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The social dimensions of the Friends list

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And now, a slight break from the usual britneyblogging and omphaloskepsis, with some amateur sociology:

Since setting up this Journal, I have been thinking about the many different meanings of the Friends list. On one hand, it acts as a list of journals which you're interested in reading. On the other hand, the Friends list allows you to manage who can read protected posts and see your contact information; as long as people have LJ accounts and log in, it (theoretically) goes some way towards restoring the private register, that grey area between the public and the secret where most offline human interaction takes place, but which has been eroded online.

The social dimensions of the Friends list are varied. The LiveJournal Edit Friends page stresses that users are under no obligation to reciprocally confer Friend status on those who have befriended them; nonetheless, some users feel obliged to do so. At the other end of the spectrum, some users are also wary of adding strangers to their friends list, lest that seem impolite, implying a familiarity that does not exist. (I wonder how much of this is cultural and ties in to whether the users are from "cool" or "warm" cultures.)

After thinking about these things, I have decided to do some research and run a poll, asking you, the faithful reader and LiveJournal user, how you use your Friends list.

Poll #193879 How do you use your Friends list?

Which of the following would you be likely to add to your Friends?

People you know well in real life
0(0.0%)
People you have known on the internet for years, though haven't necessarily met
0(0.0%)
Casual acquaintances/coworkers
0(0.0%)
Relatives
0(0.0%)
Strangers with interesting journals
0(0.0%)
People you don't know but would like to
0(0.0%)
Anyone who adds you to their Friends list, out of politeness
0(0.0%)

Do you use custom security levels?

Yes, my journal contains posts only some Friends can read
9(37.5%)
No, only Public, Friends-Only and/or Private
15(62.5%)

Optional part: In the Comments for this entry, post a short paragraph describing how you relate to your Friends list and to others befriending you, and anything else that you think is relevant to the issue.
Current Music:
Swirl - Ice Passage
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On October 20th, 2003 05:52 am (UTC), wabmart commented:
I noticed this too when I first joined on, mostly because tony_laetrile kept telling me to add this person and that person when I barely had any contact with them in real life. In general, I just have people I know or have known outside of LJ on my list, though I leave open the possibility of making "friends" (though likely not meeting until much further down the line) over LJ.
There would have to be more contact than just liking their posts, though; I'd prefer to have a few back-and-forths in comments. In fact, there's at least one LJer whose stuff I really like, but who I don't want to add to my list until I know more about what he thinks of my thoughts.
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On October 20th, 2003 06:16 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Minimum necessary contact for "Friend" status
Would you say it differs depending on the type of journal in question? I probably wouldn't be-Friend a total stranger whose journal consisted mostly of posts about what they and their friends (also strangers to me) did the other day. whereas jwz is on my Friend list because his journal is basically a blog for public consumption (in other words, akin to a syndicated journal).

Except that, by virtue of being interesting, jwz has the power to read hundreds of strangers' friends-only posts, if he so desired. I trust that he doesn't use it for evil.
On October 20th, 2003 06:23 am (UTC), wabmart replied:
Re: Minimum necessary contact for "Friend" status
Welcome to the wonderful world of bookmarks. If there's a blog I want to read regularly due to regular interesting content, I bookmark it.

That said, the type of journal has something to do with whether or not I'll find them interesting enough to want to make contact. I flip through tony_laetrile's friends list because a number of people there post interesting non-personal things rather regularly. Some of them I find interesting enough to seek out on his page, maybe even bookmark. Some of them I comment on when I have something to say. If I start getting responses to my comments more than once or twice, and especially if they start commenting on my posts, I'd consider "friending" them.
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On October 20th, 2003 06:32 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Give me convenience or give me death
I don't know Tony, but he friended me and sometimes posts interesting things, so I friended him. It's more the exception than the rule; I'm typically wary of bestowing Friend privilege on strangers.

In defense of the Friends-page-as-RSS-aggregator usage: it's more convenient than viewing all pages separately. You could run your own RSS newsreader, only the RSS feeds of free LJ accounts come out truncated. OTOH, it implies trusting those friended to be reasonably civilised human beings and not shit on the proverbial carpet once you let them in. Either that or using custom security levels to compartmentalise the risk.
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On October 20th, 2003 08:47 am (UTC), nosrialleon commented:
At this point, my view of others' ljs is somewhat akin to magazines.
Some magazines I can't miss a single issue of - they go on my friends page.
But then I'll go to substitute's friends list and browse the latest entries by tony_laetril or jwz or yourself, as through I were browsing at a magazine rack. Then I might go to JWZ's magazine rack and catch up with baconmonkey or motel666, and so on.

