Three years on, and I’m still beating the Xanga horse.

Another Xanga post? Again… I hear you not asking because, well, you probably didn’t mumble it when reading my post title. But, regardless, I’m writing another Xanga post. Hey, it’s been a while since the last one.

An observation I had made early on, so early I don’t feel like digging out the link right now, was that with Joel/”Edlives” (Xanga’s “Community Liaison”) working on getting his brainchild website, Autisable, off of the Xanga servers, and make it a completely separate entity from Xanga, that he had a bit of self interest going on with making sure Xanga didn’t just die off and disappear from the face of the earth… that is, until he was able to get his hands on Autisable free and clear.

It’s been nearly 3 months since the Autisable deal was completed on August 6th, or at least, when it was announced as having been completed on the “Official” Xanga Facebook page. Since then, Joel’s not exactly been as forthcoming with the Xanga Updates. Not that there is much to update on considering the Xanga Team has been absolutely silent for well a rather long time now. A matter of years, actually, since their most recent post on February 11, 2015. Now, most Xanga users (all probably six of them outside of Joel himself) do check the Edlives Xanga for updates. Everyone else checks Facebook for updates. Joel himself hasn’t exactly kept up with his own Xanga blog – the last post as I am sitting here right now is from August 31st of this year. Monday, it will be 2 months since he’s posted anything to it.

It’s almost as if, gasp, my observation that once he got what he wanted from Xanga, everyone else can sit and spin. Wow, imagine that.

There is, of course, things to take into account. Such as a new job he got months back, and now he’s got Autisable to run, and he’s a parent to a special needs child (which is something I can easily relate to) so yeah, not updating his Xanga or the FB page outside of a few minor updates – taken into account. But at this time, with how busy his life is, how much he’s got going on now compared to when he became the Community Liaison for Xanga, does he even have time for it now?

The way he currently handles the role, oh absolutely because it doesn’t really entail anything other than being a public face what’s left of the community can come to for information – of which he has absolutely none. And to handle the “omg where’s my blog!” comments on Facebook with a simple “Just email Eugenia” response.

Now, what someone in his position SHOULD do has been stated many times before, but to summarize he’s meant to act on behalf of the community, dying as it is, with the Xanga Team. NOT to just be a buffer of criticism. If he fulfilled the role as it needs to be done, he would not have time for it and all the other, clearly more important things going on in his life.

But… I will say this. It’s awfully suspicious, but completely obvious this was going to be the result, that he’s tapered off using Xanga at all now that his brainchild, Autisable, has been made a reality. It seems as if he’s got no further use for Xanga now, and no need to champion for its survival. In previous posts of his, he admitted that a bulk of the Team’s time and efforts were being spent on HIS project, and was the most likely cause of any delay concerning Xanga proper. One must wonder now in hindsight… had Autisable remained with Xanga, or rather had the process of separation not begun until now, 3 years after Xanga 2.0’s release… would we be seeing the features and the progress 2.0 promised within this time frame? Would all of that time and energy that had been diverted into the Autisable separation been funneled back into Xanga, to actually work on the parent site?

Time, as it has been doing, will tell. Though I would not be surprised to discover my next post on the subject will entail the closure of Xanga in its entirety… now that there’s no reason for anyone to champion it’s continued existence.

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Ghosts of the Irrelevant

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Today marks 1 year since The Xanga Team updated their blog. It has been 1 year since and real news of Xanga’s fate was imparted to what is left of it’s user base. From what I have seen, more and more people are turning to other blogging platforms. Abandoning ship. Creating new accounts is still impossible. Renewing subscriptions is becoming harder and harder as more people find their accounts have lapsed, and must jump through the multiple hoops once again.

Though the collective employees at Xanga refuse to admit defeat, or rather, refuse to shed any light on anything, and their sole community voice continues to offer only platitudes and “Email Eugenia” answers, former users looking must ask the question that has been asked since the beginning….

Why? Why continue rattling those old bones about when there is none left to sustain it? With the Ghost of Xanga’s food source down to stale crumbs in the bottom of the cereal box, why does it continue on? Why does it not allow nature to take it’s course, and move on?

