make love not war

A short analogy about LiveJournal

Written by someone on Dreamwidth who doesn't want to be named; quoted with explicit permission.

Let's say my friends were meeting every Friday at a bar where I felt intensely uncomfortable. Say, for instance, that the owner of the bar keeps standing round listening to our conversation over our shoulders, and never gives us correct change, and lets a bunch of GOD HATES FAGS protesters set up right by the door. And I say to my friends, hey, I don't like this, why don't we go to another bar? And my friends ignore me. And I say it again, and they continue to ignore me. So I say, "OK, I'm going to be at this other bar on Friday night, and I'll buy the first round," and most of my friends don't show up.

Well, fuck that. I've expressed, as clearly as I'm able, why I'm uncomfortable there. I've done everything in my power to either encourage them to move across, or to help us stay in touch otherwise. I've offered codes, allowed OpenID comments, set up a syndicated feed on LJ so they can follow my DW there without difficulty, subscribed to the RSS feeds of their public posts so I can keep up with what's happening in their lives. And they're still drinking at the bar with the creepy owner and the crowd of bigots calling me names when I walk through the door.

I am not obligated to keep drinking at that bar.

I've moved. I have new friends here. And while sometimes I'm a little wistful that my old friends don't want to move with me, it's not the end of the world. Either we'll drift apart (yeah, that happens sometimes) or else we'll run into each other again in other circumstances and pick right back up again. And that's fine. I've got friends I only see at conferences once a year, friends I see at parties back home about once every five years, friends I swap email with a few times a decade, friends who live mere blocks from me that I've just met and now see every week, friends from adolescence who just friended me on facebook, friends who work better when we're not in each other's faces all the time, friends who might be best friends if we just lived in the same city, best friends who might be worst friends if we lived in the same city, friends who became lovers, lovers who became friends, exes who became friends only after a nice big gap to get over it, friends with whom I share nothing but a single interest, friends with whom I share everything, friends with whom I can't talk politics, friends I can only deal with in large groups... all kinds of friends.

And now I have friends who I don't keep in touch with because they keep using LJ, but who I'll probably catch up with some other way, some other time.

And I have DW friends. Lots and lots of DW friends. It's working well for me so far.

Please do stay in touch - here's where you can find me now:

I can provide invite codes for Dreamwidth if you need; just ask.