liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
[personal profile] liv
I'm not going to participate in [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw this year, because the fest coincides with the three weeks leading up to my wedding... However, I did want to link to this post of [livejournal.com profile] siderea's from a few months back, about patterns of posting to build community.

When I first read [livejournal.com profile] siderea's recipe, I was unconvinced, because I said to myself that I wouldn't want to circle someone who posted mostly links with only very occasional long thinky posts. But on further consideration, actually that sort of balance does come close to what I want to see on my reading page! The high number of small, low effort "pointer" posts means that there's always going to be plenty of new material when I refresh my reading page. There's enough recognition of personal diary posts that I get to feel in touch with the people I care about enough that I actually want to know what they're doing day-to-day, but not enough frequency of these for me to get bored by random strangers talking about what they had for breakfast. While statistically the probability is that there will be a steady supply of the prized "op ed" posts as long as I have more than 30 to 50 subscriptions. I think the key to Siderea's argument is this part: It's not a matter of proportion, it's actually just absolute number: at least three pointer posts, no matter what else you do.

Bearing that in mind, I think this recipe would be a good way to break the downward spiral that has plagued LJ for the past several years: people hesitate to post until they have something carefully planned out and significant, which means that there's little new material on friends pages, which means that there's less incentive to participate in LJ, and consequently less incentive to post regularly since you don't get much feedback. I think DW is slightly less bad in this respect, and to be honest I'm not sure there's much need for the Three Weeks fest this year, as the site is reasonably active and busy and no longer full of parked journals and tumbleweed. But there's still a problem that idle thoughts, daily life stuff and and links to other stuff on the web go to FB, Tumblr or Twitter, and full length posts take more time and effort than people have available, so people get out of the habit of posting regularly, and the atmosphere is much less active and community-feeling than LJ was back in the mid-2000s.

There's also some really interesting discussion in the comments to the OP about short posts and "pointers" generating more comment discussion than diary posts or long thinky "op eds". There's also the observation that interaction on LJ and DW is partly about people being motivated to go and post something in their own journals, (perhaps tangentially related, not necessarily a direct response), as well as comment discussions taking place on specific posts. One thing I'm reminded of is [profile] andrew_ducker's effort to encourage people to post something rather than nothing:
...one of the biggest reasons for people not posting is that they don't feel comfortable posting short things. For goodness sake, post them! And if goodness isn't good enough, post them for my sake! Don't feel you need a mega-epic of polished awesomeness to share, just tell us what's going on with you.
I think [livejournal.com profile] siderea's strategy improves on this, because actually Pointers are a better low-effort way to keep up the flow of content than just reports of day-to-day activities; better because more interactive, and better because they're of more general interest to people who aren't already your friends. I definitely agree with [profile] andrew_ducker that lots of diary posts is better than silence, but possibly a majority of pointer posts would be better still.

I have a slight problem with implementing this plan personally: I'm kind of incapable of just throwing a link up without writing a long commentary about it. My most natural post length is about 1000-2000 words, and that is always going to take a significant time investment to post (let alone how long it will take to read and think of a meaningful comment!) Because I'm so verbose, for me, pointer posts don't work out low effort enough that I'm plausibly going to do them three times a week. Still, I'm trying to increase the frequency of those, partly by putting them here as well as Delicio.us, Tumblr, Twitter or Diaspora. I suspect, based on the discussion at [livejournal.com profile] siderea's, and my own experience, that posts with a single link and some context for why it's worth following are more effective than very long lists of linkdumps, and hopefully I can do that at least sometimes without turning all of them into giant essays (like this one...)

Adapting this for the Three Week fest, and rounding up because after all the point of the fest is to encourage people to post more, I propose the following challenge for anyone who'd like to give it a try. Between now and 15th May, can you post:
  • Three diary entries or questions to your readers (I reckon polls and surveys count in this category)
  • Ten pointers to other content worth reading / listening to / watching (doesn't have to be on DW)
  • One long form post about something other than yourself and your daily life
[The dates of the three weeks are a bit messed up because the anniversary of the site launch kind of snuck up on everybody when we weren't quite ready for it, so we're going by the 2011 dates, and I'm afraid that a third of the three weeks have already gone. In the circumstances I reckon it counts if you make your quota by 20th May.] I know some people are already doing much harder challenges, like posting 100 things, or posting every day for three weeks. But I think it's good to have some easier challenges as well, to allow more people to participate. And this one I think might be sustainable after the fest is over.

What I don't know is how (if at all) this recipe applies to journals that are primarily fannish. Any thoughts on that? Also I definitely don't have the talent to make banners for people who complete the challenge; anyone want to take that on?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-01 08:32 pm (UTC)
ephemera: celtic knotwork style sitting fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] ephemera
interesting, indeed - thank you for sharing :D

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-01 09:43 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
Thanks for this!

The environment online is so so different from when LJ launched. It's not even analogous, really. What made LJ a great community for so many different groups is not what is going to make Dreamwidth work today, IMHO.

Simply because people DO have so many options. Even people who love Dreamwidth, who are happy here, are branching out into Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, while possibly still keeping a foot in LJ.

I agree that small frequent posts, and sharing yourself and sharing links (and in my community's case, sharing fanworks), is the way to keep the interactions happening.

But the comparison to LJ ten years ago breaks down completely, IMHO. People seem to like being spread very thin online, and that makes their participation on each platform more sporadic. There are only so many hours in the day, you know? Unless they use a crosspost function.

Maybe that's the strength of DW as a central location, come to think of it, for those who want to be a lot of different places on the web.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-02 11:38 am (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
I didn't mean to imply that it was an either/or thing: EITHER people post long intimate well-written posts, OR nothing will happen.

As I said, short lively posts and lots of commenting are a great way to keep the communities alive, period.

But from what I'm seeing, people LIKE being spread thin. They love embracing all these different fun places to play online. People seem to juggle a bunch of platforms for different purposes.

Tumblr by its design doesn't allow for threaded conversations, which is what I love about DW and other blogs.

Also is it showing my age that something ten years old can be seriously called old-fashioned? LOL.

Facebook does and doesn't interact with myfandom communities, because of the pseudonym culture.

But what I'm seeing is people loving being able to play in so many places. WHich is not what I'm about at all! So I'm the outlier here I think. Thanks again for the post.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-02 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] huckleberryjam
I'm new to Dreamwidth (which I always mistype as Dreamweaver, dammit) and although I came here seeking community, I never thought about it in terms of how to build it. So thanks. I'll take your challenge.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-03 06:11 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: Snoopy is thinking (delicate thought process)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I really do think people need to realize that the community is us; there's not much point just complaining that the community on DW is less active than old LJ / what you think is ideal.

Here via someone's link, but I've already forgotten whose, so sorry. I think you make a good point. We are the community; it is and will be exactly what we make of it.

I will try your challenge. The links are a different kind of problem for me. I'm not apolitical at all, and I read a lot, but I mostly use the computer for email, reading and writing fanfiction, my journal and shopping. And I'm a spoiler-phobe so I avoid fannish sites! But I'll try. Can I post just one link or does it have to be a whole post of them?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-12 06:54 pm (UTC)
falena: Picture of a girl hiding behind a camera, reflected in a mirror. (Default)
From: [personal profile] falena
I must have missed this post and am therefore v late...Thanks for the link to the 'building community' recipe. It sounds interesting and effective, I'm going to try it out.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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