I miss the days of LiveJournal. It's not LiveJournal itself I miss, but the dynamic of interaction offered by it.
Many of the newer social networks, Twitter, Facebook, and now Google+ have tended toward shorter and shorter posts. Twitter makes this a central feature with it's 140 character limit.While one can post longer posts in Facebook and Google+, the vast majority are short blurbs or link sharing. As the posts have become shorter and shorter, the sense of engagement with people seems to drop precipitously. After a while, it feels less like interaction, and more like advertising. The networks don't seem to help this -- Klout scores and auto-generated "Top Stories" create a stupid game of who-has-the-best-cat-macro.
I'm not about to suggest that these things are terrible, or unwarrented, or that they don't have a place in today's Internet. Quite the contrary. Twitter has been particularly useful as a light-weight method of sharing blurbs that wouldn't have made for a blog post of any length.
My problem is how noisy it all feels. The short length encouraged by the main social networks breeds quantity. This quantity breeds habitual checking for new content. After all, new tweets can be posted at any time. Mix in accounts that link back to blog posts, and now you have an impressive method of syphoning attention. Soon, every free moment is spent bringing yourself up to date.
Yet, for all the effort and time, the sense of engagement -- at least for me -- is frightfully low. In other words, I often find what I put in, doesn't repay satisfactorily. More significant is the nervous twitchiness that results from this constant flood of bite-sized interactions. Instead of thinking or reflecting, it's becomes all about semi-conscious utterunces and signal-boosting. One blurb leads to another, and another, and soon you find yourself exhausted several hours later.