wine and Fiona Apple from CDs I fed to the computer tower and opened in WinAmp. I wrote about myself and my life, in the confessional, navel-gazey way that’s led to the 2015 connotation of the word. To LiveJournal: to write messily about your feelings.

I posted on LiveJournal throughout high school, strapping on my cheap headphones and plucking from the words piling up in my teenage heart. I wrote about the revelations of play rehearsal three nights a week, about shouting to my classmates from our respective cars in the school parking lot, about reading Sylvia Plath for the first time and literally hugging the book after finishing the last page. I fell in love, the way I knew falling in love should be—suddenly and joyously. I typed out the text of my first college acceptance letter and posted it on LiveJournal.

I wrote about starting my first job, at a bookstore, how the manager training me gestured to the shelves and asked if anyone had “taught (me) about Romance yet”—she was talking about protocol for shelving the novels, but I shivered with delight, illegally signed in to LiveJournal on a staff computer a few minutes later to tell my friends list about the turn of phrase. I loved Letters to a Young Poet and Rilke’s quote “If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches.” I wanted to make poetry out of life, to believe that life was good and beautiful, and when I was younger, that never seemed difficult. I posted on LiveJournal most days, often with a great sense of relief that it was finally time to write it all down. I bound zines full of writing I’d posted on LiveJournal; I got into college using essays I’d started on LiveJournal. The world seemed to always be shedding those riches Rilke spoke of, shiny coins from shallow pockets. I wanted to collect them, keep them all, warm them in my palms.

In college, I had my first glass of wine, alone with a boy who was not my boyfriend, and LiveJournal was the only one I told. I wrote frantically on LiveJournal when my infant cousin was rushed to the hospital and I grieved on LiveJournal the next day when she died at ten months old. I wrote about going home and staying up all night with my friends, walking to a nearby graveyard with them at 3am, how a star fell above us as we walked home on the deserted highway.

Reading back, of course, it’s all a little precious, all a little LiveJournal. I was figuring out that I was a writer, but I was also young, I was very sure about many incorrect things, I felt ready for life without having any realistic idea of what life was actually like. In short, I was a teenage girl. It reassured me to filter everything, as it happened, through words. The best way for me to comprehend my own life was to read it back to myself.

And I knew I wasn’t alone. The girls who read my LJ, and vice versa, were doing the same; they, too, believed their lives were at least worth documenting, and so we were hungry together, reaching out toward the details in one another’s lives like vines toward the sun; we loved each other, celebrated surprise joys and consoled atomic hurt. We joined communities to learn to knit and to share poetry and to post photos of ourselves. We created new usernames to symbolize new directions in our lives–one for college, one for poetry, one for only extra-secret secrets. LiveJournal was a neverending sleepover for us sentimental storytellers, teenagers who were feeling every feeling. The sun was just about to come up. We had plenty of snacks. We passed our diaries around the circle.

In the LJ archives of my dear friend Courtney, there’s a post she made in 2002, as a teenage girl:

man this thing works. its like all the badness escapes when you write it down.

I stopped using LiveJournal years ago, though I gave it up in fits, came crawling back to create temporary friends-only journals that now sit dormant with only four or five posts. LiveJournal ended with a whisper; all the other girls I’d gotten to know over nearly a decade on the site stopped using it, too, seemingly within the same few months. Many of us moved to Tumblr, where there was no comment function, and our personal posts became rarer and rarer and—in my case, anyway—eventually stopped.

Last fall, after hearing about TinyLetter, a personal newsletter service, I signed up for an account. For several weeks, I sent out letters that were bad versions of other people’s fascinating TinyLetters. Finally, after some weeks of floundering, I sat down at the end of a hard day at work and wrote a letter about how I felt—very scared and lost at thirty-one. I stared out my office windows. I cried a little. I just feel like I see these lives I imagined for myself all over the place sometimes, walking around, being real. Where I’d normally sent several draft iterations to my inbox, I barely even proofread this letter. “Are you sure?” TinyLetter asked. I wasn’t. I clicked Yes, send it now and went home.

