I took a break from LiveJournal in preparation for moving here. I’ve been getting my life organized. I’ve also been doing some serious research and analysis on many different topics. One of those topics was Livejournal. The conclusion, something I’ve suspected for a long time but never studied before, is that Livejournal is indeed a dying social media platform. It is in fact dead.
Why is it dead? There are a lot of answers to the why but the linchpin answer is that it is owned by a Russian company. It’s not a politically correct answer but it is the answer nonetheless.
In 2005 when Six Apart purchased the main company from Brad Fitzpatrick it began a slight decline but it was when Six Apart sold Livejournal to Russian media company SUP Media in 2007 (announced in 2006) that the mass exodus of users began. In the first few years the company kept it’s product development and design functions, as well as the main part of it’s structure, in San Francisco but after continuing to lose ground it laid off the staff in San Francisco and moved it’s main functions to Russia in 2009.
I could talk about it and debate it for pages and pages, but the simple fact is that unless Livejournal gets sold back to a U.S. company, or perhaps a British or Canadian company, it will not come back to life anywhere outside of Russia. I don’t see that happening anytime in the foreseeable future.
Still, even if it is sold I don’t know if Livejournal can ever recover its foothold. It might have been damaged reputation-wise too much.
The most active Livejournal users, the ones who posted the most and commented the most, and those who attracted the most users from the U.S. and other countries, fled Livejournal when SUP Media purchased it. Users of the type who made Livejournal a social media contender will not and do not like or trust Putin’s Government, do not trust Sup Media, and will not trust any Russian company. The company hoped, as the remaining users hoped, that after a while people would get over their paranoia. That has not happened and will not happen.
The sad fact is that Livejournal is dead and I’ve told you the boiled down reason why. There are of course other reasons why LJ has languished but the crux point, the linchpin, the connecting issue, is what I’ve told you here. It’s sad, it’s not fair, but it’s true nonetheless. It’s the way it is. Unfortunate, but accurate.