The rumours are true -Six Apart has bought LiveJournal

I’m not surprised, and I don’t think many people will be. I am, however, pleased to read in Brad Fitzpatrick’s announcement and Mena Trott’s blog post that much of what I wrote yesterday was dead on the money. There’s more information on the Six Apart FAQ and on their Professional Network Introduction to LiveJournal.

Unlike the pessimists and nay-sayers, (some of whom have changed their minds), and the odd angry LiveJournaler, (I looked for more but could hardly find any substantive bile), I think that this acquisition is good news. I don’t think that the Balkanisation of the blogging world – and whether you like it or not, LiveJournal is a part of the blogosphere – actually does anyone any good. The fact that some people on both sides despise each other is not a positive and I hope that by working closely together Six Apart and LiveJournal can do something to heal the rift.

I’m not saying that everyone should just love each other, (although that would be nice), but recognising that one tool does not fit all and that a range of tools are requires to provide for the needs of a range of people would be a good start. The truth is that whilst there are plenty of LiveJournals that fit the LiveJournal stereotype of angst-ridden teenage goth, and plenty of TypePad blogs that fit the blog stereotype of self-important opinionated idiot, there are more people using these tools which do not fit the stereotypes than some people would admit. There are LiveJournal-style blogs and TypePad-style journals.

And this is not a problem.

All blogs have validity within their own context, whether they are pulling 10,000 visitors a day or are a nanoblog aimed only at close friends and family. Mena talked about this at BlogTalk in July last year, and also at SuperNova:

We evolve from publishing for thousands, to smaller groups [said Mena]. She wants, she says, to move from a readership of 10,000 to a readership of ten; but ten people she cares about and would like to have over to her home. Also, she’s noticing that a substantial proportion of the TypePad blogs are basically private for-friends, with no desire for general public exposure.

This understanding of the value of blogging for friends, which is basically what LiveJournal is all about, stands Mena in good stead, and I hope it is an indicator that Six Apart are capable of not only respecting the needs of the LiveJournal users, but also developing the site along lines that will encourage new users to explore what LiveJournal has to offer.