Google Plus as a successor to LiveJournal

Google+ is Google’s new social network. It takes aim at both Facebook and Twitter, but I think its unique intersection of features also positions it to succeed LiveJournal in a way that neither Facebook nor Blogger ever could.

Let’s back up a bit. What is LiveJournal?

LiveJournal, or Zhivoi Zhurnal as its Russian userbase calls it, is a social network masquerading as a blogging platform. It started in 1999, 3 years before Friendster, and provided:

  • Fine-grained access control to individual posts
  • Ability to group your friends into circles
  • One-way friend relationships (so you could be a follower of someone without them friending you back)
  • An equivalent to Facebook’s News Feed years before FB filed a patent on it

Google+ has all of these features. Not just that, but it exposes them much better than inertia-laden LiveJournal ever did, and it is amenable to long posts.

LJ is a smaller fish than Facebook, with only 32,000,000 friends of whom only 2,000,000 are active, but targeting this community could give Google a sufficient core of users to take on the Facebook behemoth.

Will LiveJournal users migrate? I’m not sure. LiveJournal satisfies several rather different demographics. 48% of its active user base is Russian, exemplified by President Dmitry Medvedev and various photoblogs. There’s a big celebrity news community called Oh No They Didn’t. There’s also a significant scifi and comics fandom userbase exemplified by Scans Daily that is already moving to a clone site called DreamWidth. Some of these groups may be more amenable to the lure of Google+ than others.

I can say that the circle of people I met back when I had a journal on Slashdot in the early 2000s migrated to G+ overnight, and LiveJournal fostered and fosters similar communities. They could very well follow and give Google the critical mass that it craves.

One thought on “Google Plus as a successor to LiveJournal

  1. I don’t know if G+ has an equiv to these LJ features yet:
    – memories
    – tags so that you can find entries (something FB is sorely missing)
    – communities (not the same as circles)
    – syndication (ability to have other blogs and RSS feeds on your friends page)


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