Reply All: #100 Friends and Blasphemers
June 29, 2017 5:47 AM - Subscribe

An online diary used by American teenagers confronts a strange and terrifying enemy.
posted by Tevin (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As if often case, I actually enjoyed PJ needling Alex more than the main story, although I did find the main story fascinating.
posted by maxsparber at 8:29 AM on June 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

I looked at the description for this episode and got really excited - back in December I was thinking about this a lot, and especially when dealing with Trump and Russia and the media, it really is an object lesson in how news does and doesn't get out via the internet.

I held out and used livejournal until 2012-ish or so. Partially to keep up with high school friends once I went to college, partially for media/fandom purposes, and partially for the general writing communities that sprung up around the platform. It was definitely my favorite social media network, and in a lot of ways it felt like the promise of Old Internet - I really felt like I got to know random interesting people from all over the globe. And yeah, some of the entries are pretty embarrassing now, but I still talk to some of the people I met that way and even get Christmas cards from them.

I wish they went into a little more detail - it wasn't just bots, it was also constant DDoS attacks whenever anything noteworthy was happening in Russia that would take down the platform for a few days. Like, I remember LJ being down and then immediately checking to see what was going on in Russia, and having people plan around the Russian Election because it was assumed that nothing was going to be able to be uploaded that day.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:46 AM on June 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Who else tried to go to Alex's LJ?

I was never "into" LJ, although for a while in 2006-2007 I used it to log my college radio station playlists and do a tiny bit of blogging....Ooooh it's still up! With a pic of me that I thought was super cool, ha.
posted by radioamy at 5:03 PM on June 29, 2017

This episode made me feel 1000 years old. I was a heavy LJ user from around 2004-2013. I was in fandom, but also used it for personal stuff, made a lot of friends, just like Alex. As such, this episode told me nothing I didn't already know but did remind me that I'm old and that to whippersnappers PJ's age, LJ is this weird, archaic relic of the past.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:19 PM on July 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

clavicle, thanks for that link!
posted by radioamy at 7:48 PM on July 1, 2017

I'm old and that to whippersnappers PJ's age, LJ is this weird, archaic relic of the past

Ha, I just checked - PJ is two months younger than I am, so I'm not sure if it's quite that drastic of an age thing - the cutoff is probably closer to mid twenties. There's probably a gender component to it though - like, I knew guys who had livejournals, but I also remember there being this weird 'manly men code their own blogs from scratch and don't have diaries' gendered bit to it, and then there was fandom's overwhelming impact - as time went on, livejournal became more and more connected to fandom. So more teenage girls probably had livejournals in 2002 than teenage boys, and the disparity only increased by 2009-2010.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:17 AM on July 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the podcast, particularly all the time with Alexei. It went pretty heavy on the "LJ was bought by Russian thugs to silence dissent" story. I'm not saying that's wrong, but I think SUP Media's intent is still being debated.

Here's a photo of LiveJournal founder Brad Fitzpatrick with Alexei Navalny. Navalny is a big deal in Russian politics right now; to the extent there's any opposition to Putin in this coming election, it's Navalny. He just got released from prison for "organizing illegal protests".
posted by Nelson at 3:31 PM on July 7, 2017

Anton Nossik, 'godfather' of Russian internet, dies at 51. He had been a manager at SUP Media, the company that bought LiveJournal. Cause is reported as a heart attack.
posted by Nelson at 10:44 AM on July 9, 2017

In the early nineties I got into the habit of reflexively wondering, whenever someone prominent was reported to have died from something like pneumonia or heart attack, whether they had actually died of AIDS. Apparently I now have the same reflex for Russians and Putin.
posted by bq at 12:28 PM on July 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

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