Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Benefits and shortcomings of LiveJournal

LiveJournal provides a very different sort of blogging platform. It's based around a social network and so the blog is just a part of a package which includes photo albums, personal pages, music - everything you'd expect of a social network.

Benefits of LiveJournal

1. Immediate access to a community of readers
The social networking features of LiveJournal mean that you have immediate access to a community of readers. Pick a topic (although it needs to be one that interests LiveJournal users) and you can get a few people to read your first post - a bonus on other blogging platforms.

2. Building better relationships
With most blogs someone reads your post and never comes back. With LiveJournal though, fellow users can become your friends and so it's much easier to enter into a meaningful conversation with them in a way that isn't possible on other blogging platforms - unless you have multiple repeat readers.

3. Cost
Like Blogger, but unlike so many other platforms, there really are no hidden costs to using LiveJournal.

Shortcomings of LiveJournal

1. Publicity through search
Very few LiveJournal blogs emerge through search engines Technorati or Google Blog search. There's no evidence to suggest why - it might be because LvieJournal has a small market share. However, small monitoring services like blogpulse do pick up more LiveJournal content.

2. Flexibility of design
The templates for LiveJournal are the most rigid we have encountered. Whilst the backdrop and some of the key elements can be altered, most users have simply created a less aesthetically pleasing result (think of a teenager's poster-covered bedroom wall).

3. Wider usability
The wider usability of LiveJournal is limited. By this we mean that the URLs of the posts cannot be tailored, you can't use your own URL and more advanced features such as trackbacks and pings (to follow other blogs reporting your site) are not possible. There is also not the wide range of plugins and widgets that are accessible through most of the blogging platforms.

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