So the other day, as I found yet another interesting blog on LJ, I wondered to myself why I persist in hanging out in the lonely land of Xanga to do all my real writing. As far as I can tell, Xanga and LiveJournal are the two giants of the free-blogging industry, yet they are markedly different, and the latter's advantages would appear to be many.
By comparison, LJ people seem to be college-age to late 20's crowd. Rather than posting stupid pictures of themselves in the profile section, they use the space to display an endless parade of artistic, clever, or just plain funny icons to express themselves. They often have very clever layouts, which correspond to their major interest. See, people here have a concept of the difference between a personal blog and a fan blog, and they aren't afraid to create multiple sites in order to categorize the two types of entries. This makes it much easier for me to find sites that regularly discuss topics I want to read about. They have cohesive, coherent entries that are actually worth reading. Also, people see nothing wrong with posting multiple times per day.
Despite the fact that tags have been implemented for a number of months now, almost NOBODY on Xanga ever uses them. Which boggles my mind. Okay, maybe I don't use tags on THIS site, but...my entries here usually aren't relevant enough to be specific to a category. "
Some structural differences: when you run searches through Google, it gives you the *specific* LJ entry page, instead of just finding your term and directing you to the front page with the most recent entries, whether or not it contains the one you're looking for. (that in itself is annoying - there is no option; you have exactly five posts displayed on each page. No more, no less.)
In the comments section, the ability to post anonymously (or to turn that feature off) is a HUGE bonus. LJ also has a much better ethic - if someone leaves you a comment and you want to respond to it, you REPLY TO THE COMMENT ITSELF. Xanga people have this strange fascination with going to the *other* person's site to respond, as if the first person couldn't possibly remember where they'd left comments before. This might have something to do with the fact that Xanga doesn't notify you if someone replies to a comment you've left the way LJ does. But still, it's stupid. There's no way to track the discussions.
And of course, as previously mentioned, the cut ability. Now, sometimes I like that - it's useful for hiding surveys/ spoilers/pictures and the like - but sometimes I don't.
Why I haven't switched:
1. The edit feature is much simpler on Xanga. You don't have to go to a special "editing" section and look up the post you want...you see the post, you click "edit," a nice little link right next to the comments section. I edit posts a lot. Frequently. Excessively. I need it to be a speedy process.
2. It's easier to update the color scheme. I still don't know how to do full-scale layouts, but am capable of picking a pretty color scheme for my text and background, and a nice font.
3. The cut feature - it can get bothersome. I don't want to be constantly having to click links to see what I want - I want the page to load and then be able to read straight down. I know you don't HAVE to use cuts, but supposedly it annoys people when their flists have great big long swatches of text. Again, I don't know why. It's not as if you're flist page stops displaying entries after 200 lines. It stretches down as far as you need. I suppose it's so you can quickly skim what you want to read, but...no. I would *like* people to read my writing and get enjoyment out of it, but it's first and foremost a record for *me*, and I like to read straight down. No clicking unless it links to external sites with supplementary information relevant to the post.
4. I started on Xanga because it was familiar and LJ was confusing. I understand all the buttons in the regular editing window now, but I still feel dumb when it comes to things like communities and stuff, especially as it concerns fanfic. People always complain about fanfiction.net and claim they only read stuff on LiveJournal, but...this place is HUGE! It's not like there's some central directory. You have to build your own from scratch, through searching and trial and error, and it's just...yeah. I don't get it. And I feel like I should, but I don't , and it causes me feelings of GREAT INADEQUACY.
5. This one is sort of a "it only gets worse by the day," but frak that - due to the 4 preceding points, I've got nine solid months of posts on Televinita alone, and unless I could transfer them in all over here in proper chronological order, my TV reviews would then be stored in two separate places. And I'd rather have them all in one spot. It's bad enough that I have to go skimming through my personal blog for everything before May 2006...
So. That's the story. I just wish there was something - short of constantly re-publishing my original post in order to keep it at the very top of the page - I could do to instantly direct people, "hey, this is just a sideshow! Go to the real action over on [insert Xanga of choice here.]"
Although actually, such a post is becoming a very tempting idea.