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19 April 2009 @ 06:44 am
Dreamwidth: Fandom Jumps Ship . . . Again  
When the first posts started to appear on Metafandom concerning Dreamwidth, I was intrigued. Being curious (and totally outside the loop as far as most things fannish), I read with interest those posts discussing this revolution in online social networking.

So, what have I learned:

  • Dreamwidth is in closed beta until 30 April. (This has been repeated in every post concerning the service. By now, if you haven't saved the date, you're just not listening.)

  • Anyone who would like an invite code prior to that date will need to find someone from whom they can ask for a code.

  • If you feel uncomfortable asking people you may not really know, there are a few lists on which you can leave your name and e-mail address, and receive a code from someone who already has a Dreamwidth account. Whether the codes are given in order of requests, or to people who have posted elsewhere on Dreamwidth discussions is unclear. (In the interest of disclosure, I signed up to one such list; can't find the link, though.)

  • If you were not lucky enough to get a code prior to 30 April, you'll be able to purchase a basic membership for $3.00 (US) a month.

  • If you registered on Dreamwidth with Open ID, a code will be waiting for you come either 30 April or 1 May. (If this is the case, I'm not exactly sure why, for the last half month, it was necessary to ask random folks for codes. It really makes me feel awkward to ask "Hi, you don't know me and our interests don't cross, but please may have a code?" It originally appeared that registering with Open ID would allow you to comment on the site, and had nothing to do with securing an invitation code.)

  • Post-30 April, Dreamwidth will be in Open Beta, which likely means on the surface things will look good, but there will probably be glitches along the way, as the kinks are worked out.

  • Once you have a journal, you will be able to set a hierarchical structure of your intimate circle, your fairly close friends, your acquaintances, and everyone else. It appears to be no different from how it's probably done via filters and groups on FLs anyway; the only difference will be that people will now have to acknowledge that no rational person who has a friends list of over 30 people and communities is reading every single post/comment on a regular bases.

And what have I taken away from the increasing number of meta'd Dreamwidth posts?

  • That I really don't like the name. Admittedly, this is purely subjective on my part, but Dreamwidth fails to conjure any image of what this service is or does.

  • A great many posts being quoted are not informative. They're little more than save the date, oooh!shiny, in with the in-crowd repetition. Perspective -- both pro and con -- would be nice.

  • That I'm not very impressed with Dreamwidth's "Diversity Statement". It reads like a typical PR fluff piece, with only one important statement:

    With servers in the US we're obliged to follow US laws, but we're serious about knowing and protecting your rights when it comes to free expression and privacy.

    And if free expression and/or privacy come into conflict with US law, Dreamwidth will do what it must to comply. This is common sense from a business perspective, and I don't fault them for this, but it makes clear that the rest of the statement is window dressing.

  • As April has progressed, what should have been welcome anticipation about Dreamwidth, has developed into a sour feeling about the whole thing. When excitement and enthusiasm move into the realm of over-hype, I'm left feeling both pressured and that others are trying to convince themselves far more than me.

Now, the 30th of April can't get here soon enough, just to have the conversation move on to something else.
Skittish Eclipse: mywordfoxfirefey on April 20th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
Anyway, I'm sorry people are a bit too squee right now, and I hope it calms down after the 30th, although I'm not sure talk about Dreamwidth will die then; I actually imagine there's going to be a bunch more after the floodgates open for a bit, after which it will calm down some. I'd guess the pattern's going to be:

* Any problems DW encounters in open beta will be either defended (it's new!) or lambasted (proves it sucks!)
* DW is going to be judged on whether or not its seed accounts sell quickly or not
* More posts about people going to DW or saying why they're not going or saying they're staying here AND going there, ad nauseum
* Offerings of invite codes. Askings of invite codes.
* More posts about people talking about their experiences on DW, how they find things to be, things they like, things they don't like, ad nauseum

Additionally, some people will start cross posting from their LJs to DW, and if they're using the built in cross poster, they might do things like disable comments on LJ and redirect them to DW.