If someone adds me, I may or may not add them back depending on whether I want to read them every day. But even if I don't, I still go back and read all their posts since the last time I looked every once in a while.

The whole drama element of who is on whose friends list and who has been dropped and what is meant by the whole thing TOTALLY ESCAPES me. I am alternately amused and bewildered by it. Then again, I don't understand the point of a friends-only journal...
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On October 20th, 2003 09:19 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Friends-only journals
On the net, things don't remain private. If you post something there, anyone can see it. Sure, only your friends may look at your personal website and read about your lovelife/medical problems/paranoias, but unsympathetic agents can also read this page. They may be spammers collecting email addresses, or bored teenagers looking for some depersonalised "loser" far away to laugh at (see also: Ghyslain Raza, aka the "Star Wars Kid"), or future employers/lovers using google/archive.org to check up on you at some time in the future. (I bet you there are companies selling software right now that locks into Google, searches for a person's name, finds any blogs/journals/usenet posts by them, and applies psychometric algorithms to the text found to determine the subject's "employability". The algorithms may be useless, but they could still cost you a job.)

The only way things may be kept private online is through secrecy. This usually involves putting passwords on pages and managing them, which is a hassle. Though if you have a private LJ, it's taken care of. The function that authenticates your friends is the same function that lets them have their own journals, and allows elaborate social networks to be constructed and traversed, and, once you log in, is transparent.

I also have a weblog, at http://dev.null.org/. There are no passwords or "friends only" entries there; anything posted there may be viewed by anyone. I had the blog for years before setting up a LJ; the only reason I've bothered with LJ is because of its social-software features, which include authentication.

See also: Danny O'Brien's piece about the disappearance of the private register online.
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On October 20th, 2003 09:22 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Another argument for private journals
Other than the paranoia angle about strangers picking through your dirty laundry, there is also the basic dignity thing. It could be argued that it would be somewhat undignified to post to the whole world about every minor detail of one's little life (for one, it would make one look pathologically insecure or hungry for attention), or that not boring people with your grocery shopping expeditions can be seen as a sign of respect for them and the boundaries of public/private. After all, if a stranger sits next to you on a bus and starts rambling about their kid's birthday party or showing you pictures of their cats, that can be seen as a sort of intrusion, a violation of the accepted boundaries between public and private. Some would say that posting these sorts of trivial intimacies to a public website is a similar violation of boundaries.
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On October 20th, 2003 02:05 pm (UTC), mrsmalkav replied:
Re: Another argument for private journals
werd.

however, the trick with livejournal is that it's a curious beast in regard to privacy and intrusiveness.

if i were on a mailing list or the like and i were to send a mail to the list airing my dirty laundry, it would be an intrusion (just like if i were to stand up in a class and say "HEY I GOT LAID LAST NIGHT AND IT WAS GREAT"). whereas on lj, if i am posting "to my journal", it's with the implicit consent that other people can read these posts (see also the commenting system). it is then on the OTHER PERSON to make the move to read my posts. therefore, i am not "burdening them" or "intruding into their lives" with my trivialities. i can say the same thing and it's not explicitly intrusive - it's their choice for reading my journal.

livejournal provides a method by which one can allow consentful voyeurism and still not be so overtly exhibitionistic as to be shameful. it also lets the guilties be gone when you're hearing/reading other people's secrets because they're letting you. (but it's still oh so dirty and therefore still makes you feel naughty in that good way)
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On October 20th, 2003 08:17 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Re: Another argument for private journals
It all depends on how comfortable you feel with strangers knowing a lot about your life. I suppose pseudonymity could come into it too; if your journal gave no clue to your real-life identity, you could talk about every sordid detail of your sex life/social dramas (possibly changing names/locations to protect the guilty). However, if your journal is linked to your identity (as this one is), you have to be a bit more circumspect about who sees what.
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On October 20th, 2003 09:11 pm (UTC), mrsmalkav replied:
Re: Another argument for private journals
as far as i'm concerned, anything online can be traced back to its author with enough will.

i've had at least one heartattack that my lj privacy had been compromised. one guy i bitched about a lot before is on the same ISP and is within a few miles of me. i had lj accepting any ip address space and leaving me logged in and i'm still worried that he may be somehow able to read posts.

anything written on paper or online is fair game to be public knowledge. no matter the protection or privacy levels.
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On October 20th, 2003 09:26 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Re: Another argument for private journals
i've had at least one heartattack that my lj privacy had been compromised. one guy i bitched about a lot before is on the same ISP and is within a few miles of me. i had lj accepting any ip address space and leaving me logged in and i'm still worried that he may be somehow able to read posts.

