macheide (macheide) wrote in odiots,

Contact Optional

Because I tend to be reclusive for much of what I do, one of the very first things I almost always do when I set up a new LiveJournal account (which happens quite regularly for me) is to head immediately over to edit my user profile --- "Your Settings / Personal Info" in the lefthand navigation bar --- and in the section with "Privacy Options," I unclick the box next to "Show your contact information on your LiveJournal." After saving that new profile setting, the e-mail address I use for setting up the LiveJournal account no longer displays on my new journal's profile page.

Yeah, you can't be at LiveJournal for as long as I've been without being saturated with the knowledge that LiveJournal is as much if not more a community as it is an individual journalling tool. so yes, I do agree with what LiveJournal advises on that profile editing page --- that you should consider listing your e-mail address so that others can know how to reach you. OK, and I can always go back at any point and set the checkbox back to displaying my e-mail easily enough.

This might seem a small feature once I get my butt back in gear and get around to writing more about all of the gigantic differences between LiveJournal and this odiot's original journalling host site. But even for this one seemingly trivial thing, LiveJournal shows the distinction between the real thing and a sad, sorry pretender. First off, here at LiveJournal, the journalists who make up the true value of the site are given their due respect: we are allowed to make the choice ourselves regarding whether and how we want contact information handed out. At that other website, for years the odgods made the decision for you, threatening to delete your entire journal if you so much as hinted at connecting your journal to a real name or contact point.

Even after the absurdity of that odiotic position and allowed odiots to display e-mail contacts, the odgods' eternal lack of respect for its own stable of writers left odiots with no site-hosted tools for handling the contact information. Bringing us to one illustration where the LiveJournal feature shows its superiority over odiotland's simple display of contact information. In the search box near the upper right of standard LiveJournal screens, enter "" and select "Email" in the selection dropdown box to the right of that entry. when you click the search button with that, it takes you to the journal that carries that e-mail address (in the case of this example, the main journal for the creator of LiveJournal). And if you did go there, you could have come back to this journal by searching for the e-mail address "" (as in, guess who and where). Want to try finding someone by e-mail address at that other website? Can't be done.

But now if you made your journal's profile so that your e-mail does not show, go back and review your privacy options more carefully. Not only can you switch on or off whether your e-mail address will display, but you can get selective in who gets to see it if you do display it, at least in terms of the group you define as "friends" within the LiveJournal community. You can also choose to display your e-mail in a way that will convey the information to real journal readers without throwing the e-mail address into the nearest spambot's hopper.

And there's more! LiveJournal thrives on community contact in ways that the odgods never dared dream, so you'll see other contact features in the profile settings. But more on that in a subsequent post.
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