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So, a couple of Saturdays ago, I had an interesting experience in serendipity and the long term effects of one's social networking footprint.

I went to see Amanda Palmer in concert. This was something of an overdue outing, as I was supposed to have seen her way back in November, but my dog Tobey chose that night to munch down on a box of matches, and so I felt I had to stay in and keep an eye on him to make sure he was ok. (and he was)

Anyway, I found out about the concert through Meetup which is a site I'm on, but rarely, if ever actually make use of anymore. Mainly I use it to try to find out if a table top RPG campaign is going to be starting somewhere where and when I can get involved or for tech events, but for the most part, I hardly ever go to the gatherings it tells me about. However, on the group, "Geek Night Out", a group was formed to go see Amanda, so I thought "Sweet, I'll get to see her this year after all!". I wasn't too sure if I'd actually meet anyone in the group, but I figured if I did, cool, if not, also cool.

As it turned out, I did wind up meeting with some of the people who had signed up for the meetup. One of the group, Meaghan, had claimed the better part of a row of seats for the group. All told, I think there were about 6 or 7 from the actual meetup.

Here's where it gets interesting:

When I was making my way to the chair, a young woman in the same row said "You look familiar. Do I know you?" After a few attempts to match face with social circle, we concluded that we knew each other through Livejournal, and only through Livejournal. The girl in question was nexussix whom I'd connected with through other people on LJ. It was one of those little random moments that I used to really enjoy when I was more active here because we already had a broad context for conversation, not so much because we both used the same online platform to express ourselves, but also because we discovered other connections between ourselves of which we (or at least I) hadn't been previously aware.

I spent some time afterward reflecting on how the online social interaction landscape has changed in the era of Facebook. One could make a case that Facebook effectively took the place of Livejournal. This is a valid case, but I think it's more accurate to say that Facebook contributed to the decline of Livejournal as a social interaction platform. The selling of Livejournal to whatever Russian company now owns it didn't help either, but it's also the shifting dynamic towards less text driven social media and more soundbite like interaction such as is found on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Facebook is useful for its ubiquity and the fact that most people who interact online use it. I've found it useful for reconnecting with old friends and classmates from school I hadn't seen in years. In some cases, it even helped me build friendships that would never have become as significant as they would have been without Facebook.

That said, I also have a number of friendships that would never have existed without Livejournal. Indeed, I have even helped facilitate the creation of friendships between people I met here. Once upon a time, this place was more or less my tribe. It wasn't absolutely everyone I knew in the world, but it was the core of what I considered my social circle. Once upon a time I might have considered that sad. In fact, I never shared most of what I put on Livejournal with my family or non LJ friends (though I later understood that some of them found this journal feeding into their yahoo accounts or something like that) largely because I felt self-conscious about its very use. This seems a bit absurd to me now given the size of my online presence.

I really do miss LJ's interaction. I've tried starting another blog, but it's more difficult without direct interaction with people for me. I'm not really a writer or even a story teller. I prefer to interact, to converse. Facebook isn't as good for that sort of thing because everyone there seems to want to prove everyone else wrong about something. There was plenty of that here too, (and God knows I was flagrantly guilty of this!) but there was also a lot of good interaction, fun, and outright comedy.

But, times must change I suppose. I don't kid myself that I'll ever get back the tribe I used to have here, but I'm glad I had it when I did, and I'm glad of the things I still have because of it.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2015 01:26 pm (UTC)
I've had zero luck finding games through meetup. If you're trying to find a game, I have suggestions - the main one being, see what they're playing at the game store near you.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 16th, 2015 03:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Crazy right?
Yeah, me too. I mean I can't blame Facebook entirely on the eventual dissolution of the social network I'd formed here. Some of that is simply people growing up, procreating, etc. Even so, yeah, I do miss the days when this space was a real thing.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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