Xanga, the dream has died. There is no magic flame, there is no mystical cure, there is nothing left. Xanga is now simply a fading dream, a memory of carefree days and youthful indiscretions.

I have come to the conclusion that there will never be an answer. We have transcended from “Why did Xanga fail” to “Why does it persist”. It is not a phoenix waiting to rise from the ashes, because it refuses to allow itself to burn. I think I know the answer. The one no one wishes to admit.

Xanga Team are afraid. Afraid to admit failure. I get that. I truly do. But all things must eventually come to an end.

I’m sorry, but Xanga is dead, and it will never come back. We, the users both past and present, need to let it go. It needs to be allowed to wither and to meet the natural death it has staved off for so long. The promise of a rebirth was hollow. An empty promise, like all the others. And folks, I take no pleasure in saying “I told you so” but there it is.

All that remains is a zombie. An empty shell of what was with an undying cry upon it’s lips of what might have been. The user base had the chance to end this. The Xanga Team had the chance to end this. No one took it. Now it sits in website zombie limbo. Lingering. Shuffling. But never dying so long as people keep paying for those paid accounts. But here’s the thing… When the moment comes, and the expenses once again outweigh the income coming in… will someone finally don the chainsaw? Will someone finally pull out the boomstick, and put it out of it’s misery? When the opportunity comes around again, will Xanga’s champions still be standing at the edge of the abyss, refusing to let it fall? Many of those who championed for the fundraiser, who bought and paid for subscriptions for their friends and loved ones to ensure Xanga would not fail… most of them are now gone.

They’ve moved on to bigger and better platforms, or, simply scattered their blog’s ashes to the wind and closed that chapter of their lives. With social media taking the forefront of communication and connectivity, having both features unique to it’s medium but also allowing for the integration of the old, is there truly any point in turning back and rallying the troops one more time for a dying king? Are they going to back the decaying website when that same website’s staff lied and abused their position for monetary gain?

I don’t think they will, and their loyal champions are, at best, now down to a single user. That user is Joel, AKA “Edlives”, and even he has migrated his project off of Xanga, away from it’s decaying fingers. Even with his initial conflict of interest, now there is little reason for even him to continue to carry the Xanga flag into battle… But he will. Because he is loyal. He has a job to do, though he’s very bad at it, he will continue to do it until there is no website staff for him to liason with. But the problem here folks… is there a community remaining to listen and acknowledge the invisible gods on high when, or if they ever speak again?

As it faded into irrelevancy in the face of newer, better, more functional and easier systems, it refused to go gentle into that good night, and those who raised the funds to ensure it’s continued survival did not realize at the time they had been had. And now… Now the villages have been emptied, save for a few who refuse to leave. But eventually… they will run out of money.

And then, the time will come when music must be faced and facts must be acknowledged.

Xanga has failed. Xanga is dead. And the remaining users?… The remaining users will have to face the reality that the dream is gone. And will need to let it go, and fade into the memory it, and so many other websites before it, is destined to be.

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Is this a death rattle for Xanga?

Xanga’s unpaid volunteer community “liaison” (and I use that word very loosely) posted a few days ago.

edlives1I boxed in 2 particular points of interest in the post here in my screencap. Firstly…

edlives2This is, of course, no surprise to anyone still using the blogging service, and those of us who have kept an eye on the (lack of) progress thus far with the Xanga upgrade.

But here is something I find particularly telling of what might just be Xanga’s death rattle…