Wouldn't he need your web browser cookie for that? AFAIK, leaving yourself logged in just keeps a cookie in your browser, and "any IP address" just means that once the cookie is validated, it doesn't check whether it came from the same ISP. At least, assuming that LJ's security model isn't braindamaged.
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On October 21st, 2003 06:10 am (UTC), mrsmalkav replied:
Re: Another argument for private journals
that's what i thought.

here's what happened: i was having beers with a "friend" of his who told me that ... we'll call him john... that john had forwarded his friend passages from my journal. in these passages, i reportedly made some comment about a dinner that he bought for me (as a friend) was "the best free meal i've ever had" and where i again reportedly also ranted about john's claim that marilyn monroe was a cow.

now, the latter i know was *definitely* a private email conversation between john and myself. the former...? i scoured my journal for any mention of that claim and i found one very minor aside that one could construe to mean "best free meal ever had".

supposedly the friend himself saw these protected posts on my lj directly. though i'm 90% certain that those discussions were in email form. the friend was unable to/unwilling to recover the emails that john forwarded him. (again, anything written anywhere is fair game)

that makes me extremely concerned. i was confident that it was cookieing and on my local browser exactly how you describe it. i even searched for a few hours on lj hacks and could find none. i dunno. john is a brilliant programmer and i wouldn't be suprised if nothing could hold him back from hacking my lj.

paranoid.

i guess i should just get over it and trust technology or something.

hah!
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On October 21st, 2003 06:50 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Re: Another argument for private journals
Maybe your ISP's web proxy cache was misconfigured or something. I imagine that LJ, if written properly, would send dynamic pages with a no-cache directive.

Still, that is a bit of a worry. It'd be more reassuring if LJ provided a HTTPS interface (which, by definition, cannot be cached).
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On October 20th, 2003 10:35 am (UTC), kmusser commented:
I started my LJ as a means to keep in touch with real life friends and folks I've known on-line long enough to consider friends. My friends list has expanded to include friends of friends, but rarely includes strangers. I don't think my LJ would be of any interest to folks that don't know me personally. I have found that I usually do add people that add me - though it's more out of curiousity than politeness.
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On October 20th, 2003 02:06 pm (UTC), mrsmalkav replied:
curiosity of what?
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On October 20th, 2003 01:55 pm (UTC), mrsmalkav commented:
really really really long diatribe about lj
i am a filtering junky: i have five layers of protection in terms of filtering.

1 - general "friends"
2 - friends less my immediate physical area (prevention of local gossip)
3 - friends/people i probably have actually met in real life and trust with some grain of salt
4 - good friends that i trust and know well (i will use real names at this level vs initials)
5 - good friends that i feel comfortable telling the seediest of seedy details regarding my life (this is an optional "tell me and i'll take you off this group" heaviliy lj-cutted group)

there are four people on my livejournal friends list who i have not met ftf/irl (*snirk*), and you are one of them. however, since i have "known" you online for 5 years or so and vampirically took in your life and news tidbits, i feel as though i do "know" you enough to allow you to read a certain level of my friends-only posts (you qualify for the top 3 categories).

one person with whom i had a many month long email conversation post some slashdotting has got only two of the privacy levels.

the other two people are people who friended me for a long time whose journals were interesting enough that i would read their journals on a regular basis. they however only have 1 of the 5. they are local people and if i ever meet them in person, they may be granted additional privledges.


the same concept applies with real interpersonal interaction. i can gossip about certain things with only certain people. i can tell secrets to only certain people. i'm not necessarily a secretive person, but to protect the guilty/innocent, i like to use discretion. i don't need joe on-the-street to know what's fucked up about my family life or my current dating drama.

my personal non-lj site is extremely open. however, i never use names. if someone were to happen upon the site, they'd have no idea who i was talking about. i've written things about people and when they read it, they had no idea it was about them. my personal site was an open window to my emotions. not to the details.

originally, my lj was supposed to have no content. it was supposed to be a stupid trivial log of my stupid trivial life events. it eventually evolved to be a diary/log of events that happened in my life and how they affected me. that means that that obfuscation is required, and finitely so.


