Rosamicula (rosamicula) wrote,

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Suebedoo's LJ Survey

What attracts you to someone on LJ? I don't mean sexually, or romantically, but what makes you want to read their journal or add them to your friends list?

This is trickier than it seems because what initially made LJ so appealing was that the mix of people on my friendslist for my first year or so of journalling. Then it was a couple of my closest friends and a few complete strangers I hooked up with via other communities and their own friendslists. What attracted me to the strangers was that they were literate and entertaining in their own journals. Sometimes the appeal would be the erudite way they wrote about professional interests or passionate enthusiasms, sometimes the literate and engaging way they write about their lives, sometimes a combination of both. For a while I thought I had the perfect blend of readers: trusted friends and trustworthy strangers, but I made the mistake of being far too trusting of some people's writing and nowhere near sceptical enough of their motives. At the time I was completely naive about the nature of online personae and relationships.

Now I have a lot of people on f-list that I met in real life first, mainly because I developed real life friendships with some of the 'strangers' I mentioned above and have thus been introduced to more people with LJs. Quite often I read their journals simply because I like them and want to keep up with what is going on in their lives, so these are not the kind of people whose LJs I would have added to my f-list if I had come upon them randomly. That's not a criticism of the style of their journals but a comment on their journals' function as, primarily, a social diary.

I derive considerable pleasure from the connections I have made with people overseas or people here I may never meet. The overseas ones allow me to watch the trajectories of other lives far removed from my own and allow for intimacies and confidences that would never be possible outside this curious environment. It would be almost impossible to from friendships with some of the UK ones in real life; geography, circumstances and age differences would all form major obstacles, but that doesn't mean the online friendship and sense of community isn't valid and if anything shows up the arbitrary nature of those obstacles. I certainly feel I have much more in common in terms of mutual comprehension, outlook and aesthetics with the aggressively articulate bloke from Wigan who is young enough to be my son than I have with probably the majority of women who share my age and profession.

As for the 'not sexually or romantically', well, I have had sexual and/or romantic relationships with a small number of people I've met via friends-listing and there is quite a significant number I would give sexual/romantic consideration to, in the right circumstances. It is the perfect flirting tool.

Conversely, what turns you off?

The obvious turn-offs are journals full of illiteracy, crassness and tedium, and padded out with those Attention-Seeking for Dummies 'describe me'/'tell me what you want to do to me' memes. But this isn't such an easy question to answer, if answered honestly. There's the delicate issue of what turns one off in one's own f-list, and why one carries on reading regardless. Sometimes this is just a feature of the often amusing dissonance between the person and the way they use/write their journal, such as the man who recounts their romantic/sexual life with all the passion and romance of an Excel spreadsheet. Sometimes it is both compelling and repugnant: the guy who repeatedly states the bleeding obvious but in tones of quasi-philosophical portentousness like those aggravating 'meaningful' bits in Sex and the City; the woman who uses LJ for validation like the wicked Stepmother uses the mirror in Snow White, and turns sour when it occasionally tells her the truth; the girl who spends hours relaying her exact feelings about herself and mapping the precise coordinates of her every shifting mood with such fluency and concentration it makes me wonder what she would see if she ever turned her gaze away from herself - the unexamined life might not be worth living, but the unexamined world is scarcely worth living in.

I am uneasy about reading those (very very few) journals about which I am scornful because it seems to me to smack of the 'mocking the Bedlamites' mentality that makes Big Brother so compelling in its ghastliness. I neither want nor need to be turned on to someone's journal by a sense of my own superiority and feel vaguely uncomfortable mocking them in the company of others who read them for the same reasons I do. But I still do it...

What makes someone an Alpha player? What do they have that makes 500+ people regularly read their journal?

Sometimes it will be the amazing quality of their artwork or writing or because they are well known in real life. Sometimes it will be because they are attractive (or otherwise) people who post semi-naked pictures of themselves for the delectation of people who don't get out much, sometimes because they are serial frienders and/or comment whores. Most of the pople I know in real life who have large f-lists seem to have acquired them out of a sense of social obligation and use filters to ignore most of them. I suspect I am in the minority as I do read my entire f-list though I do read very very fast. I'm am very sceptical that the 500+ers deserve the 'Alpha' epithet. They may not be popular, just common. I should imagine there are very few journals (other than those by artists of various kinds) that are read regularly by 500+ people.

Do you think you are faithful to your journal? Do you present an equally reserved/outgoing/witty/boring/popular/depressed etc self to people IRL?

I am much more reserved in real life and much less likely to talk about, e.g. being gloomy or angry than I am to post - always f-locked or filtered - about it. Generally the way I write on my LJ is simply a more polished version of the way I speak; although the topics might be slightly different or less coherent in real life, the manner of their presentation is broadly similar. I've been very aware, though, when meeting LJ people for the first time, of having set myself something of a persona to live up to. Sometimes this has made me much shyer than I normally would be, sometimes it has enabled me to be much more natural and at ease much more quickly than I normally would be.

If you were to be introduced to the majority of people on your friends list in person, and Livejournal didn't exist; would you want to meet them again?

I suspect this question could do with some refinement as it is difficult to answer. Imagine I was on an ocean liner and it got mined and began to sank and there was a scramble for the lifeboats. If, as my lifeboat - the last lifeboat - pulled away from the the groaning carcass of the ship, I spotted someone I don't know in real life but recognised from LJ - from the usericon accompanying their engaging journal or thoughtful comments - I would push an ordinary civilian mother out of the dinghy and drop-kick her baby to her, to make way for my 'friend'. So, even if I hadn't 'met' them I would value them far more significantly than many other acquaintances.
Tags: friendship, lj, surveys
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