I can’t shake the memory that writing was easy in the LiveJournal days; I remember sitting at that computer desk in my childhood home, writing about my innermost joys, and pausing at the keyboard, my fingers poised over the keys. I shut my eyes and waited, knowing the next words would come soon—and they always did. Whether they came only because I believed they would, or vice versa, I still don’t know. But in the same way I knew the words would come, I knew that life would always be good to me, that its riches would always be clear to me; or at least that I could be “poet enough” to seek them out.

At the same time, I was shot through with loss since my adolescent days, terrified of how quickly time slipped by. I wrote about my life with a sense of urgency, as if documenting it could save me from getting older, as a way to cling to the hours. I stretched my minutes before bedtime to post on LiveJournal, my parents hovering in the doorway. I forced myself to stay awake on late study nights to post on LiveJournal. Weekends home from college, I held my breath, waiting for my Grandma’s ancient iMac to connect to her rural internet, so I could write on LiveJournal about the dinner we’d just had as my whole big family talked and laughed in the next room.

The reference to “the paperback one” in my childhood diary is the only indication I have that the paperback diary ever existed. I can’t find it; I don’t remember it. But I wrote about it once.

I signed in to LiveJournal recently and felt a pang of familiarity while reading the usernames on my Friends list. Even the usernames of people with whom I’ve lost touch evoked clear, hollering memories: what they were like, where they lived, who they loved. Clicking through the list of names yields lots of final posts that read “I wish I still wrote here” or “I wish LJ wasn’t so deserted.”

After I sent out my messy TinyLetter, readers and friends responded with emails and texts. I stood in my dark driveway and read them on my phone, feeling the same small lift that a bold 1 comment link gave me in the LiveJournal days, a feeling so familiar and specific that it swayed nostalgic, like listening to a mix tape I’d made as a teenager.

One of the emails was from a girl I met on LiveJournal as a teenager; she expressed amazement that my stepson is so old now, gratefulness for the TinyLetter, the easy way it led us to reconnect after so long. She wrote, “We have only ever known each other on the internet, but still.”

LiveJournal friends are still so ubiquitous in my life that I often forget how we met. Many are (still) writers. When I scroll through my Twitter feed, I see my LiveJournal friends. When I got married, LiveJournal friends stood in the sun and cheered. We’ve known and loved each other for well over a decade. We’ve listened to one another’s daily lives and confessions and complaints. Most of us have never met in person or even talked on the phone, but we’ve read each others’ diaries and found ourselves there. It’s true that we’ve only ever known each other on the internet.

But still.

$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Donation Total: $1.00

Lindsey Gates-Markel's work has most recently been published in Little Fiction, WhiskeyPaper, and The Rumpus. She writes feelings-y emails through her newsletter, Dear Livejournal.

Add a comment

Comments (203)

Logging you in...
I LAST POSTED ON LIVEJOURNAL YESTERDAY.

(I got into it in my late teens, after its glory days had passed. But it is still where I have made and maintained a lot of friendships, and it's still an important part of my life.)
· active 168 weeks ago
Too overwhelmed by nostalgia, will now lie down on the office floor for a while.

(I still check my flist every day, and I have a few friends that still post often, but man, it's quiet.)

(I've visited friends all over that I met on LJ. I've met their spouses and held their babies.)

(LJ friends helped save my life.)

(ENOUGH PARENTHETICALS)
· active 181 weeks ago
+28

Nicole Callahan · 181 weeks ago

I am so happy that LiveJournal brought Lindsey and this essay into my life. That is all.
Yes. Yes to all of this. I joined LJ in 2000? 2001? and it was my jam. I'd made my account to stay close to my fandoms, which had moved there from egroups and webrings, but my LJ quickly grew to encompass so much of my life. I miss those old days - the internet was so much smaller and intimate then, and certainly more innocent.

Licorice ML Gold Chloe ML Chloe Aged Gold Licorice Aged Chloe ML Licorice
My account is still there, and on the (very) odd days that I post to my DW, I'll crosspost to that LJ. I don't think anyone follows me anymore, but I can't stop. I miss that place and who I was back then.
+17

crl 122p · 181 weeks ago

Man oh man, does this bring back memories. I actually had a Diaryland journal first and then slowly migrated over to Xanga before winding up on LJ. I was there for I-don't-remember-how-long before the mass exodus to Dreamwidth when LJ started getting all weird and making changes no one wanted.