edlives3Now, here’s the problem I have with this. For over 2 years now, Edlives/Joel has been touting that Xanga is the best. Xanga has better security. Xanga far exceeds all other blogging services and websites of it’s kind. That it’s even better and more functional than the free WordPress. And yet… Well there it is in his own words. He’s trying to transition Autisable OFF of Xanga. Why? For someone who has been the outspoken champion of these people for over 2 years, why make this move?… Especially after admitting that he’s had them focus on Autisable long enough to actually take attention and time away from what they should be doing with Xanga. It doesn’t make sense. Has the unofficial spokesperson lost confidence in the team and product he has defended since before the end of Xanga 1 finally had enough, or he just knows that business wise Xanga is a failure and is trying to protect what little he has accomplished? After all, if Xanga goes down and Autisable is still part of it, Autisable goes down with the ship. But if Autisable is separated and becomes it’s own entity, then all that work is saved and the only risk Edlives/Joel is making is that of his personal blog, which let’s face it since the launch of Autisable the personal blog has been severely lacking in updates. Not saying we need to know every intimate detail of his life. Far from it. But the updates are nowhere near the level they were, even given his busy schedule. Is the “liaison” losing confidence as well?

Only time will tell.

…..Xanga. (Or… The Social Media Zombie That Just Won’t Go Down)

Two years ago, Xanga, a ship desperately trying to use a tiny bucket to bail water out of a sinking ship with holes the size of Australia, was in it’s final death throes unless it could raise $60,000 (which was later dropped to $50,000 because one of the people who couldn’t even pay a single penny suddenly miraculously came up with $10,000 to chip in with). Some, at the time, compared Xanga to the Titanic.  I’ve blogged about Xanga’s downfall before. This is not that post. This is a post about the [lack of] recent events.

See, there’s this liason named Joel, aka “edlives”. IRL I’m sure he’s probably a really great guy. He’s a dad, has an autistic kid (and believe me, I understand that one from a brand new perspective from the me of 2 1/2 years ago), and currently is unemployed. He’s got this big project that began on Xanga (Autisable, for anyone who’s interested. It’s a blog about autism, and they’ve just started doing a video series) and I can understand the reason for brand loyalty. He spent so much of his own personal time and effort on that project, and losing your webhost is NEVER easy, especially when years an years worth of data is in limbo and risks becoming lost. However, here’s where I see a potential problem…

There may have been a conflict of interest going on.

See, as I said, Mr. Joel is the Xanga liaison, and he’s unemployed. He doesn’t get paid, he’s a volunteer. He’s also the ONLY point of legitimate contact between the remaining Xanga userbase and The Xanga Team.  The only other point of contact is a help page that is hit and miss and constantly filled with users complaints – the majority of which are to do with either getting their old blogs, deleting their accounts, problems with the archives they’ve managed to get hold of, and sudden deactivation of their accounts despite having paid for a full year. Let’s not forget the reactivation of accounts that could take up to 2 months to get done, and trust me, users who have this happen to them don’t get those 2 months of blogging back. They pay for 12 months, only get 10, and then their account is deactivated because it’s time to pay up again for another 12 months… which makes the user confused because they were expecting the 12 months to kick in when the account was activated, and are caught off guard when it’s centered around the original date of that first payment.

Anyway, so there’s all these issues on the help page, and nobody can get legitimate answers because the ONE person, Eugenia, is so bogged down or otherwise busy (this is also a constant problem, as in all of this time excuses have been made for her absences, and there is NO ONE ELSE who takes over for her when they happen), that it takes months and months to get an answer at times via e-mail from her.

So, the only other point of contact is Mr. Joel… who’s been working on getting Autisable back in operation. As liaison, and as someone in DIRECT CONTACT with The Xanga Team, I think you can see how this can be perceived as a problem for the average Xanga user. While this may not be the situation, it does appear that Xanga Team has played favorites, and spent far too much time on a single project rather than doing their actual jobs – getting Xanga 2.0 up and running again.

Joel, again an unpaid volunteer, has a vested interest in Xanga’s survival. As liaison, he’s been lambasted from all sides by naysayers, former Xangans who keep tabs on things in the hopes that they will be able to turn back to the service, and users who become increasingly disappointed by the service.

I’m gonna take this time to point out that literally the only reason Joel is the liaison is because anyone who was actually qualified for the job pretty much washed their hands of the site and moved on from Xanga, already seeing that it was not salvageable. So Xanga was rather desperate for someone to do this job and played the “we can’t pay you because we’re broke” card. Joel stepped up to bat and filled the slot, and honestly has done a very lackluster job of it this entire time.

