To a New LJ User

One of my friends just signed up for a LJ account.  No entries yet, so he’s not ready for a link.

However, he has encountered the great LJ information void that greets new users.  He was looking for a step-by-step guide, and feels a bit abandoned.  I’ve tried to remember the things I learned in the past month.  Additions and corrections are welcome!

Welcome to Live Journal!

Yes, the documentation is somewhat mysterious. Decoding it can feel like figuring out the secret handshake for a junior high school club.  On the other hand, once you’ve figured it out and done it, it is SO obvious.  Typical computer experience!

Manage Account Main Page is 
From there you can pick different things about your journal that you want to change.
Edit Personal Information  is a good link to take.  You change your real name, Journal Name, etc. from this page.  Half way down the edit personal information page there’s a link to upload your personal pictures.  I think the link takes you to  These are the pictures that appear along side your post.  BTW, the user pictures can be <=  100px by 100px. 
Customize Journal is the other BIG page (or maybe , I don’t know what’s generic and what you have to be logged on as a specific user to get.) 
Anyway, the Customize Journal page is where you choose your layouts (where and what stuff is on the page), the themes (what colors are used), and other customizations.  Depending on what layout you use, you can override a number of things — however, I don’t know exactly what options you have because I can see only the options that apply to my layout and theme!
Other fun pages is the page to add/subtract your friends: .  When you add someone as a friend, they may have software that alerts them that you’ve added them to your list.  This means you might want to have an entry up of your own before you add someone else — they are likely to check to see what’s on your blog!
A general help page/description of features can be divined by going through the LJ site map at . 
For extra credit
People have written and posted FREE programs that run on your PC that let you compose (and spell check!), save, edit, and otherwise manage your journal entries locally before uploading them.  You can set the program to save a copy of each journal on your hard disk, too.  I have looked at the four offered, downloaded two, and now use the one called Semagic.  That program lets me compose a journal entry in WYSIWYG mode and lets me toggle into HTML mode if I want to do something with non-standard options like add the horizonal rule (line) that is mid-way through this post.

Here’s more information on this PC client:
To download the program for your PC:
To download the spell check database that the program uses (you’ll want this):

For extra extra credit

Check out the LJ links fuzzygruf has posted.

Congratulations!  You’ll never need to have another private thought again.

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2 Responses to To a New LJ User

  1. fuzzygruf says:

    Good tips. I’ll have to save this post in my “memories” folder so I can refer to it later.

    A couple other tips:

    Once you add friends, click on “friends” for the friends view. This is where LJ starts to make sense, and where you’ll spend most of your time. Bookmark that page.

    Add yourself to your friends’ list. This way you can see how your post looks in the friends’ view. It’s easier to “catch” any mistakes when you see it there.

  2. ozdachs says:

    emails that the LJ FAQ was also valuable for him. The list is arranged by topics and updated frequently. (The one I just checked had been edited 1/31/2005!)

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