Frankly, it seems to me that the site was becoming noticeably less busy and feedback had dwindled significantly. I've been fiddling with Facebook more, but after giving it a bit of a chance, I have come to the conclusion that it's not exactly a communications solution for me, either.
For one, I'm constrained by the amount of text available at Facebook, which prevents me from doing the kind of thoughtful, multi-linked posts I like to do in order to tell a story or frame an argument... but besides that, ultimately, the community I am looking for isn't there, even if many of the users are. I'm interested in keeping in touch with others and creating local events within my particular circle of friends, for instance... but Facebook isn't particularly good for anything small, closed, and private.
That said, LiveJournal isn't exactly perfect at that either.
I could be sentimental about things and say you're all a great bunch of people and there's no way of replicating that elsewhere... and I suppose it's true... but the facts are that there are over 700 of you out there, and yet I feel a bit frustrated primarily because I'm not hearing enough from about forty or fifty of you, many of whom are local to me. And, indeed, I can understand why... in part because I have the habit of talking to all of you at once, rather than specifically targeting any particular group of people lately. I prefer it that way, in many ways, but the lack of focus also has its own problems. But a big part of it is that LJ is kind of fading away, at least in the U.S. and amongst friends. And yet, in the unique, niche communities I am a part of, LJ has been -- and still is -- damn important socially, to the point that there's no real substitute... even though people are moving on or simply posting less often.
It reminds me of a few things in my past...
Around twenty years ago now, all the odd/geeky/interesting teens in my local area were members of TREX... a local telnet chat site. .. and local chat was good, in a way that web chat and just about everything else that followed on the WWW was not good... it was good for actually getting people together doing things in real life.
Indeed, there isn't a single group chat site out there on the modern internet that can really compare to this 20plus-year-old site, because all the freaks *aren't* together anymore... they're all scattered out there/here/everywhere else nowadays. There's too much "there" there to come together as a large group, and to build the kind of critical mass required for an honest-to-goodness "scene", of sorts.
Before trex, when I was in high school in a small town, I would bike about two miles or so at night to get to the nearest "scene"... a so-so pizza parlor where there was a Punch-Out videogame, a bunch of young people playing quarters for beer, and a bunch of discontent young teens hanging out in front smoking cigarettes and the occasional clove, listening to music, talking, and occasionally gathering up to go to some dance or nebulous party that hopefully was still happening and not busted before you actually got there.
For all its failings, I miss that. I miss the scene. I miss the fact that LJ used to be a pretty good place for organizing actual things IRL amongst my local friends and associates. I miss the outside gatherings I'd organize with local LJ friends, with a ton of people in a local pizza parlor, or friends huddled around the chiminea at my house, or soaking in the hottub. And I know I could try organizing regular events again... but it would be increasingly difficult and frustrating, because the critical mass has moved on, or simply moved elsewhere.
I think the scene -- which is *so* integrally tied at the hip to the Internet -- is moving on / has moved on, technologically speaking... and I don't think many people have given much thought as to the fact that although there are other sites and other communities, there doesn't appear to be much of anything comparable to replace it with.