Mena's article discusses types of weblogs/why people blog and in some ways covers some fairly well worn ground, although the story of her changing attitudes to her blog I found quite interesting*. One of the main things that struck me though was the feeling that this piece feels very strongly as if it was influenced by the planned purchase of LJ, which must have already been in the works at the time. In particular, the dream of a mixed security system is pretty close to fully realised over here.** It also reminded me of the benefits of LJ as an introduction to the blogging world though.
I think that in Mena's terms, I've always been a diarist. At the time I opened my LJ account I wasn't really aware of weblogging at all, never having been a very exploratory type of web browser. Alex mentioned the site to me and after looking round, I decided to join up just to see what would happen. I saw things totally in the LJ context of posting being a way to share things with my friends who were using the service and as I got into the flow, I encouraged more and more of them to join. I knew all about Google, but a personal philosophy of being basically completely honest with people because it's easier made it fairly easy for me to feel comfortable about what I wrote; I felt that I was happy for anyone I knew to read what I wrote and if people I didn't know wanted to read it, I didn't mind, but it seemed unlikely that they would care.
I can't remember now how I first became aware of wider weblogging. Perhaps it was from zoo_music_girl linking to the then not.so.soft blog, which was quite a diary-style site and hence appealing. Somehow though, I stumbled onto more blogs and writing about blogs (the Rebecca Blood article, for instance). The idea of a blogging A-list arrived in my conciousness and I gave more serious consideration than the question deserved to whether I would want to be a celebrity blogger.
Anyway, the point is this. If my first encounters with weblogging had been through the A-list and those running their blogs on their own sites, I probably wouldn't have started one. I didn't have anything particular I needed to say, and I was under little illusion of how fascinating I was. Coming to blogging through LiveJournal gave me a chance to start regularly self publishing without feeling pretentious about it, and in the process, gave me a creative and personal outlet it had never occurred to me that I wanted. And because I came into blogging this way, I have never really ended up feeling pressured by my site to be interesting, or even regular as a poster. It encouraged me to post for me and let people choose to be interested or not. Seeing what has happened to some popular sites and what other popular bloggers have written, I feel lucky to have taken the route I did.
Between embedding my journal in my domain and the advent of customizable comments pages on LJ, it would be easy not to notice that my journal wasn't a hosted blog if you found it via my site and I now feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds. I've got my LJ friends, who I really do feel like I'm friends with. We read each-others lives and comment whenever we've got something to say. And I've also got my journal out there, on the very edge of the weblogging world. I doubt that many people read it, but there's probably a few who do (hello!) and they're welcome too. I've got my niche, and thanks very much LJ for helping me find it with minimum angst***
* That's often what I like about weblogging as a reader. People's personal take/experience on something is always more interesting to me than a straight analysis.
** We just need to allow non-LJ users to authenticate too and then we'll be there. I wonder what happened about that.
*** Disclaimer: this sentence not representative of LJ as a whole :)