We want additional credibility and media attention, but we also want to make sure we get the right message across and target specific types of users. Right now, the one thing that makes LJ so interesting is our focus on community. It isn't a static, boring web logger, but it's an interactive online community. Are the people who use LiveJournal really representative of the average people using the Internet, however? I don't think so... There are certain key groups that seem to be present in LJ to a greater degree than on the big mainstream web sites. The unique demographics of LJ seem to be a big part of the key for why LiveJournal is so interesting.
These groups are:
Women - Currently, 58% of LiveJournal's users are women. This is a good thing and is quite rare for an online community. Personally, without getting heavily into gender and gender stereotypes, I think it encourages emotion-based content (interesting), helps foster an environment of acceptance, and provides sufficient peer pressure to reduce the excesses of jerks/creeps. ;)
Nerds - Yes nerds. Interesting nerds, at that. People who know and love technology, and who also tend to have very open, intellectually stimulating minds.
Artists - Well, maybe they aren't all artists, but they are artistic... and artistic journals are usually interesting journals. Artists also tend to be progressive thinkers and skilled creators. If people see great, artistic journals that function in creative ways, they will be inspired to be more artistic and creative themselves. Creativity is contagious, and helps to combat boring journals.
Alternative Lifestyles - A huge amount of people on LJ have what can only be called alternative lifestyles of one form or another. We have lots of people into just about every alternative category you can think of... name your sexual orientation/kink. It's all there. We also have communities for many of these categories which can be promoted. Do people like to go online and voyeuristically take a peek at such journals? Yup. Sex sells, especially on the Internet. Do these journals encourage an environment of acceptance where people can express their thoughts and ideas openly? Yes... that too.
International Users - Having different viewpoints is very important... and frankly, most non-Americans have different viewpoints than Americans. C'est bon. People also have an interest in faraway places and how people live across the world. We can give them a first-hand glimpse into the rest of the world.
In addition, I also want to attract more minority users to LiveJournal, if possible. Minorities are under-represented online, and LiveJournal has already had several cases of what could only be called racist journals and journal entries. I want to discourage this, of course, and I think the best way to do so is to encourage diversity. It's all too easy for people to blindly hate races, but it is harder to hate people... especially when they open themselves up to us, share their feelings, and reveal their essential humanity.
How will we get the press' attention? Here's my plan. I have requested Brad to create a room for the press. (No, don't look for it yet... it's not there.) It will contain a photo gallery, press releases, maybe some story ideas, a professional looking background document on LJ (a color .pdf document) and a place where either a press member or an LJ user could enter an e-mail address to be added to a press release mail list. (Duplicate submissions would be ignored.) This will allow LiveJournal volunteers to research press contacts and enter in their e-mail addresses, of course. People added to the list would initially receive an e-mail with the LJ backgrounder I mentioned attached to the e-mail. They could always opt off the list, of course.
What this press room will give us is effectively a shotgun, empowering LJ's users to contact the media around the world and generate a buzz. At the same time though, many of the e-mail addresses submitted will be submitted by volunteers that I will be targeting somewhat towards the groups mentioned above. That, combined with a message that is targeted to attract diverse groups of individuals, will get us the demographics that we want... ones similar to what we already have. We'll grow, yet stay much the same as we are today, and if any particular demographic becomes underrepresented, we could always retarget the message and the volunteers.
We have had several interested volunteers step forth to tackle the content we will need for this page. I will be working with them in the replies to this post to hammer out what we are going to do, what we are going to say, and how we will make it all work. Feel free to observe the replies, since most of them will hopefully be from the volunteers in question. You can post sparingly yourself if you have something important to contribute that will move us towards getting the press site completed, but please, don't overdo it. I make it a habit of replying to the great majority of my e-mail, but I don't want to have to spend a weekend dealing with hundreds of posts again anytime soon! ;-)