Some of my closest Internet friends are people I've met through LJ. I remember the thrill of excitement whenever the friendship would graduate from LJ to exchanging friend requests on Facebook, or finally agreeing to meet up in person. My LJ community encouraged my horrible early attempts at fanfic; they've always backed my crazy ideas and were nothing but supportive when I made the leap into more "mainstream" writing ventures.

Pouring one out for the good old days of LJ right now.
· active 178 weeks ago
Oh man, this. THIS THIS THIS.

I actually still use LJ, but instead of whispering at a slumber party, it's more like shouting into a void most days.

LJ people are MY people, and they are the BEST people. Your tumblr could never.
· active 181 weeks ago
+10

ann1011 122p · 181 weeks ago

HERE FOR THIS.
I still have the LJ I created in 2000. I posted to it yesterday. It's funny--my experience of writing and portraying myself on the Internet has been sort of backwards from Lindsey's. My LJ, especially in the later high school years, is FULL of private entries, for my eyes only, in which I let myself be messy and teenage. The friends-locked and public entries were Serious Girl stuff, school and church and plans for the future. I was so fearful of being a "typical teenage girl," whatever that meant to me, where even the friends closest to me could see it, afraid of even other girls my age seeing the things I felt so strongly. As I've gotten older, I've found value in being more open, in my life and online. I've written personal essays and posted personal tidbits to Tumblr. I didn't let myself feel every feeling when I was sixteen, but I'm glad I'm learning how now.

LJ sent me a sad little email yesterday, about bringing your friends back to the site. Somehow I don't see that happening. LJ now, for me, is just a journal.

Anyway this piece is great. Thank you, Lindsey.
I LOVED LiveJournal, I connected with so many other teenagers mostly in the UK, the US and Canada. I lived in the tiniest rural Belgian town and 'knowing' all these people was amazing to me. Everyone's lives were fascinating to me and somehow my posts about myself seemed interesting to them. The community aspect was fun too, I still read one up to this year when it finally moved to Facebook. It's fun still reading posts by the same people but I miss the LJ format, haha.
· Aged Licorice Licorice Chloe Chloe ML Gold Chloe Licorice Aged Gold ML ML active 181 weeks ago
I...cannot really respond to this right now because I am too overwhelmed with nostalgia and sadness and loveBlack Silver Fila Running Shoe Black Metallic Gamble Women's qn1HwRv god damn it for that site. Maybe later. Everything that you wrote was perfect. Thank you.
SCRIBBLE.NU, THOUGH! I am glad I am not the only one who remembers that.

I identified with all of this, but none so much as the paragraph about learning HTML, websites on tripod, and desperately wanting your own domain. That was such a huge part of my high school life - and yep, it culminated with joining LJ the week I graduated high school.
· active 181 weeks ago
Oh man this brought me back, I got onto journal in 2002 with some Lord of the Rings referencing username, had a dalliance with a personal website/blog on one of those shared paid domain spaces you refer to! Had flirtations with LJ's poorer cousins Greatestjournal and deadjournal (my goth phase). Its incredible how some people I knew "to see" on LJ, turned their presence into huge internet presences today, recognised by people who never knew LJ. My last entry on my current LJ was November 2013, the personal posts spluttered along, getting shorter and fewer in my college years (2007-11). One of my current best friends, came into my life via livejournal. Certainly as there are more platforms to share your life - instagram, tumblr, they don't feel like safe spaces in the way LJ did. It was a like one big sleepover, to this lonely girl living in rural Ireland - friends in large cities, all over the world. I miss it!
· active 181 weeks ago
+61

james · 181 weeks ago

Did anyone use Diaryland before LiveJournal? I still post in both, at least once a year. Hello, I am still alive.

Both of those websites have given me some of the closest, most intense friendships I've had.

A girl in Denver friended me (in England) on LJ in 2001. Exchanged comments, AIM usernames, the occasional email. In 2008 I was planning to fly over to attend her wedding, and from her LiveJournal history I could see that her fiance was a cheater and all around scumbag. So when she confessed she had a crush on me I told her to call it off and bought her a plane ticket to England. We've been married for almost six years now. Every now and then I'll say to her: You married @alpheius from LiveJournal.

