Russia: Thoughts on LiveJournal/ZheZhe

Global Voices Online
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Second Blog War continues in Russia.

Brad Fitzpatrick, the LiveJournal's creator, has now joined the discussion over at sup_ru LJ community: in English, he offers some explanations and apologies here (and receives 248 comments so far) and lists the bloggers' most common questions and concerns here (123 comments so far).

Stepping aside for a moment, away from politics and the general noise, here are a few notes on what the Russian LJ represents for some bloggers - and why it would be such a pity to lose it.

LJ user kmaka (wife of LJ user nl, one of the best-known Russian bloggers) attended the party held for Brad Fitzpatrick during his visit to Moscow last week - Fitzvecherinka, the Fitz-Party, as she called it. She writes (RUS):

[...] I didn't see Fitzpatrick in person. I only heard him. But I was happy to see a whole bunch of people. This, in general, seems to be the essence of LJ to me - it's a major tusovka [hangout place]. And everything works according to the laws of tusovka. It'd be good to remember this. The panic attack has moved past me somehow. First, because for a long time I've been following the principle once formulated to me by nl - I write what I think, but I think with caution. Second, I believe in common sense. And third, there'll always be time to escape. And by the way, if Sup's first step would be to introduce a possibility of a journal backup, it'd be nice. [...]

Oleg Kuvaev - LJ user samoleg, creator of the popular cartoon Masyanya - records two hilarious video parodies (RUS) of random LJ entries by apolitical female bloggers. He explains:

Anyway, I've created this fun game: everybody knows that video blogs are the coolest and most progressive thing on the web now. Like, broadcast yourself! It has reached us, too, I guess. [...] I've also wanted to experiment with this for a long time, but I'm somehow better at written posts... I don't know what's there to say in front of the camera... and why... But into my silly head came an idiotic idea of such an experiment: we pick a random user and create a video blog for him... we transform his [blog] into the video format... I read a lot of [LJ] friends, even though I rarely comment... I'm digging more like an explorer, sort of... [Don't read most popular blogs except for two of them.] It's a lot more interesting to read ordinary, and especially female, blogs... Sometimes it's absolutely impossible to understand what they're talking about... :) But it's clear they are writing genuinely... And I hope this is gonna show in my experiments... :)) The mind of a female is [a mystery]... :)


For this experiment, I've taken two posts from my [LJ] friends and I REALLY HOPE that these people have a healthy sense of humor... Because, needless to say, I haven't been too gentle with their texts and I didn't ask permission... Well, what can I do, I had this urge to do something naughty... :) The texts of the posts have not been altered at all, I didn't add or take anything out! I won't say who authored the originals, it doesn't matter, there are plenty of posts like this in LJ...

These are more like the typical samples of posts by females - charming, naive, confusing and a little funny...

If the authors ask me to, I'll erase this right away... I've made comedy out of it, of course, but so what - was I supposed to turn it into drama? take it easy... its just fun.. [sic]

[Two YouTube videos of samoleg posing as female bloggers; topics include: catching cold; having one's mood ruined; being accused by men of acting childish; feeling sleepy all the time; not getting what's being said, even when it's in Russian; being driven nuts by dumb co-workers; craving and eating red caviar; being allergic to pollen.]

LJ user nikadubrovsky writes this (RUS) about samoleg's exercise in video-blogging:

The hero of our times (again)

Oleg Kuvaev has come up with the funniest joke: he's posted a video voiceover of the posts of anonymous female LJ users.

The result is Masyanya in a new format.

The face of the LJ generation of 2006-2007 is perplexed, folklorish and poignant. And Kuvaev himself is so popular (no matter what he sets out doing) exactly because he is not afraid to be a loser.

His heroes, all of them, are the characters that [don't belong].

I've been saying this for a long time: the Hero of Our Times is a loser. Because to be a selebritya [celebrity] (a word out of Kuvaev's LJ) is extremely idiotic.


By the way, changes that have occurred in LJ this past year - re-sales, abuses, departures - they'll result in the Real Ones leaving, but the fake ones, the numerous selebritya, staying.

They'll speak/write exactly like Oleg depicts it.

Only they'll MEAN IT.

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