My users differ from livejournal.com users in two main ways. First, they're the first users of this server, so they won't be able to do as much learning by copying and observing as livejournal.com users typically do. This suggests that the document should discuss high-level concepts and possible uses of the software more than lj.com docs might. Second, I'm trying to get them to use the software, rather than them finding it on their own and wanting to use it. This suggests that this document should be slightly promotional in nature - there should be a touch of "gee whiz, look at how cool this is."
Anyway, I'm writing this primarily for my users, but I expect it to be useful for other business intranet users, and possibly eventually for livejournal.com with some modifications.
INTRODUCTION This chapter describes what LiveJournal is, what it can be used for, and why you might want to use it. If you just want to get started, skip to chapter 2. WHAT IS A LIVEJOURNAL? A LiveJournal is, at the most basic level, a web page of timestamped entries. This is a very broad concept which covers many types of functionality. The LiveJournal system offers many tools which make authoring such pages easy, and adds powerful features for both personal productivity and collaboration. LiveJournal comes with client software which makes it easy for the owner of the journal, and any other authorized users, to author new entries. In fact, it's easier to add content to a LiveJournal than to add it to a text file or send it via email. LiveJournal entries have been described as "instant messages to the web" because of this extreme ease of use. The LiveJournal interface allows other users of the system to comment on entries, or on other comments, in threaded discussions. Users may choose to be notified via email of comments on their entries or on their comments. LiveJournal thus incorporates the functionality of traditional message boards. # modify when friend groups get a little more mature # modify when subscription allows email notification of updates; # LJ will then subsume the functionality of mailing lists LiveJournal also allows any user to "watch" any number of journals, and track updates to all of those journals on a single web page. This feature, the "friends view", allows users to precisely define what LiveJournal content they want to read and greatly increases the efficiency with which they can read it. # BUG: uh, write the "sophisticated robust full-text search # capabilities that I'm claiming LJ has ... While users are most often concerned with new and recent content, log entries never leave the LiveJournal system, and after months of use a substantial amount of recorded knowledge can accumulate. The interface to browse old entries in a journal is straightforward, and LiveJournal also provides sophisticated, robust full-text search capabilities to find information in any journal in the system. WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? LiveJournal can be used for a variety of applications, such as: - Work journals - for an individual to record what they're working on or scribble notes for future reference. - Project logs - for multiple members of a project team to record their work, post meeting minutes, and discuss ideas. - Announcement pages - for recording status updates to projects or systems on a single page, while notifying interested users. - Discussion boards - for brainstorming ideas or soliciting opinions with a group, in a persistent but nonintrusive medium. - Weblogs - for posting links to web content of interest to a particular group. Benefits of using LiveJournal include: - Enhances personal productivity by providing a convenient way to record notes in a searchable, web-accessible medium - Provides visibility between departments or geographically separate offices - Encourages communication by making it easy to share thoughts and comments - Encourages people to get knowledge out of their heads and notebooks and into a visible, searchable, central location - Provides more powerful tools for creating and accessing content than are available for ad-hoc log-structured web pages # BUG: this isn't true yet, brad's working on it - Reduces the amount of email people are flooded with, while still providing email notification for those who prefer it LiveJournal can be used effectively by a single person, and the system becomes more and more valuable as more people within an organization use it. # does this section belong here? elsewhere in doc? outside of doc? # how many comments? page views? those would be interesting stats. # do i need to shout out to more peeps? ABOUT LIVEJOURNAL The beginnings of LiveJournal were written in 1997 by Brad Fitzpatrick as a system for keeping a personal web journal. In 1999, Brad started LiveJournal.com, which offered the system as a no-cost (and ad-free!) service to the public. In April 2001 Brad placed LiveJournal under an open-source license, clearing the way for businesses to run private instances of LiveJournal on their internal networks, and for outside developers to customize and add features to the software. As of May 2001, LiveJournal.com has 115000 users, is growing at the rate of almost 1000 users per day, and has over 3.5 million journal entries in the database with over 10000 posts added every day.