People laugh about LiveJournal but the one thing I miss the most is that every step away from that format has had more of an expectation of an audience and feels more performative, less intimate. Communities on the internet seem less tightly-knit now. Or perhaps 15 years and adulthood has just eroded mine. I used to write about serious difficult things to nobody on LJ, and, somehow, a few people found them, and that more or less implied friendship. Now I say nothing to my actual friends on Facebook.
· active 181 weeks ago
Oh my god, yes, this. I lived on LJ a d loved it and wrote constantly and lived for comments and updates from my friends. I love them all--they came to my wedding--we visit every summer. There is something so vital about sharing the deep gooey insides before you ever meet in person and before you even see a picture (there was a time before camera everything and easy uploading) and had only an icon to look at. Oh the hours I spent personalizing with song lyrics and pretty icons.

I really miss it. There's nothing like it. Tumblr does not come close, lacking a good comment feature, and Facebook is so drowned in everyday stuff it isn't the same. LJ was so important to me and to fandom and oh god I miss it so much. And I miss my friends--not that I don't still interact with them, which I do, but there was a sense of being involved in their lives in a deep and tangible way.

Phew.
· active 179 weeks ago
"I can’t shake the memory that writing was easy in the LiveJournal days"

Oh my god, this sentiment. I think about it almost every day when I try to write, and how I used to be so self-assured that what I wrote deserved an audience. Wish I could have bottled that and stored it for later.

I don't even remember my livejournal name, or whether I deleted it. I'd like to go back and check but the information I'd need to dig it up is probably entombed on my old desktop computer at my parents' home. I only really had one "friend" on LJ, she was a year older, lived in Texas (vs. my Wisconsin). She was so cool-- she wore clothes from Urban Outfitters and watched Daria and had a maybe-boyfriend-- but approachably so, I always thought of her as an actual friend, not an idol or anything. We liked the same songs by the Arctic Monkeys and Fall Out Boy, and for her birthday I drew her a picture of her OC. I still have the original, which means I didn't ever work up the nerve to ask for an address to send it to, but I would have scanned it and uploaded it to DeviantArt, I think.

I feel like the Toast comments are often in the same vein of community as LJ had been. Different, but similar. I feel like my LJ friend could be a Toast commenter these days, you know?
· active 181 weeks ago
Livejournal (actually Journalfen was technically first, yikes) was my first foray into social media, and I still really miss some of the features. I haven't found another blogging platform with as many filtering options--granted, I probably wouldn't use them anyway, because my days of posting really personal stuff on the internet are long over. But it was so great when I was a teen, living the dream of writing a diary that people actually read and found interesting.

Plus all the fandom scenes, which I didn't actively participate in but still kept up with, were incredible (and sometimes frighteningly intense--Harry Potter fandom, even we LOTR fans gazed upon your epic fights with awe) back then. Most of that seems to have migrated over to Tumblr now.
+18

Pear 126p · 181 weeks ago

OHHHH MY DAYS I'VE HAD A LIVEJOURNAL FOR 12 YEARS NOW

This is such a wonderful essay, thank you! I can really identify with many parts of it.

I think one reason I got through my teenage years more or less intact was because I had an LJ. On the other hand, some of LJ is deeply unsavoury, as with any site. I'll be the first to admit I was fascinated by LJ comm dramz. Like, I met one of my very best friends through LJ because we were both into loli fashion and so thought it was great fun to yell at people for wearing frilly clothes """wrong""". Thankfully we both changed.

It makes me feel deeply ashamed to know there's concrete evidence that I was a completely garbage teenager a decade ago, and it would be totally fine if people disliked me on that basis. Honestly. I was terrible. I don't even allow myself to think 'Oh but I've come so far now!'--I just want to shove myself down the back of the sofa.
· active 181 weeks ago
So many LJ feels, oh jeez. So many. This is perfect.
+10

Goodbye In Robot · 181 weeks ago

"I wanted to make poetry out of life, to believe that life was good and beautiful, and when I was younger, that never seemed difficult." <-- Yes. That's perfect.

