Anyway, looks like LJ is taking yet another step towards making us like other 'social networking' sites. Now, they've added the new "Explore LJ" area. Basically, they've chosen six categories of stuff that they think most people might be interested in: Culture, Entertainment, Life, Music, News & Politics and Technology. Then, recent public posts are analyzed electronically and then placed into the areas where they best fit, if there is indeed such an area. Not that this is any surety of a post really being relevant or useful or any damn good, or even on topic. I could probably fill a post with enough techie buzzwords or pop culture mentions to get it categorized and then post amputee scat porn, if I was so inclined. I'm betting this thing is up less than another week before they get a complaint about something.
They go out of their way to assure you that only public entries have the potential to be used like this, but, how nice, they give you a way to opt-out of the feature, on the ever-useful Viewing Options area (hint: it's "Explore Area Exclusion"). Nice of them to give you a way out, not so nice to not make this a hair more obvious. I'm not one of these people that scream that all features should be opt-in rather than opt-out, because I know most people don't bother reading the rules and fine print and thus don't even know things are around; trust them to turn it on, and it'll never get used. Still, a more general announcement would be nice, like using the e-mail notifications that they never fucking use.
As you'd expect, the staff will sometimes pick stuff on their own to drop in here, so you won't be free of their influence. plus, the page has the requisite "here's some completely random feeds and communities you just might like!" as well as "popular tags" and a "search by interests" area.
So, one step closer to trying to be a portal. As they put it, sometimes you've "updated your own journal, read all of your friends' posts, visited all your favorite communities, but are still looking for something more. It's not that you don't love the stuff already on your radar, but you want to branch outside of your comfort zone and find content that is not only new, but that actually appeals to you."
Yeah, it's called the rest of the damn Internet.