John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk
johnckirk

Meta-LJ

This is rather odd, possibly the start of a new trend? I've recently been pruning down my LJ friends list a bit. No offence intended to people who got booted off, this was just a growing realisation that I have very little in common with them anymore, and no real interest in what they post. Anyway, while I was checking my settings, I noticed that I'd been "friended" by d7935. At that point the LJ account had 0 posts, 495 friends, and wasn't a friend of anyone else; I couldn't see any particular reason that I'd been included with the other 494 people (I didn't recognise names). Looking back at it now, there are over 100 short posts which include info on Canon cameras, so I can only assume that this is some new form of spam, by making me more likely to go and read those news posts. This post has a few comments by other people in the same situation, basically saying "So, a bot, huh?" Mind you, I'm not quite clear on what it's trying to achieve, since half of the news posts are saying "Here's a launch of a wonderful new product" and the other half are saying "Here's a recall of a product that spontaneously combusts". There are now 11 people who've added the bot account to their friends list; at a glance, they seem to be of the "all icons, all the time!" variety.

Speaking of icons, there was a recent post in paidmembers about a new tracking feature, to let you monitor what goes on in other people's LJs. In theory I can see some benefits to that, e.g. if there's an interesting discussion going on in the comments to a post but it gets pushed back a few pages in my list, so it's time consuming to go looking for it. However, I also agree with those who say that it should be possible to opt out of this; I'm not as zealous about privacy about some people I know (i.e. I probably wouldn't bother opting out myself), but it seems like a reasonable compromise. Anyway, the thing which did catch my eye in that announcement was "get notified when a user uploads a new userpic". I don't like to resort to cliches such as "Get a life!", but I really do think there's a tendency for some online communities to disappear up their own arses.

Putting this into context, easterbunny recently suggested a meme for LJ userpics. I didn't bother taking part at the time, because my list basically goes like this:
Original pic This was my original userpic, being a photo of me at my computer (two flats ago), via my webcam.
Current pic This is my current userpic, being the same as above, but kindly modified by elvum so that I don't "look dead".

I could probably do with a new userpic (susannahf has mentioned that this one makes me look rather gormless), but I'm not very photogenic. If anyone does manage get a decent photo of me, let me know, and I'll see about replacing my current one.

To avoid this post coming across as completely elitist, I should just clarify that I have no objection to people having multiple icons. Come to that, if someone does have a journal where every single post is "Squee! GIP! Here's my new animated icon of Snape, Draco, and Harry!" then it's harmless enough, but I have no interest in reading such a blog. I suspect that the people who have such blogs would probably not be interested in reading mine either, so it all balances out.
Tags: meta
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