Writing on the Internet did not feel like as much of a performance back then as it does now. I confess I have never really figured out how to grow my Internet-self beyond what it was in about 2005. Livejournal was so formative to me, and yet it ruined me in some ways, too. I have such admiration for those old-school journallers / bloggers who've been able to keep a public personal narrative going over the years.

And the sleepover analogy is perfect -- there was absolutely a sense that my LJ entries, even those marked Public, were secrets my friends would keep. When I realized I needed to censor myself more on LJ, I flailed around until I disappeared back into my fiction writing and let my LJ get old and crusty.
Aged Chloe ML Chloe ML Licorice Gold Gold Chloe Licorice Licorice Aged ML
· active 168 weeks ago
I've been posting daily on LiveJournal since 2004, and I don't really understand why so many people have left. Most of the friends I'd made there migrated to Facebook, which is not at all conducive to thoughtful posts of multiple paragraphs. I guess most LJ users were there for the sense of community, so as people started to leave, there was less incentive to remain? There's still plenty of content on my Friends page, sincelots of writers still use it regularly -- Marie Brennan, Jo Walton, and Ursula Vernon come to mind -- but I wish my old LJ friends still wanted to share what was on their minds and what's really going on in their lives.
· active 181 weeks ago Aged Licorice Chloe Licorice ML Chloe Gold Chloe Licorice ML ML Gold Aged
Oh man. I had a Livejournal all through middle school and high school and then deleted it late in college in a fit of embarrassment for my teenage self, and now I am FILLED WITH REGRET. I had so many feelings that I'm finally ready to laugh about!
· active 181 weeks ago
Can we talk about how awesome LJ was for fandom!?

Licorice Gold Chloe ML ML Licorice Chloe Aged Gold Licorice Chloe ML Aged
For a huge part of my teens, LiveJournal was my only journal and I poured my heart out into it. It saw some of the darkest and happiest moments of my life. But mostly I just squeed about fanfiction.
· active 181 weeks ago
Frank the Goat *weeps*

It was very surprising and unsettling to me how fast LJ collapsed on itself, how people who would post multiple times a week or even per day suddenly just stopped cold. I stopped updating mine after I finished undergrad and moved 200 km away for grad school - I had a hard time dealing with the changes (in hindsight I probably had a mild form of depression, but I never thought to get therapy and I eventually got out of it) and didn't feel like writing yet another entry about how much I hated everything. When I came back to LJ after months away, I didn't even have to go back 20 entries on my friends list to catch up. Everyone had just trickled away to Tumblr or other social media platforms or maybe none at all.

LiveJournal led me to my best friend, who's been like a sister to me for 10 years, and to many other friends that I'm still close with. It's strange to think that a website that enriched my life so greatly doesn't seem to have much value to anyone anymore.
· active 181 weeks ago
ML Aged Gold Chloe ML Licorice Chloe Licorice Licorice ML Aged Chloe Gold
I kept a personal journal for almost exactly my entire time at undergrad (the final entry is essentially just 'oh my god I graduated!'), and it was one of the best things I ever did, mainly because I was writing for myself, which was something I'd never done before.

Chloe Licorice Licorice Gold Chloe Chloe Aged ML ML Licorice Gold Aged ML
What I miss most about LJ is actually the RP community I joined there, long after I stopped keeping a personal journal myself. The game migrated to another platform a few years ago, and I left not long afterwards, but the people I met there are some of the best friends I ever made.
· active 181 weeks ago
I've been an active LJ user since 2001, and I still post at least weekly and read there daily! My friends list is pretty active, too, but that's because I've regularly added new people over the years, and I also make a consistent effort to comment on people's posts, because part of the point of LJ to me has been opening up conversations. LJ has many, many problems - not least its frequent downtimes - but it fills a niche in my social media world that no other site can. I love the immediacy of Twitter, the chattiness of Facebook, the prettiness of Tumblr, but none of them really allow for the slow development of real friendships in the way that LJ has. Hey, I even, in a roundabout way, met my husband through LJ. So: it's stuck with me to the bitter end, I think.
· active 181 weeks ago
I think I was just a teensy bit too young for LJ but I had a Xanga, which I filled with angsty poetry and photos of my teenage artwork. Xanga was weird because I think I remember Michelle Phan, of YouTube stardom, being really popular on Xanga back in 2005 or so. I guess when YouTube happened she moved her fanbase over there and that's how she got so famous so fast. But possibly I'm imagining it?
· active 181 weeks ago
I'm having a lot of feelings.
· active 181 weeks ago
I got into LJ late (2008ish? Just after high school, I believe), but I am still so nostalgic for it! I feel like it was 100000x easier to make friends there. And even then, I rather sucked at it. The people I'm closest to on Twitter and Tumblr are the same people from LJ fandom. I wish LJ stuck around longer, cuz I might've actually figured out how to make those really close friendships I always see.

