answer will vary greatly from person to person, a testimony to the
versatility of LJ, its interface, and its uses.
Why do people use LJ? The answer is, for a myriad of reasons. Some
people are looking to just include links to their favorite news stories,
or articles of interest to them and like-minded people. For these
people, an intricate web of friends filters and custom groups probably
isn't particularly important. These people will likely post most of
their entries publicly, since very little of the content is actually
their own. Censorship, sensitivity to others, and the like are of little
or no importance here.
Next, you have the opinion-piece crowd. People writing to LJ for this
purpose generally want their opinions known. To them, a little
shock-value is a good thing, so the basic message is, "These are my
opinions, and if the rest of the world doesn't like them, the rest of
the world can go **** itself." In most cases, these people will fill in
the stars, just to make the point.
Another type of opinionative group is the people who just feel their
opinions are so radical and off the beaten path that, in order to avoid
controversy, they only post to their friends lists. The irony here is
that, as often as not, these people's opinions are not particularly
radical, though it would burst their bubble if someone were to point
Still others use their LJ's to just rattle off what they did the
previous day. They may or may not restrict posting to friends groups. If
they do it is just in case they say something that might offend someone.
There are many other uses for LJ. To list them would be impossible. LJ's
versatility translates into flexibility for the user.
The last category is the category into which I fit. I'll call it the
flexible plan. My LJ is for me whatever I want it to be at any given
time, it can best be described as an outlet. I have, in the year and a
half I've been on LJ, used my LJ for all of the purposes I listed above
and them some.
While I reserve the right to say whatever I want, whenever I want to, in
my LJ, I also do try to respect those who might be reading. It is for
this reason that I try very hard to make very judicious use of friends
filters and custom groups. I try very hard to determine whether
something I'm writing should be public. I make as many entries as I can
public. If, for some reason, I feel an entry should not be public, I
make an effort to use the right filters. By my nature, none of the
content is profane or of a sexual nature, but there are things that some
people would want to read, but not others. If I know that two of my
friends can't stand each other and I'm writing endearingly about one,
chances are the other will not be reading it.
My tendency to use filters turned into a source of great joy for me last
year. The concept of filters appealed to me, but I had as yet not
actually explored the concept. So on June 8, I wrote an entry asking
if anyone knew how to create the custom friends groups from a blind
person's perspective. My only response came from the lovely kittytech, and she suggested I add her to MSN Messenger. This I
did, which led to chatting, which led to Skype, which led to a very
powerful romance that continues to this day.
Whose LJ is it, anyway? It's whosever you want it to be. In my case, it
is mine. I will write what I want in it, when I want to, and in
whichever manner I wish, but if I don't want you to see something or
think you shouldn't, you won't.