re: reactions to being friended. there is/used to be some minor reaction in me where something like this may happen: "ooh! someone friended me! i AM worthy!" or "what?? why'd they unfriend me??" or even "why won't they friend me back?? *postulate*gripe*" but in the big picture, it doesn't matter.

sure, i'm flattered that a stranger feels that s/he can share some of their more secret posts with me, but whatever. i don't know the person and i don't feel i have to reciprocate if i don't feel it's right.
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On October 20th, 2003 01:55 pm (UTC), mrsmalkav commented:
so long that it exceeded the max char length
however, what does matter is that your intentions with livejournal match up with your audience. i had someone friend me and post comments frequently in my journal. because i was writing for myself and writing with the assumption that my audience knows me personally, it was extremely awkward to have to deal with his posts. i DID NOT like having to explain myself to him. it was also extremely weird because he would consistently say things in an effort to show praise (ie "I am suitably impressed")
particularly since over the last year, getting myself in better shape has been a major priority. all my friends know that i'm confident in my body and know that when i talk about my weight, it's not in a self-degrading manner. when i would post about what was important in my life at that moment (ie my body changes) and he would comment (or someone else would) in a fashion that made it extremely obvious that s/he had no idea who i was as a person - it made me feel like i had to be put on the defensive and explain myself. i should not have to explain myself in my own damn journal, thank you.

these people use livejournal to meet people. the first person used lj in a manner that was contradictory to mine: he had more strangers in his friends list than people he knew in real life. he used lj as a way to meet people. and likewise for all the people on his friends list (or so he claimed in follow-up emails after i told him that he was making me uncomfortable). imho, it was this fucked up codependent circle of psycho people who were escaping their real lives and using the interweb as a way to peer into the secret lives of other people. ew. no thanks. i do not need a chatty stranger trying to give me props or support me when they think i'm down. but it worked for them. peering into the lives of interesting strangers is what they want to do. okay fine. not for me.

granted, sometimes i do surf through friends of friends and communities and play the voyeur, but it's not my main reason for using livejournal.


so yeah, long rant not quite so short, my livejournal is primarily for me and secondarily for me to communicate with my friends who are scattered all over the world. it is not to grow closer to strangers by exchanging secrets. screw friending people back just because they friended you. that is the lame.
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On October 20th, 2003 02:16 pm (UTC), mrsmalkav commented:
doh
ohhh, "In the Comments for this entry, post a short paragraph"...

hah!
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On October 21st, 2003 02:49 pm (UTC), fallen_scholar commented:
On friending, de-friedning, drama:

One big, super-important fact to remember is that LJ is young. The crowd here tends to be in their teens, which puts a certain skew on who is around and how they use tools avalible to themselves. In fact, if there's no "real" contact between two people, and you don't want to have a flame war, the de-friending is about the only polite way to snub someone. In fact, there are people I know in reality who have friended me, whom I have not friended back, partially because I'm not interested, partially because I'm subtily snubing.

On cross-friending when friended:
I've done it. On the other hand, I've also not done it. Friending me will get me to look at your journal or see if you've posted something explaining why you friended me. If it's an interesting reason, or you have an interesting journal, I will friend you back. Even if both are untrue (and rarely are both true, it's generally one or the other), I will still check up on your journal from time to time.

On Being Friended: I consider it a great compliment, even if the reasons are bad.

On Friends Only: I dislike it; it smacks of tyranny. If you're looking for a method of putting out public thoughts, do that. If you're looking to communicate between a close network of friends, there are better ways. Then again, I won't begrudge a man for pulling up nails with a cresent wrench - it's his tool and his time - but I think there are better ways. Now, in the past this has been taken wrongly. There is nothing wrong with a friends-only post as need be, but I dislike a friends only journal.

On Privacy: It's the Internet. It's non-invasive. No one has to read what you write. It's quirky. There are people who post meaningless dribble and have a huge following. Frankly, when we get to the point of a web scouring bot and personality algorythim, I don't think having a friends-only journal will protect you. Again, there are better ways to achieve the goals.

On My Friends Page: I believe that I have friended people for all the standard reasons. I have friended people because they were my friends and I have friended people to follow what they post. I have friended people I knew briefly in real life so that I could know them better. I friended people so that they would friend me, though I have never friended someone based on their interest list, though I have cross-friended someone because they friended me because of my interest list (whew!). I, however, am a constant LJ wanderer and interest searcher (how I ended up here) so I am specifically looking for journals that will expand my experience of things.

It's actually why I was somewhat put aside by your comment regarding "no one wants to hear about the narcissistic trivalities of someone's life," because I realized that one of the people I've friended does just that, but she has such a strikingly different point of view than me and writes so captivatingly that I friended her.