Can we just, as a group, decide to all move back?
· active 181 weeks ago
OH MAN. I will occasionally check my old LJ (which I kept writing in periodically until...2008?). I was SO SERIOUS about everything. It does go through my first love and heartbreak, so I can't bear to get rid of it, no matter how much I'm embarrassed for my younger self.
· active 181 weeks ago
+6

wrestlethethistles Chloe ML Chloe Licorice ML Gold ML Licorice Gold Aged Aged Chloe Licorice 96p · 181 weeks ago

The timing on this post is uncanny. I just recently started blogging again, and one of the very first things I did was express regret over the lost LJ community of yesteryear. (And I am so thankful for the LJ friends I did manage to keep in touch with, too.)

This essay is so well observed and I will now be joining the other commenters in a fog of nostalgia for the rest of the day.
· active 181 weeks ago
+6

thundersnow · 181 weeks ago

THE FEELS. My LJ turned 12 years old last month. I still write in it every week (even though as someone said about, it's like shouting into the void now)(even though I made all my posts before like 2 years ago private and will NEVER EVER READ THEM AGAIN). All my best internet friends were there.
This is lovely. I was a regular LJ user for about four years but stopped partway through college. Finally downloaded the whole thing as a PDF last year so I could delete it from the site, but I'm so glad I have it -- there's a lot in there that didn't get that much space in my regular (handwritten) journals, and I don't think anything really matches that feeling of pouring everything out in an entry and then having your friends respond.

Also, god, the number of quizzes and questionnaires I did back then. Buzzfeed quizzes =/= LJ quizzes.
· active 181 weeks ago
I still post to Dreamwidth! (And cross-post to LJ, but with comments off there because I hate split discussion.)

It's harder because (1) no scheduled posts, and I try not to post time-stamped things during the workday and (2) ineffable feeling that the barrier to production is higher than quickie links elsewhere, but I still read and keep up with people there. Come to Dreamwidth! The features are better than LJ and there's no ads!
· active 181 weeks ago
Love this post. I got into LJ in 2012 when I discovered fandom at 18. A lot of old Harry Potter links, if they're not dead, led me to it. One of my favorites about LJ is that I can see a lot of what went down through the years because of the easy-access archive. And I especially love it's comment feature which, personally, encouraged me to articulate my thoughts on a post (as opposed to my incoherent tags in tumblr). And anyway, it's really nice to read about what people thought.
oh man, livejournal. before livejournal i had a blurty, and there was a xanga for a while, and then i had a blogspot before i finally switched to tumblr circa 2008.

but livejournal—i wish i hadn't deleted and purged my account. i mean, i understand why i did it, but i feel so removed from who i was in 2001, i wish i could go back and read my thoughts, and read those interactions.
yes! love this essay, loved livejournal, and love all these comments too! i wonder if any of us knew each other & might be reunited as online pals, even?? some of my LJ usernames included SPYFIVE, XOSPARROW, PRIZEFIGHT... and... probably a half-dozen "secret" accounts i'm now forgetting :)
I never got much into LJ, but I had another online community, born from, of all things, those awful Lisi Harrison novels "The Clique." (They're really, really awful. They're probably supposed to be satire but as a 13 year old I thought they were serious.) The back of the book had a link to lisiharrison.net/forum, and girls from there eventually made their own forums, password protected and hidden from outsiders. (Of course I've forgotten the password and can't get back in to see what I wrote!!) My group was Glam Clan (GC)(lol) and we updated each other faithfully about our problems, shared music, helped with school stuff, etc. We all splintered as we hit the upper classes of high school, but most of us are Facebook friends. Even if we don't talk like we used to, I'm so thankful to have had those girls as my sounding board when I needed them. I wish I could get back in and see what I wrote!!
So I've had them in the past so I could comment on other people's journals, rather than to keep my own; I feel weird enough writing in an actual paper private journal (and once I'm done with one I always rip it up/get rid of the evidence). Now I sadly don't have the time to commit to something like that, but maybe in the future at some point. I wish I had kept one when I started reading fic/getting into things online, but I was much more of a lurker than a participant at that point.