One user, who was an early immigrant to WordPress, Soullfire, has been from what I can see the most vocal about the problems Xanga faces, and has been championing for the users for quite a long time. Time and time again he has pointed out the continued issues, the fact that Xanga promised a service and have yet to deliver despite 2 full years of time, and has repeatedly been told that his concerns will/have been passed on to John (John Hiller). There are 2 standard responses I have observed over 2 years of time that users who turn to Joel receive:

  1. Their concerns have been passed on to John, and now Joel waits for answers. (Problem – the answers either never come, or the answers are never passed back to the users.)
  2. Joel completely agrees with the user’s concerns, says they’ve been passed on to John, and then blames the user for not being proactive and volunteering to help rebuild Xanga. (This is straight up VICTIM BLAMING, and it is NOT OKAY in any situation.)

Recently, a third type of answer has popped up. Joel just completely agreeing. No statement about passing on the user’s concerns, no victim blaming. Just… agreement. Here’s the thing though. When your comment is reassuring that Joel is at absolutely no fault whatsoever because he’s the liaison and isn’t accountable for anything at all, he happily agrees and thanks you for the encouragement. However, if you make the same exact points, and don’t constantly reassure him, then you get something a bit more. He’ll agree, but he’ll also go on this long diatribe about how he agrees and understands and sympathizes, but he’ll also take any criticism of his role in the process as an attack. The more direct someone is about the issues, the more he feels it’s an attack. And it will go on and on until finally he’ll get in his last word about how it’s been passed along, he understands and agrees. This tactic I’ve seen many times in internet debates and conversations. The “Fine, I agree with you, now will you stop and go away”, even if it’s legitimately a debate about an issue and not a back-and-forth argument.

Regardless, he’s more of a PR type of person rather than a liaison. A liaison represents the interests of both parties, not just the one. From Joel, over a period of 2 years, there have been nothing but excuses from him on behalf of the Xanga company. Both on his personal blog, where people are forced to come for ANY news about what’s going on with Xanga (btw, that’s a shady as hell tactic to drive up web traffic, just so people know) and on the official Facebook page that guess what, Joel also runs. Often people who turn to the FB page have ALREADY EXHAUSTED all other avenues of communication, and have ALREADY been having to deal with Eugenia over a period of weeks and months, with no success. Guess what people who turn to the FB page are told?

E-mail Eugenia.

Yes. Email Eugenia… who has already failed to solve the problem, hence why people are turning to the next open channel of communication: the FB page run by a volunteer who’s gotten preferential treatment from the Xanga company and has been their top cheerleader from the beginning of this long 2 years of digital wasteland.

Xanga just needs to toss in the towel already. Just lay down, accept defeat, and move on. It’s a relic. A derelict ship with less than a skeleton crew that pillages it’s users and refuses to give them the features and tools they need to connect to one another again. Why is that, anyway? Are they afraid that if the community were to be rebuilt, and people started to tell one another of their experiences on Xanga 2.0 they might realize they’ve been royally fucked from the start and mutiny?

Currently Xanga’s Alexa rating is 61,360. It has FALLEN 12,663 ranks in the last 3 months. The numbers, unlike The Xanga Team and by extension Joel himself as their official volunteer liaison, don’t lie. Xanga is dying a long, slow death like Boramir in Fellowship of the Ring, and planet Namek on Dragonball Z.

I would also like to point out something that’s been bothering me for quite some months now. Joel has discussed a few times now that Xanga 2.0’s security features are superior to those of the Free WordPress. Yet, he does not state HOW they are superior. I would like to point out that Xanga has a Xangalock feature, which only allows people signed into to Xanga to see a blog, and even then, you’ve got to find the ruddy thing AND be approved for viewing by the blog owner.

This is IDENTICAL to how the Private security setting of a Free WordPress blog works. I know, I’ve been on both sides of that setting. One of my favorite blogs to read uses that setting pretty much as standard. But the Private setting takes it a step further. It puts control of who can see your blog directly into the hands of the blog owner by using an invite system. The blog owner MUST SPECIFICALLY INVITE YOU to view their blog in order to see the private posts. You don’t get that feature on Xanga.

