Can LiveJournal Keep Pace With Newer Social Media Startups?

With a new CEO at the helm, livejournal is on course for a major overhaul. But will the changes alienate loyal users?

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Earlier this year, Bebo began working on a strategy for its triumphant return, which may or may not be successful. In attempting to modernize Bebo released its first app, Blab, which was quickly undercut by Vine messaging. Now LiveJournal, another network from the earlier days of social networking, is planning a relaunch, with an app is in the works.

According to TechCrunch contributor Sarah Perez, LiveJournal hasn’t been completely abandoned. The site still attracts more than 60 million unique visitors per month, and there are 48 million active journals. The site has also been updated regularly since its launch. In fact, the last major redesign was in March of this year, but it seems that the service is due for more changes.

When former Google Play Merchandising Manager in Eastern Europe Katya Akudovich, became LiveJournal’s CEO in April 2014, she told TechCrunch that big developments were on the way under her leadership. “At Google, it was about bringing the right content in the right form to brand new Google Play markets. And this is exactly what we’re planning to do at LJ,” she said.

Given that LiveJournal already hosts a lot of long-format content, the company may hope to rival long-form blogging service Medium. “Our users generate an amazing amount of deep content – half a million long-form posts a day – these are not tweets, these are real long-form posts where people write some very interesting things,” Akudovich told Perez.

iOS and Android apps are reportedly on the way next month, and LiveJournal will keep privacy in sharp focus. LiveJournal “will remain anonymous and will never ask its users to identify themselves,” Akudovich noted.

Now that sufficient time has passed, and older social networks are seeing their once great services lag behind the new startups, the desire to reboot is strong. But given that services like MySpace and Bebo are trying their hardest, and maybe not doing so well, why inject all this effort?

It seems that LiveJournal’s current 60 million users are happy to frequent the service as it is. Pushing hard to bring an older service up to speed may just alienate fans, and be ultimately destructive to the brand you’re trying to save.