On Livejournal vs. tumblr: I know that the tumblr community is pretty freaking awesome, but I felt like there was a heft and length to LJ posts and discussions that I think tumblr doesn't lend itself to quite as well. I love reading people's seemingly endless fandom-related posts and meta discussions on LJ and weep every time one of them is abandoned and I can no longer read a 20,000-word post on how Buffy season 6 is amazing or how the family dynamics in Harry Potter work or what have you. The deep thoughts and discussions on Livejournal are invaluable to me.

Also, yes, wow, Gateway 2000.
· active 181 weeks ago
I purged my LJ a couple of years ago. It was... I don't know. My heaviest LJ use corresponded almost exactly with two of the biggest depressive episodes I've ever had, and reliving those times was not a good thing for me. Honestly, even thinking about the events of those years is not feeling particularly healthy so purging it was probably for the best.

As with most things in life, I don't think I used LJ "right," in that I never really made friends or discovered things or met people like so many others did. No one read it, really. I just vomited depression all over it for five years. It served its purpose at its time and now that's done.
i suddenly and deeply miss Livejournal and my LJ friends... but i do not remember the passwords to my hs or college accounts and stupidly i used my college email for the college one, so no way to retrieve that.

i used to read the whole thing cover to cover occassionally, like a cohesive narrative of self.
· active 181 weeks ago
Spirit Blue Black Sneaker Vegan Women's Fashion Jambu Smoke B5qwaB1
Just chiming in as someone else who has melted into a puddle of nostalgia. I've had an LJ for eleven years THIS MONTH, since I was 15, and it was once everything to me too, and online friends are still everything to me. And I do still post in it, though not nearly as much as I used to. I was a compulsive journaler, ever since first grade, and the habit only changed after I finished college and got that detested Real Job, working 40 hours a week. Now I like to focus my writing time on fiction, but I still record major updates in my LJ. It's still the easiest writing I do.

How I dealt with the records of years of my life I can't bear to look at anymore: I locked them down as private-only, en masse. It helped to know that no one else can see them now. But I have a pretty strong aversion to deleting anything (even to others deleting things -- I see people I don't even know here talking about how they purged their journals, and it makes me SO SAD, I can't look at the comments for long).
+10

Emily 128p · 181 weeks ago

ugh I truly can't distinguish what is different because the Internet is no longer this weird new thing vs. what is different because I'm an adult. Posting stuff less often? Posting more cynical things? Not having that close online friend group? I guess a little of both for all of those...
I updated my journal on a semi-regular basis until at least late 2011/early 2012, and then finally let it die. But last fall I was going through a thing and went and poured my heart out on LJ and it felt so good, even though there were only 4-5 people still around to read it. I definitely no longer have the interest/energy to keep up with it the way I did back in 2003, with as many as 5 posts a day, but I mourn that sense of community it fostered. So many of my closest friends are LJ friends from back in the day. I wonder how different my life would be, and how different a person I would be, if I had never stumbled on LJ and the amazing group of women I found there.
· active 181 weeks ago
I met my girlfriend on LJ almost exactly six years ago today in a super niche, super strange fandom-adjacent community that could only have existed on LJ at that time. I've technically had an LJ account for about 14 years (eesh) and it's clearly the best thing to have come out of it, for me. <3
I always thought I was too young for LiveJournal (in retrospect, I wasn't, it just took me a long time to shed the lurker instinct) and now I feel weirdly sad to have missed out on all of this. I spent so much of my teenagerdom feeling alone and uncool and I could've been alone and uncool on the internet with other people, but I was afraid they'd realize I was uncool and make me feel even more alone.
I've had an LJ since 2001 (14 years!) though for the last ~3 years it has been largely dormant, with only occasional posts. It makes me terribly sad to have left it so abandoned, and to have lost that community of friends.

