Today I have spent the large part of the day going back through my LiveJournal history to pull out articles with the potential to edit them all into a book of essays. But as I was going back through time I started to notice how adding new social media systems completely transformed my online habits.
In 2002 I joined LiveJournal as a means of keeping in touch with friends. I did some casual blogging and wrote a few articles here and there, but for the most part it was filled with ridiculous bullshit, memes, and off the cuff comments about pretty much everything. In the peak of my LiveJournaling I might have hit something like 6-8 posts per day. Most of them short, and ephemeral. I think my favorite series was “chair dance of the day” where I would post the song that was rocking my socks off in my cubicle while I droned on in the daily grind as a government documents cataloger.
In March of 2008 I joined Facebook. My LiveJournal stats started plummeting. But that was because all of the daily minutiae and casual conversations with friends migrated over there. From 2008-2012 my posts on LiveJournal not only got less frequent, but they became substantially longer in each instance. I basically began writing lengthier, more thoughtful work on LJ once I removed the more frequent friendly conversations.
There was an experimental phase that I went through in 2008/2009 when I was crossposting twitter feeds into LiveJournal. Going back through my archive today I can’t imagine why I would have done that. It’s like spamming someone with a block of text messages. I imagine that I quit doing that because I felt the same way when I looked at it then. It doesn’t fit right.
I remember once lamenting how little I used my LJ to my Facebook friends. But the fact of the matter is that I was totally using LJ. Just using it better.
Last February I made the move of separating out the content about library science and technology into a specific blog for itself. The primary reason for this was so that I could get better tracking and stats on my posts and given that a major number of library people were using WordPress it totally made sense to do that.
When Google+ opened up I jumped right onto that as well. But again, I’ve discovered that the content that I post there is sometimes wildly different than the content that I post on Facebook or Twitter. There I tend to look at more professional folks and some cool content curators. But for the most part the things that I’m sharing are more directly focused on my public career.
I think this is something that most social media users are not necessarily looking at comprehensively, but more subconsciously. Different social media systems encourage different kinds of content sharing, and as such the readership of each of your social media groups is also going to vary wildly. I have more crossover in terms of Twitter followers and Google+ users, than I do with the crossover between Facebook and LiveJournal.
For me separating out this content has been a really great step. It allows me to share the right stuff with the right people, and to actually remain connected to everyone that I care about personally and professionally. But until today it hadn’t really sunk in how different my presence is online in each of these different services, and especially how my use has changed over the last 10 years.