Another interesting facet is someone I have friended, who uses only psudonyms and prevents anyone they know for real knowing about their journal, though have a quite active community of friends on LJ.
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On October 22nd, 2003 12:30 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
"You're not my best friend anymore, so there!"

One big, super-important fact to remember is that LJ is young. The crowd here tends to be in their teens, which puts a certain skew on who is around and how they use tools avalible to themselves. In fact, if there's no "real" contact between two people, and you don't want to have a flame war, the de-friending is about the only polite way to snub someone. In fact, there are people I know in reality who have friended me, whom I have not friended back, partially because I'm not interested, partially because I'm subtily snubing.


That makes sense.

It'd be interesting to survey attitudes to friends lists and collect the ages of the participants. It may also be useful to ask them whether they are goths or not, and see whether the goth focus on social psychodrama affects the social significance of friends lists.
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On October 22nd, 2003 08:29 am (UTC), fallen_scholar replied:
"You take that back! I know who you slept with!"
See the statistics.

Agruibly, the most typical(1) Livejournal user is an eighteen-year old female from California, USA. This should explain much of the attraction of LJ, as well as the general tone of much of the commentary.

Your raising of the goth quotent brings up some other interesting points. What's always surprised me is the degree of obscurity some of the communities reach to. Goths, furries, incest slash ficition writers, cheesefuckers and the heaveans only know what else all have their own special groups, partially because here they thought they found other people like them and they thought they were safe.

Of course, where go their prey, so go the bullies. That's some of the facinating things about something like ljdrama.org; they're not as I imagine myself, a sort of epicure of pettiness, but the most imaginative bullies, purely self-sure and hostile to even their fan base.

So what I think is that the goth drama is not so self-induced, like it is in reality, but a combination between others quick to offend them and themselves feeling vulnerible over their potential offense, leaping out at anything that smacks of gothic criticism.

As with goths, so with any other obscure group.
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1- As opposed to average - we'd have to factor in population distributions for this part.
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On October 22nd, 2003 12:39 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:

On Friends Only: I dislike it; it smacks of tyranny. If you're looking for a method of putting out public thoughts, do that. If you're looking to communicate between a close network of friends, there are better ways. Then again, I won't begrudge a man for pulling up nails with a cresent wrench - it's his tool and his time - but I think there are better ways. Now, in the past this has been taken wrongly. There is nothing wrong with a friends-only post as need be, but I dislike a friends only journal.


Why do you dislike a friends-only journal? What about a journal that's 60% friends-only (personal stuff one doesn't want relatives/employers/vindictive ex-lovers/&c. to know) and 40% public (web links, less personal stuff)?


On Privacy: It's the Internet. It's non-invasive. No one has to read what you write. It's quirky. There are people who post meaningless dribble and have a huge following.


Yes, but chances are, people don't read their drivel for its own sake; they do so because they're young, female, attractive, have webcams and occasionally use their computers naked. :-)


Frankly, when we get to the point of a web scouring bot and personality algorythim, I don't think having a friends-only journal will protect you.


Can you elaborate on that? How will "web scouring bots" (which exist now) automatically bypass passwords and read your most private entries?


Again, there are better ways to achieve the goals.


What, you mean telling people face to face, or emailing them?

Are you saying that there are no situations where one would want a less ephemeral means of communication that is not open to the general public?
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On October 22nd, 2003 09:45 am (UTC), fallen_scholar replied:
What's
The web scouring bots do not exist. Do not believe in them. There are none, and certainly none of them have any special crytological powers, nor are they at all able to whistle a tune or carry a conversation.

Do not belive in the bots. Disregard what the media has told you. They do not exist.

No, I don't know anything. But what I do know is that computer security is largely mythical, or rather like car security. There is no way to prevent someone from stealing your car if they want to do so. There are ways, however, of dissuadeing them to the point that they move on to someone else's.

Color me jaded, but if someone wants to do it, it will be done. The only way to prevent it will be to not put the information out. The only completely safe firewall is to unplug the computer.

Incoherent blithering? Possibly. But I stand by the saying that if you really don't want people to see it, it has no role on a computer, much less the internet.

