LiveJournal's history and vision, as far as Internet experiences go, is extensive. While the gatekeepers and direction have varied over the years, two major elements factor into deciding how the site experience evolves. First, the core belief that LiveJournal is a safe harbor for expression, outreach, and discussion. Second, the idea that member feedback is vital. Looking ahead to 2012 and beyond, together we can create a LiveJournal experience that excels beyond anything we've ever accomplished.
A part of improving that experience begins with the site itself. “Under the hood” of every entry shared on LiveJournal is an infrastructure that holds it all together, roughly 13 years worth of infrastructure designed to allow members extensive flexibility over style layouts and content placement. That's a lot of programming code over the years and some of it has to be replaced. We're making changes behind the scenes that will improve our production and testing process, which in turn will create a better user experience for members when a feature goes live. Some might ask, "How would this make things better?" Imagine an update to the Rich Text editor that doesn't result in weeks of tweaks and fixes. By streamlining the process behind the scenes, we can create reliable features faster, which in turn allocates more time to adjust existing features and address member requests.
The changes to the site, as well as the process through which we develop and implement these changes, are a work in progress. Your feedback is an integral part our design approach and influences what and how features are implemented. Given the large scope of the work being done, our response time might be longer than expected. Rest assured, though, we are eager to keep things working effectively and in a way that best embraces the ideals of LiveJournal and its passionate members.
2011: A Look Back
Last year was filled with ups, downs, and all-arounds. New additions like LiveJournal Singapore, a revised Community Directory, improved spam prediction and prevention, free paid account trials, the introduction of community owner privileges, and enhanced privacy settings were received favorably. The redesign of the Navigation Strip, and removing the LJ pencil from the favicon were met with mixed reviews. Less welcome changes included the numerous Rich Text editor update issues following Release 80 and the comment page redesign in Release 88. As you read this year's State of the Goat, we're preparing fixes, looking over your comments, and we'll provide updates as new information is available.
And then there were the DDoS attacks. While they resulted in some service interruption, the DDoS attacks made world news again this year. LiveJournal is still an active global forum at a time when ordinary people are using social networks to exercise their freedom of expression and organize political protests. Despite the bumps in the road, LiveJournal played in a major role in voicing issues that resonate with anyone who believes that governments and politicians should be held accountable. New hardware and mitigation practices gradually minimized the impact these attacks had in the last half of the year. Many recent attacks have been successfully handled with virtually no interruption to the service, and we expect even better results in 2012.
LiveJournal continued to expand beyond the website as well. In the last two years, our drive to offer LiveJournal members greater flexibility and accessibility prompted the creation of new mobile applications. In 2010, LiveJournal released an iPhone/iPad application to meet the on-the-go lifestyle of our mobile members. As those expectations grew in 2011 and continue to grow in 2012, we've expanded our mobile app support to include many popular Android, Windows Mobile and Nokia devices.
Purging Inactive Accounts
As you may have noticed, we're currently deleting inactive and empty member accounts. Only accounts that have zero entries and have not been logged into for over two years will be affected by this process. Right now, account owners are being notified by email if their account is set to be deleted. If you receive such an email about an account you'd prefer to keep, all you need to do is login before the date listed to prevent the deletion. Even if it is deleted, you will still have 30 days to undelete the journal.
An account is not subject to inactivity purging if it has at least one entry in it but this criteria may change over time. If you have friends or family who have passed away and were LiveJournal members, the best way to protect their accounts against future inactivity purges is by requesting such journals be set as 'memorial' accounts. Please email Support to request memorial status for a journal.
2012: A Look Ahead
Expect to see big changes in the coming months. Over the last year we've decreased advertising across the site. We're excited to announce that by mid-2012, advertising will be phased out completely for virtually all of the LiveJournal service pages, journals, and communities that we know and love. Advertising will only be shown in select communities that opt in to displaying it (which you'll hear more about on February 15).
We're also taking huge strides to improve site efficiency and functionality behind the scenes. Changes like these are usually not immediately noticeable but they affect many aspects of our production and testing process. Site performance will improve in the coming months with these changes in place. We're also redesigning service pages, introducing new journal style designs, improving DDoS mitigation practices, and addressing modifications to existing features. And we may have another surprise or two for you along the way so stay tuned!
LiveJournal is a living document. We're eager to hear your feedback as we dedicate ourselves to improving the member experience. Every day invites new ideas and new opportunities. We're excited to see where 2012 takes us and we welcome you to join us!
To you, your family, and your friends, we wish you a healthy and exciting 2012!