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November 3rd, 2010

I came to LiveJournal this morning to write about the election, and the aftermath, and my own musings on the future of our country. And I still intend to do that.

But while I was here, I realized that I do not check LiveJournal anymore. I used to check in on this site multiple times a day -- more often than I checked Facebook. I took a minute while I was here to check in on the journal of a friend who I've never met, never talked to on the phone, who I met through this crazy medium five years ago, who I've followed through her college years and her DC years and her struggles and her joys, who I worry about and occasionally pray for, because she is an amazing woman I wish I knew for real. But because I don't check LiveJournal anymore, I hadn't seen a word from her since June or July.

As I caught up on her life (and she chose to share with the world quite a few things that have happened to her in the last few months), I grew wistful.

I have had this quasi-blog for nine years. Nine. And I used to update it nearly daily, with random stories of my life -- the good, the bad, the funny. I used this box to keep my sanity when I worked in the Great American West. I poured out my soul while I hated my advertising job. My lonely days in undergrad, my frustrating days of grad school, my odd days in between all found a home here. And now I feel as though a story about my day isn't enough -- if I take the time to post to LiveJournal, I think, I need a point. I need to be writing an essay or a column or a review, not just blathering on about myself in a witty but cathartic way.

I think about my Facebook status updates, and I would guess that over half the time when I update my status, I cram into 450 characters what I would have expanded into a whole LJ post five years ago. For instance, on Monday, I said, "Abbi just opened a Tootsie Roll Pop and instinctively looked at the wrapper for the Indian shooting a star." In another time and place there would have been a discussion about nostalgia, about third grade, about candy, about whatever. Do I have time? Probably. Do I have the energy? Debatable. Does anyone else care?

Bingo.

I abandoned this medium when my friends did, when I realized I was writing and not getting any reaction. I quit writing here when I realized that I was one of the few of my friends left. I felt stupid putting so much work into something, sending it out into the void and realizing that nobody cared.

I realize how this sounds -- how self-aggrandizing, how selfish, how needy it sounds to only make the time to write when I think someone else will care. But part of my main draw to this place in the first place was the fact that I had a sounding board. I put my world out there, and my friends wrote back. They put their worlds out there, and I wrote back. When I write now and find that the community aspect of this project is gone, I'm better off writing an e-mail to a friend or two, or just talking to Mike about it. I get my community without worrying about trolls.

I'm wistful, though, as I said above, for a freedom to write like I used to. For the snippets of my friends' lives. For this last tie to my version of the old internet, the pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-"total connectivity" internet where I chatted with my friends on AIM about what they'd said on LJ or what they'd said in an e-mail. I suppose there's the argument that Facebook, et. al., have made our lives better but I feel it's a false connectedness. And perhaps my memory of the pre-Web2.0 world serves me poorly, but the connections I made in that world were real and they were lasting. Two of my three best girlfriends come from that world. My husband comes from that world. My world today would be nothing at all like it is without that world.

I have nine years of journal entries to prove it.

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