Got a weird email this morning. No, not one of those spam type ones, nor anything from the seemingly eight million email lists I have no recollection of subscribing to. Today’s the first day of getting the kids back to school after their three weeks of trying to get as close to sloth-like in their movements, which meant everything was a bit manic, and I was feeling a little groggy. So as I stood there, swaying slightly, holding a kettle in one hand and my phone in the other, I was somewhat bemused to see that I had an email from Livejournal.
Did I wake up back in 2004?
So, apparently, I set up my Livejournal eighteen years ago today. It’s quite something, to be smashed around the face with a brick of nostalgia at 8 in the morning on a Wednesday.
Although I obviously had ‘the internet’ before then, I didn’t really know what to do with it, as was the case for a lot of people, early on. It’s easy to forget now, but unless you were involved in forums, the internet was basically just going to a website, saying ‘cool’ and logging off again, or sending emails. I guess not a lot has changed, except perhaps that we don’t see as much cool shit these days, and most of the rest is nascent fascism, doomscrolling, picking on the transgender community for no fucking reason, or selling copies of a jpg of a monkey for thousands of pounds because it lives in a folder somewhere.
Livejournal was the first time I actively had an online presence. I’d recently joined a weird little startup for creatives in York, a city I’d just moved to and where I didn’t really know anyone. My new work friend, Jonic, found out I was a writer, or that I wanted to be, and introduced me to the concept of blogging. I believe he even helped me set up my Livejournal.
I was hooked. For the next four years I blogged most days, made friends across the world. I absolutely bloody loved it. At some point I decided to move my blog to my own site, and I kind of forgot all about Livejournal. Or I thought I had. This morning’s email had me going back to check on my profile, where I found I briefly went back in 2014, but the place was dead by then.
Blogging on Livejournal was very different from what we think of now, which is more akin to CONTENT MARKETING MUST GRIFT ALL THE TIME than anything approaching human connection. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to post four or five times a day, anything from a thousand word screed to something more akin to what we’d now think of a being a tweet. But there was a sense that we were all writers, somehow. Or at least, that was how it felt to me. Maybe that had more to do with who I was following, but it was a pretty special place. Now, where did I leave my rose-tinted glasses. Oh, they’re on my face!
Of course, most of the role that LJ filled back in those days was soon usurped by Twitter, which back in the day was actually a fun place to be. Remember that? My LJ friends were some of my first Twitter friends, some of which friendships still last to this day, some of which haven’t, eroded away by the sands of internet time. I miss them.
I’ve had a rocky relationship with blogging since LJ. First, a blog post I made got me fired from a job I was at, for reasons I won’t go over now, but over the last few years I’ve found myself developing a weird shyness about being online. Part of that has to do with being an author, and everything that has to go with ‘selling’ oneself. I just ended up saying not very much at all. But this year I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to go back to my LJ roots. I’m still going to try and sell from books, from time to time, but I miss blogging. So that’s something for you to look forward to, eh?