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Research Report by Vanessa Silvas

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Research Report: Live Journal as a Modern Source for Blogging the Canterbury Tales


By Vanessa SilvasTimeline Project 





Live Journal is an online blogging/journal site.  According to the creators of Live Journal, the site "lets you express yourself, share your life and connect with friends online."  Users can blog their latest thoughts, photos, etc.  Live Journal also includes a link to the user's profile page.  The profile page includes a brief bio of the user as well as their interest, friends, and contact information.  Users can receive recent updates through text messaging notifications of updates to their friends' blogs.  Although Live Journal offers a paid subscription, users also have the option of a free basic subscription.  




After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle, Brad Fitzpatrick created Live Journal in 1999.  Fitzpatrick wanted to create an on-line journal that would be available for friends to view and leave feedback to the author.  Through his previous site, Danga, Fitzpatrick was able to create the software used for Live Journal today.  Live Journal soon became popular and even won a Webby Award.  Similar to today's Wiki site, Live Journal is run by contributions from its users.  Users can send suggestions to "senior staff" who monitor the site to improve the performance of  the site.  Although the senior staff might appear as a managerial group, each staff member has their own Live Journal account, therefore allowing them to also be members of the site.  Live Journal also works closely with Six Apart, a company which assists blogging sites to make their sites "faster and easier."  


With a blog on Live Journal users have several options.  First to create a Live Journal users must create a user name.  Most users choose a name that describes who they are, such as "johnnylovescash" or "sandpiper764."  With Live Journal, users can blog anything they want at any time they want.  With text messaging blogs available, a user can be visiting the Grand Canyon writing a blog about their experience then send it to Live Journal using their iPhone.  If the user finds himself or herself captivated at the site of the Grand Canyon, unable to take their eyes off the site, they can always send an audio/voice entry to Live Journal operators.  And if the user wants to upload pictures from their phone to Live Journal all that they have to do is send a picture message from their phone to Live Journal.  Users can also receive text message notifications of who commented what on their page as well as new blogs posted by their friends.  Below is an example of a user blog page:



Users can add friends on Live Journal by joining one of its many communities.  These communities are built by users who share common interest.  Live Journal community interest include anything from losing weight, university student blogs, Playstation, to Brisneyland (a community for people who have traveled to and love Brisbane, Australia).  Users are also not limited to joining just one community.  In fact, most users are members of several different communities. 


User profiles are also a great way for other users to get a sense of who the user is.  Profiles include a picture of the user, which necessarily does not have to be an actual photograph of the user, but a statue or graphic the user has created.  Profiles also include a brief biography of the user.  The biography section allows the author to explain in text who they are rather than having their viewers simply judge them off of their profile picture or the background page of their blog.  Similar to sites like MySpace and Facebook, Live Journal has a section on the profile template which displays the user's friends and links to their pages, as well as communities the users is a member of, the user's interest, schools, last update, and the amount of journal entries the user has written.  Below is an example of a user profile page: 


Not only is Live Journal a blogging site, but also a networking site as users have the ability to create various opportunities for themselves based off of the friendships they build through the site. 




In relation to the Timeline Project I am a part of, Live Journal works well with a modern timeline of the modernization of the Canterbury Tales, our team seeks to create.  For example, both share many similar elements.  Live Journal requests that its users create a user name.  In the Canterbury Tales  each pilgrim is given a title, which describes who they are, such as the Miller or Nun's Priest.  The General Prologue, like the user profile pages of Live Journal, serves to give a brief description of who each person is.  


The beginning of the Canterbury Tales serves as a competition, which on the surface appears to be a vehicle for entertainment as the pilgrims travel to Canterbury.  What the pilgrims do not realize is that their pilgrimage has brought together people with a variety of beliefs and class levels.  Would someone like the Miller and the Prioress ever be joined together in any other circumstance?  Similarly, Live Journal brings together different people from around the world.  Like the pilgrimage to Canterbury, Live Journal serves as a place of connection for all of its users.  


Although there are links that appear between Live Journal and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, some problems may arise as our group will be creating false blogs/profile pages for each character.  It will be important for our group to make sure that we save each page that we create in case Live Journal has concerns with our pages and decides at the most extremity to delete them.  Because Live Journal is user-based, the chances that our pages will be deleted is low, but we will again create back up pages to avoid any problems.   


Resources for Further Study


Danga.  Danga Interactive.  2008.  20 February 2008.  http://danga.com/ 


Live Journal.  Welcome to Live Journal.  2008.  20 February 2008.  http://www.livejournal.com/


Six Apart.  Personal and Professional Blogging Solutions.  2008.  http://sixapart.com/  











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