There is also an additional feature on Free WordPress that allows a blog owner to password protect the posts. One must have the password to be able to view or comment on anything. This password, again, must be given to you by the blog owner.

These 2 different security features are JUST AS EFFECTIVE as the Xangalock feature. However, they are user friendly and more easily navigated by BOTH blog owner and blog viewer.

I would also like to point out, these VERY SAME WORDPRESS FEATURES are also available on Tumblr, another popular blogging platform that is far easier to use than most, and boasts features that even a 12 year old or a 60 year old can navigate and use with absolutely NO experience on ANY social media whatsoever. The UI is self explanatory, just as with Free WordPress (though the UI is completely different, they each are very straightforward in their use) and is completely 100% FREE. ALL other blogging sites ALSO offer the feature of owning/running/writing multiple blogs WITHOUT having to sign up for multiple accounts and having to have a different e-mail address for each individual one, something Xanga NEVER had.

This has been the old Xanga user Kamikaze_Zealot, weighing in on that old blogging relic yet again.

I leave you with this screenshot, taken this morning, of the wonderful latest update from The Xanga Team.

xangaXanga is a social media relic. A zombie that no matter how many times you bash it’s skull in, it just will not lay down and die.

EDIT: 8/16/15 – 12:27AM: Soullfire is a man. Pronouns changed accordingly. (Sidenote: Sorry mate!)

Poetry Time: An Ode to Xanga

I wrote this in October 2009 on my old Xanga blog.

Trying to be different
I become the same
Reaching for infinity
I find nothing but mundane
I look behind at my road
And see naught but the drama and mold

Turning now I look ahead
And my heart flutters with dread
I don’t know what’s before me
But with jaded thoughts I find
My gears are a different kind
Compressed forms of cosmic dust
Unlike yours mine do not rust

I stop and a I take a seat
For infinity I must yet meet
And to get there I must stop and rest
And oh I look upon you all in jest
Fifteen minutes fame you other Xangans crave
Obsessive posting makes you Drama’s slave

I sit back and watch at those who complain
And know that it is they who have become mundane
For being different never really works
When you’re not the only one casting fireworks
So piss and moan all you drama whores
Stuck behind your closed windows and your doors

While I get back up and take a step
Into fresh air and daylight
Because I’ve a life to live and miles to go
And such requires I turn off the screen
But should I crave dribblings of those who speak but will never actually do
I shall return and search thine pages to read through
(But only after it’s been ages)

Hello hello to all my former Xangans out there! Newsflash! Hong Kong still running on the 1.0 platform!

Xanga.HK is still running on the OLD xanga 1.0 platform. Not only that, but guess what folks – you know the main landing page they’ve been promising but never coming through with?

HONG KONG’S STILL GOT IT BABY! The posts on Xanga.hk homepage are as recent as Sept. 2014. I’ve marked out in red the important points here.

1. The xanga.hk web address is still active and still goes to a main landing page

2. on the right is the “join xanga” link. After testing, however, it is impossible for me to join.

3. The most recent post listed on the main splash page is from Sept. of this year.

hk1

Now then, that’s not quite all I’ve got. Three HK ISH sites are still active. Lovelyish, Datingish, and BLACKHK. Of the three, Lovelyish HK is the least active with the most recent post being done in April of this year. Next is BLACKHK with a post in September of this year. And then, there’s Datingish HK…

hk2

The most important thing about THIS one is that the most recent post was just this last week! Wed. October 29, 2014.

Now, here’s what I want to know….

If Xanga HK gets to keep the 1.0 platform, then why? What makes them so special?

Or is this a matter of they actually are in 2.0 and have the 1.0 features that were promised to everyone else but nobody’s getting OUTSIDE of the Xanga HK branding? Clearly the embargo on gaining new members is in effect for them as well.

Why this anomaly? Why is the HK side of things still seemingly operational when everyone else outside of the HK branding has to suffer?

I call Bullshit, Xanga.