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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.
sidewindersidewinder on May 13th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
You are welcome to go ahead and add them yourself. (It's a wiki, anyone can edit. Please do.)

While I'm an admin, I'm currently on editing/content-adding break except for important administrative issues until after MediaWestCon. And the more people outside of the admin staff and regular contributors who add to articles, the much better the perspective on various issues tends to be.