I riffed on the friends-only thing <a/ HREF="http://www.livejournal.com/users/fallen_scholar/47145.html>here</a> in my LJ. It comes back to what I said about wrenches and nails: I think that there are better ways to deal with the problem. And, no, I do not dispute the ablitiy of the friends only filter to be used. I use it myself. I even use the private filter (for things that I want to share but cannot, but may some day and still want "in the record books," so to speak). What I don't like is the friends only journal. Here I am, I've randomly skipped over to where you are, possibly because of an interst you've listed and I want to know what someone in Tuscalosa who likes John Grisham and latkes is like, and POOM, there's a sign saying (generally written in netspeak) "Hi! This is friends only because there's too many creeps! Leave a post if you want to be added!"...and here I'm thinking: Why list interests - any relevant information - if you're worried about discovery? Why allow people in if they ask to be let in? There's LJ abuse if there's trouble. But, in the end, I really don't care. I don't think it's what its for, but I don't care. See, much of it comes to where I see the Purpose of LiveJournal, which I've never been able to express properly, which is somewhere between a solliquoy and a blog. Your blog, your blog is good, neither the best nor the worst, but, in the end, it's a blog. It's about information and opinion. I am much more intersted in the ways that people think to themselves (as cast though a computerized filter, of course) and thus more interested in your slightly more drivel-oriented LJ, and thus more interested in LJ than in blogs in general. To put it another way: Good facts are a dime a dozen, and people who will "explain" those facts to you like stars in the sky. Well-writen interpersonals? That's another story entirely.
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On October 22nd, 2003 08:22 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Computer security 101
The likelihood of a security hole that allows strangers to read friends-only posts is fairly small; and if there was one, LJ, being an open-source setup, could patch it more or less instantly.

The "if someone wants to get it, they will, so don't bother trying to hide it" thing is superstition in the defense of apathy. Security is a difficult issue, true, but not impossible. Unless you're up against an attacker with infinite funds and nothing more important to devote their attention to.

The weak point in the LJ security model is the transmission of information between your browser and the server; but hacking a node along the path to read your friends' private posts is too cumbersome to be a realistic attack, at least for those merely curious about another's personal life. Certainly not enough to make it pointless to conceal said information in the first place.
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On October 22nd, 2003 01:48 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Another interesting facet is someone I have friended, who uses only psudonyms and prevents anyone they know for real knowing about their journal, though have a quite active community of friends on LJ.


Or, as Oscar Wilde said, "give a man a mask and he'll tell you the truth".

Words to live by.
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On October 22nd, 2003 09:07 am (UTC), fallen_scholar replied:
Or, as Oscar Wilde said, "give a man a mask and he'll tell you the truth".

Words to live by.

Then again, Kurt Vonnegut said, "it was once claimed that a thousand monkeys typing for a thousand years would reproduce all the works of Shakespeare. The internet has proven this wrong."

So there's a constructed self. Is it any more real than the actual self? I could see how, as per the Wilde quote, that reading some blog by some random person might me more truthful than talking to them in person. On the other hand, it is the internet. Deceipt is king. You are forced to not know who the hands that produce this really are, if they are hands at all and not the typings of some sentient computer being or blobby martian who's here to disrupt your life as you stand on the cusp of developing the oswego ray.

The other thing, just to make this conversation completely over the top, is that this is about the time where, normally, I'd friend someone. They've proven themselves as an interesting commentary, brought up a facinating quandry, and proved themselves a good disscussant. And they used "omphaloskepsis," a word that doesn't get the currency it deserves, appropriately. But this was in the context of a conversation of the issues of the proper ways of friending, and you have clearly stated that this journal is used for the maintenance of relation with real people you know (as opposed to your public consumption blog).

Thus I will not. It would be too PoMo.
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On October 22nd, 2003 08:16 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Feel free to friend thenulldevice; it's the RSS feed from my blog.
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On October 24th, 2003 02:10 am (UTC), addedentry commented:
Much of the confusion derives from the loaded word 'Friend'. No one considers 'RSS aggregation' a matter of etiquette.

LJ users who share my interests have tracked down my journal and Friended me, which is flattering; I occasionally seek interesting writers, but depressingly often people's writing falls short of the interest of their interests lists. I've met two LiveJournalists so far after reading their journals, but both were friends of real-life friends.

A development that has surprised me is the substitution of LJ for email. People use it for broadcasting and finetuning social arrangements, and even for talking to individual Friends, in a way which seems to me far more appropriate over email.
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On October 24th, 2003 02:54 am (UTC), kineticfactory commented:
Friends: Interesting-RSS-feeds vs. people-I-like/trust
LiveJournal: weblog vs. discussion forum
intended audience: your circle of friends vs. the interested public

I sense a new poll or two coming on.
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