livejorunalSo, I’m writing this blog post from my honeymoon in Mexico. What does that mean? Two things. One, my wife is currently on the beach which is where I want to be and consequently two: this might be shorter than usual. Another, third consequence has just become apparent to me and that’s that the Spanish keyboard that I’m using is very unfamiliar.

Anyhow, this is just a bit of an expansion of a shower thought that I had a while ago about how we share our lives on the internet, and how we’re getting worse and worse at it.

I remember back in college, everyone I knew had a LiveJournal. Like, everyone. If you’re like 12 or something and don’t know what a LiveJournal (or ¨LG¨as the kids would say back then) was, it was basically just a simple blogging platform. You could customize the look and feel of your LJ, set moods, and write blogs. As with everything, there were a million LiveJournal Quizzes, with topical things like ¨which member of the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar are you?¨(that’s a Matrix reference if you’re wondering), memes like Peanut Butter Jelly Time, and most importantly, blog posts.

From my friends sharing their favorite movies (9to5’s own Scott kept his LJ going far longer than most, with his posts going all the way to 2008, check him out), to complaining about their day, to dropping massive social drama bombs, it quickly became the way to share you thoughts and feelings online. I remember how many conversations began with ¨did you read _____’s LJ post?¨. The thing that stuck out to me was how well thought out these posts were, sure they were jam packed with the sort of teenage drama you would expect from a group of teenagers given a space to vent freely and publicly about their perceived woes, but these posts were often paragraphs long. People put time and effort into what they were writing.

At some point in the 2000’s, I remember my roommate introducing me to Facebook, back when, if I recall correctly, you still needed an invitation to join. I remember clearly thinking ¨who needs a Facebook, I’ve got a LiveJournal¨because deep down, I hate change. Facebook let you share pictures, memes, quizzes and ¨statuses¨. It seemed like a better organized MySpace.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, most people rocked a LiveJournal and a MySpace at the same time. LJ didn’t really have the same friend-managing that MySpace did, and you really wanted to be able to show off your top 5 friends, that shit was important.

fbAnyhow, back to the Status thing. I’m not sure what the character limit was, but there definitely was one. Sure, you could write more involved ¨Notes¨ (go back to early Facebook and you might find some old Notes you or your friends used to write when you had more to say than could be contained in a Status), but most of the time you would compress your thoughts into a few sentences about how you feel. There was a big emphasis on feelings at the beginning of Facebook. The early Status field was even set up to read something along the lines of ¨Keith is feeling ______¨and then you’d pick a feeling and write why. Nowadays they’ve shuffled things around, you can still select a feeling, but it doesn’t start off the post.

Again, if you want to have some fun, go back and look at old posts and it’s got weird stuff that doesn’t make sense like ¨because the bus is full of crying kids.¨That’s because it used to read as ¨Keith is feeling angry because the bus is full of crying kids.¨

Long story short, we had trimmed full, involved blog posts into pictures and status updates.

Then, Twitter happened.

When someone explained Twitter to me, they seemed really excited about the 140 character limit. You have to compress whatever you have to say into 140 characters! Like that was a good thing. But then, you’ve really got less than 140 characters because you also have to make sure that you’re adding the right hashtags for maximum visibility. What good tweet doesn’t have 2 or 3 hashtags in it? So what are you really dealing with, 100 characters, tops?

Much like with the advent of Facebook I thought ¨who is going to use this, we’ve already got Facebook Statuses?¨because despite spending most of my time on a computer and working in technology I apparently have no clue how kids want to communicate with each other. SnapChat videos are 10 seconds long, what the hell is wrong with us that we enjoy 10 seconds of content. It’s like the format itself makes us dumber. Literally the only two things that can be conveyed in 10 seconds are stupidity and nudity. Which, I guess is their market.

twiotSo what’s the point here?

Well, about 15 years ago I was reading long blog posts about the things impacting my friends’ lives, commenting and sharing with them, and now I get something like ¨Hurry up summer, bikini time is coming #bikini #sexyme #summer #yolo #swag¨.

I feel like it’s making kids dumber but I guess it’s what the kids want these days.

Anyhow, I’m on vacation. I’m heading to the beach.

Yolo.

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Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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