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LiveJournal (often referred to by its users as lj, capitalised or not) is the name of a website where Internet users can keep a journal or diary, as well as the name of the server software that was designed to run it. It is one of many sites that come under the term blog, or weblog. The software running the site is open source. What distinguishes LiveJournal from other blog sites is the "Friends page", a list of the most recent posts from people a user has added to their "Friends list" -- this turns LiveJournal into a community of interconnected weblogs.

Like most weblogs, people can comment on each others' journals and create a message board[?] style thread of comments -- each comment can be replied to individually, starting a new thread from every one. All users, including non-paying users, can set various options for comments: they can instruct the software to only accept comments from those on their Friends list or block anonymous comments (meaning only LiveJournal users can comment on their posts). In addition, LiveJournal acts as host to group discussion boards, or "communities," encompassing a myriad of subjects. (For example, there is a community dealing specifically with Wikipedia (http://www.livejournal.com/~wikipedians/).) A community is created as a regular journal account -- either with an invite code or by paying -- and can then be converted into a community account.

LiveJournal was started by Brad Fitzpatrick as a way of keeping his high school friends updated on his activities. As of May 2003, over one million accounts had been created, of which nearly 400 thousand had been updated at some point in the last month [1] (http://www.livejournal.com/stats.bml). Between them, these users make about 180 thousand individual posts per day. Of those users who provided their date of birth, the vast majority are in the 15-22 age group. Of those who specified their gender, almost two thirds are female. LiveJournal is most popular in English-speaking countries (although there is a language selection feature), and the United States has the most LiveJournal users by far. Following are rounded figures from May 2003:

  1. United States - 640,000
  2. Canada - 43,000
  3. United Kingdom - 32,000
  4. Australia - 17,000

LiveJournal relies heavily on user contributions and volunteer efforts. The LiveJournal Support area is run almost entirely by unpaid volunteers. Similarly, the website is translated into other languages by volunteers. Although programming is mainly done by employees and the original creator himself, user contributions in this area are also reviewed and considered.

LiveJournal used to be open for anyone to join; however, because the number of users was increasing at such a fast rate, and the vast majority are free users, the growth of LiveJournal had to be checked somehow -- the "free" servers (those dealing with the free accounts) became unreliable as server load increased. An "invite code" system was introduced, where new users needed to either obtain a code from an existing user, or buy a paid account (which reverts to a free account at the expiration of the period of time paid for). The invite code system also helps prevent abuse, by preventing people from creating many throwaway accounts.

Because LiveJournal is an open source project, many other communities have been designed using the LiveJournal software. However, these, apart from DeadJournal, tend to be unstable and short-lived. These include, but are not limited to:

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