5 tips for LiveJournal newbies

At the community-run journal, New Members @ LJ, new users can ask questions and seek advice, without fear of being derided.  


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Published Jul 2, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 3:01 pm CDT

Joining a new online community can be a crapshoot.

New users—who are still struggling the basics of the community’s particular rules of netiquette—never know if they’ll be helped, hazed, or just ignored.

The LiveJournal community has chosen to extend a lifeline to newbies. At New Members @ LJ, a completely user-run journal, newbies can ask any question, no matter how basic, without fear of being derided.

“This is an open, supportive community where you can exchange friendly advice on how to navigate the magical universe that is LiveJournal,” moderator markf wrote.

With 14 years of history behind it, LiveJournal can be an especially difficult community for newbies to navigate, since each section develops its own culture, etiquette, and lexicon. New Members @ LJ is the place to figure it all out.

At 11 years old, this community is almost as old as LiveJournal itself. Luckily, it’s still updated several times a day. Here are a few of the community’s valuable recent tips.

1) Let LiveJournal help you make friends.

It can be overwhelming to join a new community where you don’t know anyone yet. Seasoned user a_thoreau_plan says it doesn’t have to be so hard.

“You can find friends by clicking the ‘search by interest’ link, under the Explore tab near the top of the page,” he said. “Make friends by commenting on people’s posts and starting up a conversation. Joining a community is a great way to find people that share your interests.”

2) Be selective.

Veteran user kurikuribebi urged newbies not to mass-friend other users.

“Don’t be so quick to add so many random people,” she said.

“LJ is a great way to get to know people and make lasting friendships, but you have to invest time. You’ll have a much more enjoyable time adding say 20 people and getting to know them than adding 50 and having no idea who you’re socializing with.”

3) Avoid community drama.

“LJ Elder” musesinspire, who said she runs several LiveJournal communities, warned new users that some communities are full of in-fighting and negativity.

“When you go to join on, be sure that you’ve browsed it as best you can,” she said. “Some of the comms are incredibly cliquish and annoyingly fangurl-ish [sic].”

4) Post fanfiction correctly.

When lolaann1 first came to LiveJournal, she was confused by the complexities of the fanfiction posting process. For example, it’s good etiquette to always include a fic rating. She posted an entire guide for fanfiction, complete with a glossary.

“I just joined, and I had no idea how to navigate everything or what the etiquette was for posting,” wrote stefanyellow. “You’re a lifesaver! Thanks a ton for taking the time to do this.”

5) Not yet rated.

Some LiveJournal communities ask members to “rate” potential members before allowing them to join. Neuroticnoise doesn’t think it’s worth the hassle.

“It can be painful if you’re not into that and turn you off from LJ,” she said.

Photo by Dan Harrelson

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*First Published: Jul 2, 2012, 5:20 pm CDT