I miss it. So much. I miss the safety and comfort of seeing my thoughts appear in the update box. I miss being able to write as prolifically as I did back then. I miss having a built-in supportive audience of readers and friends. I miss learning the ins and outs and mundanities of their lives. I miss feeling like what I was doing and thinking was worth recording.

Making friends has never come easy to me, not in high school, not in college, and certainly not now at the tail end of my 20s. LJ helped immeasurably. The real-life friendships I had in high school and college were strengthened and maintained because we could follow and uncover each other's lives and thoughts in that safe space. And the internet friendships with strangers half a world a way were just as invaluable, sometimes more so.

Although I initially met my girlfriend through another online forum (what up AOL Teen Message Boards circa 2000!), LJ is where our friendship deepened. I highly doubt that we would have made the leap from Online Friends to Live-In Girlfriends without those hundreds and hundreds of LJ entries and late-night comments (...which turned into IMs and then to letters to phone calls to cross-country flights to 5-hour bus rides to moving in together to getting a little annoying cat...the ultimate lesbian achievement).

Chloe Chloe Aged Chloe Licorice Aged Licorice Licorice ML Gold ML ML Gold
I have a tumblr, which is fun and addicting, and I've sort of gotten to know a couple of people through there, but it is nowhere near the same. I'm wary of posting anything too personal there. It's not conducive to long posts, and everything just seems so much more...temporary and transient. And then there's the lack of effective commenting system. The commentariat here is the only thing that has come close to LJ in the community sense (but not necessarily in the sharing-my-life sense, as I'm paranoid and this is a public, highly popular website).

It's hard to lose something that has been a constant for almost half your life.

...Probably should have posted this feelingsvomit in LJ, huh.
· active 181 weeks ago
Can someone tell me how Tiny Letter works?
· active 181 weeks ago
I've been posting on LJ regularly since 2001 (clevermanka there, too). I think I'll be one of the last people there. It's okay. I'll turn off the lights when I leave.
· active 179 weeks ago
Oh my god, reading this made me feel So Much. I've had an LJ since 2001 (sophomore year of high school), so that'll be 14 years exactly this August. I used it obsessively in high school (all my school friends had accounts and it was a big part of how we communicated outside of class), regularly in college, but it's petered out in the years post-graduation, especially as more and more of my friends have moved away from the platform. Nowadays I still make posts, but it's much more sporadic - end of year posts, or when I really want to put something on the record and say, "this happened." It feels more permanent than other platforms like tumblr (which I love and am addicted to), so I still find myself going back there. It is very much like shouting into a void, though. Or like I've set up camp on a mountain and every so often I build a new cairn - sometimes someone adds a rock or two but it doesn't happen much these days. (It's still my mountain, though, and I like it well enough for what it gives me.)

On the positive side, some of the comms are still quite active and vibrant, and I definitely value the, well, community provided by one of them in particular. Even in these twilight years of LJ. :) All in all, though, I don't think we'll ever go back to the heyday of the mid-00s... too much has changed in social media-land, and some things just can't be replicated. I don't know.
· active 181 weeks ago
Thanks for this. I was on Livejournal from nearly the beginning and over the years I have come and gone with accounts there, on DW, on IJ and on Deadjournal. I recently created a new one because I realized there were people on LJ that don't use other social networking sites and of all the various sites LJ was the one I was the happiest writing on and the Doctor Who fandom there is amazing. Nice to see other people still have nostalgia for it!
1

Post a new comment

Comments by

Licorice Aged Chloe Chloe Licorice Chloe ML Gold Aged ML ML Gold Licorice

Skip to the top of the page, search this site, or read the article again

(Close this.)
Chloe Aged ML ML Gold Gold Licorice Aged Licorice Licorice Chloe ML Chloe OwEWxCHq Chloe Aged ML ML Gold Gold Licorice Aged Licorice Licorice Chloe ML Chloe OwEWxCHq Chloe Aged ML ML Gold Gold Licorice Aged Licorice Licorice Chloe ML Chloe OwEWxCHq