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Blog "platform" musings

I love blogs and blogging, and have been trying (not entirely unsuccessfully) to promote them at my college. I have a class of students set up in LJ - somewhat by default because it was the easiest platform to use and get them into quickly (you can see them by going to debbie_g and checking out the friends page). I have a Vox account and a Blogger account, neither of which I use, and have been asking my college to install Moveable Type so that we can have a simple, clean interface for students to use. If that happens, I will move my debbie_g account there.

Are there some unwritten criteria about why one is "cool" and one is not? All my DE (computer in education) cohorts use Moveable Type or Typepad, mostly because they have the luxury of installing something into their own server and maintaining it themselves, or know someone who can or will. I'm aware that they somewhat look down their noses at LJ - not quite sure why. Lots of teachers (k-12) and librarians use Blogger. There's a big children's lit cohort that I follow, all in Blogger. Why do they choose Blogger over LJ? Is LJ perceived as being too "young" or "out there" in some way? And yes, I am aware of MySpace - there seems to be a professional concensus _against_ that, and I forbid my students to have a course blog in MySpace. I tried Blogger and got instantly spammed, which has never happened in here (and I know there are ways around that). It seems that many writers are in LJ, especially women. Some authors, like Neil Gaiman and William Gibson, have minions to create a blog especially for them, but there are many authors in here. Some people maintain more than one blog on more than one platform, but I really don't have time to have more than... maybe two. Really what I'd like is just one that I could filter to that students didn't have access to really personal stuff. And I actually like the layout options in Blogger or TypePad, especially for sidebars, more than those in LJ, though I've never fully explored the LJ options or tried to create my own. I don't like the fact that you can't put script in LJ, so that I can't have a Flickr badge, for example.

So, a question for my flist: if you've managed to wade through all this somewhat incoherent musing, I'd be very interested to hear from some of you about why you chose LJ, and what prompted you, if you have more than one blog, to have another in a different platform.
And yes, I'm scared that if I were to go exclusively somewhere outside of LJ, I'd lose all my LJ friends...
(excuse typos - I'm writing this before having got fully "up" and am not wearing my best eyesight enhancers)

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
a_d_medievalist
Nov. 19th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
My uni won't support blogging, so I use LJ for classes, because it can be locked down and students don't have to pay. Given the choice, I'd host here at school and use moveable type and lock that down.
gillo
Nov. 19th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
Ironically my school blocks virtually all blog sites - and LJ is blocked under the "Pornography Filter". Considering one or two of the communities I know of, it's possible they may not be wrong, but I resent that even my own LJ counts as "Pornography" as far as our nanny filter is concerned!
intertext
Nov. 20th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC)
How behind the times of them! I think my college thinks that a blog would short-circuit the system (literally: our servers are ancient and hanging on by a thread). I ask how in today's world we can teach writing and NOT make students aware of blogs?
gillo
Nov. 21st, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
We're suppose to cling to pen and paper. Or quill and parchment...
intertext
Nov. 20th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)
Interesting! I noticed you had a Blogger account - do you have some special use for that, or was it a way to communicate with those outside of the LJ world? I think the one slight drawback in here is not having the same "network" with the "outside" world, and I've noticed that the RSS feeds from Blogger into here seem buggy - "dumping" the whole journal once a week and such - and the disadvantage that gillo pointed out of not being able to comment except anonymously unless you have an account. I hate that all my students on LJ have ads on their journals, but I can preempt that next time by pointing out how to avoid the "default" setting.
ellarien
Nov. 19th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
I was drawn to LJ after being a lurker on a couple of Usenet groups for years, because the interesting people were moving over here. I lurked for quite a while, reading another user's flist, before I got my own account.

I'm not really interested in dealing with the technical issues of running my own server or administering my own spam-blocking, so LJ works well for me; also, the built-in community aspects are more enticing than a bunch of scattered blogs.

I did snag my username on greatestjournal, just in case anything happened to LJ, but
ellarien
Nov. 19th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
(continued)
I have no urge to set up shop anywhere else at present.
intertext
Nov. 20th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC)
Yes, I definitely like the built-in community. I know that some serious bloggers - I'm thinking especially of the DE community - outside LJ have got that going, but it seems that they are people who know eachother in RL.
gillo
Nov. 19th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
I found LJ through my Buffy obsession interest - there was a link from Whedonesque to some funny stuff on an LJ, and from there I explored onward. After a while I became frustrated at only being able to comment as "Anonymous" - I'm a compulsive communicator, as you may have noticed. So I signed up to LJ and only thereafter discovered the wealth of other interests I could follow that way, so that I ended up with about 30% of my flist with only peripheral or no Whedon connections - though I'm working on that!

I like LJ because so many intelligent women post here. Perhaps for that reason if feels "safer" - and it is definitely more adult than MySpace.
intertext
Nov. 20th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC)
Ironically, you are one of the few people I've met here via a RL connection - one of my ex-students is on your flist, and she friended me and mentioned me and you came over and checked me out (and the rest is history... hee hee, including my conversion to a Buffy fan!). I feel comfortable using this as a platform for my students for the same reason - there are lots of intelligent and interesting people I can send them to.
gillo
Nov. 21st, 2006 12:15 am (UTC)
Yup - I remember it well - she was working towards a test on "Paradise Lost", ISTR...

Very glad I did follow my instinct...

a_d_medievalist
Nov. 20th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
I've been blogging at Blogenspiel for five years -- I got the LJ account because celandineb had one and I wanted to comment. Then it turned out that I knew a couple of other people who had LJ accounts, and I really liked the fact that I could filter and lock posts down. There is some overlap between the communities, but I try to keep this one pretty private. Because the other one has always been public, but pseudonymous, I think I also write a bit differently there, too.
owlfish
Nov. 20th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
I originally chose to use LJ because it was free and open source, both of which I approve of. Now, the customizable filters, the versatility of the f'list as an rss aggregator, and its strength as a social networking tool keep me here.

I haven't tried using any of the other major options for blogging, although I'm considering it at the moment. I've used the blog software C. wrote, but it doesn't allow comments (not without a great deal more work on his part).

I really like using LJ, but the casual impression people using other platforms sometimes have of it - not serious - bothers me sometimes. I have a food blog concept I'd like to implement; indecision over platform is actually my major inhibitor right now.
intertext
Nov. 20th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
the casual impression people using other platforms sometimes have of it - not serious - bothers me sometimes

Actually, that's what holding me back from making a firm commitment to LJ, and I don't know why I don't just have the courage of my convictions. It's free, it works well, I like it, I have a nice little "niche" here, and now I'm figuring out the filters I could even see myself returning to having just this one account, but there is a perception of it being "unprofessional" in some way - don't really know why - and a lot of the "professional" blogs that I know about are on Blogger or other platforms.
owlfish
Nov. 21st, 2006 12:19 am (UTC)
A Caveat Lector post from earlier today made me realize somethin I hadn't before - LJ is more often used for personal than professional journals because it has versatile filters. Blogger doesn't allow filters - it's all or nothing. A fully transparent public format isn't always suitable for personal blogging, but is suitable for posts which are always publically appropriate.

(Personally, I don't see what's wrong with having closed communities for professional development in addition to open ones.)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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