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Notes from the Labyrinth
Unobtainium and Dragons' Bones
LJ policy meme thingy 
12th-Aug-2003 12:04 pm
writing: glass cat
So, apparently, a thing's started going around with people explaining their policies and philosophies on "Friends" lists. heresluck says it all beautifully and better than I could. Reading her didaction has made several things I knew but could not articulate come clear for me, and I am profoundly grateful. Thanks, HL!


What I want to do is reinforce what she says about the difference between the blog and the person. The "Friends" list is not about being friends (stupid, stupid LJ for perpetrating that); it's about wanting to read what people have to say. And wanting to read what people have to say is a very different thing than liking them or wanting to talk to them or wanting to be friends with them. I've noticed myself that my reading list has been turning more and more toward people who write and talk about their writing a lot. Or read and talk about their reading in ways that make me think about my writing. Or have such an amazing prose style that I don't care what they write because I'm reading it for how they write it.

I don't use filters on my Friends page, specifically because I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking I'm reading their posts when I'm not. It feels dishonest to me.

Basically, what it comes down to is this: like all human beings, I have finite quantities of energy and time. If reading someone else's blog helps me focus my time and energy into what matters to me most (i.e., my writing, also the wide, strange world of books in which I have lived at least half of my waking life for as long as I can remember), then they go on the list and stay there. If I find my reading list on LJ is causing me to lose focus, making my thoughts diffuse instead of concentrated, then it's time for me to prune back. And it doesn't mean that the pruned blog isn't well-written or fascinating, just that it's become a method of procrastination rather than a part of the writing process.

I don't know how other people treat LJ. For me, it has very much become a part of how I write, and how I think about my writing. Which means I should say thank you to everybody on my reading list, and everybody who comments on my journal. So thank you!


If you want to link to a post of mine, do. If you want to add me to your reading list, do. If you want to take me off your reading list, do. If you want to comment on an entry of mine, please do. I love the conversations that start and go in odd directions and make me think about things I haven't before. I may not comment back myself--I try not to reply to comments unless I actually have something to say--but that's not a marker of anything except, gosh, nothing to say.

You don't have to ask permission to add me, and you certainly don't need to apologize for taking me off. (I've succumbed to the apology impulse a couple of times, and it never ends well.) I would be grateful, if you choose to link to a post of mine, that you leave a comment to tell me so, but that's for my own curiosity.

Mirrorthaw and I caught about half of Pump Up The Volume the other night, and it made me think about how the movie's dominant trope of radio has become replaced by blogs and blogging communities.

So, as Mark says, talk hard.
Comments 
12th-Aug-2003 10:43 am (UTC)
When I had an opportunity to install LiveJournal for an education/work related project (I work at a university, in their English department), I immediately renamed the whole "Friends" concept to "Reading List," since it seemed silly to have people who were using it for class or group projects using a list of "friends," but very reasonable for them to be using a reading list of journals. I have been referring to it in my head as a "reading list" ever since (and will probably change my journal styles to reflect this), and it makes me much happier.

(And by way of introduction, someone in the six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon circle that is LiveJournal linked to you, and I stayed for the Dorothy Sayers posts.)
12th-Aug-2003 11:17 am (UTC)
I can see where the "Friends" designation made sense in the beginning, when LJ was just this thing this guy put together for, hey, him and his friends. But it's got baggage, which I think causes more problems than it solves.

And I will do another Sayers post soon, I promise. :)
12th-Aug-2003 11:22 am (UTC)
I've noticed myself that my reading list has been turning more and more toward people who write and talk about their writing a lot. Or read and talk about their reading in ways that make me think about my writing. Or have such an amazing prose style that I don't care what they write because I'm reading it for how they write it.

Me, too. Which is why I like your journal so much.
13th-Aug-2003 10:02 pm (UTC) - Filters
I find my filter use runs more in the opposite direction -- instead of filtering based on what I want to read, I filter more on the basis of selecting the appropriate audience for some things. There are some people who get to see more of me than do others.

Though I do tend to use the filters for reading if I'm in a hurry -- I'll read all the entries by immediate contacts, then come back later and catch up on what's in the communities. But that's rare, usually only if I'm checking LJ on a lunch break at work.
3rd-Sep-2003 12:14 pm (UTC)
If reading someone else's blog helps me focus my time and energy into what matters to me most (i.e., my writing, also the wide, strange world of books in which I have lived at least half of my waking life for as long as I can remember), then they go on the list and stay there. If I find my reading list on LJ is causing me to lose focus, making my thoughts diffuse instead of concentrated, then it's time for me to prune back. And it doesn't mean that the pruned blog isn't well-written or fascinating, just that it's become a method of procrastination rather than a part of the writing process.

This is so utterly marvelous I am going to bookmark your post and, with your permission, perhaps quote it the next time I have to prune back my friends, ahem, *reading* list.
3rd-Sep-2003 12:26 pm (UTC)
Please feel free.
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