My life, uncensored

Student Derek Heafer stands at his computer updating his online journal with photos of himself and friends hanging out this summer.

‘It”s fun to get into people”s heads sometimes,’ said Heafer, or lophatjello as he has been known in the Live Journal world for the last year and a half.

And if that means letting people get into his head every once in a while, he is willing to make that sacrifice.

‘I think people are naturally curious about other people,’ Heafer said.
One of his photos is of a girl with thick-rimmed glasses and a lip ring. She is Libby Sterling, an art major at the University of Alaska Anchorage, who also keeps a blog. Behind her is a boy with a thick mop-like head of dark, curly hair.
Heafer”s caption below the photo reads, ‘*Snicker* ok class, raise your hand if you”re too emo. HA! Hilarity!!’

Emo (short for emotional) is a culture that arose out of the Washington, D.C. punk scene. The term was used to describe a more emotional style of punk music. But is now used to describe more than music. Emo is a style of dress and an attitude. It has become kind of a running joke that emo kids have Live Journals and Live Journal users are emo kids.

Heafer seems to be the first to jokingly admit to the emo qualities he and his friends possess. He is a junior Japanese major at UAA and host of ‘Arbitration of Exchange,’ a radio show on KRUA 88.1 F.M. He plays alternative, rock and punk music. His friends sometimes call his show the ‘Muse Hour,’ indicative of his favorite band from the United Kingdom.

‘It”s kind of funny, but between airtime and songs, is usually when I write my Live Journal,’ Heafer said.

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Blog communities allow people with similar interests like Heafer and Sterling, also a Muse fan, to find each other or become better friends. People post entries about anything from what they ate for breakfast to a link to their new favorite Web page. Then others can leave comments on their entries.

Though the fad fits right in with the emo culture, emo kids or kids with emo qualities aren”t the only ones who have discovered it”s advantages. People with popular political blogs were even given press passes to attend the Democratic National Convention as journalists, according to a USA Today article.

Whether a person”s interests are scarf collecting, politics or pro football, there is a blog friend out there somewhere who is on the same page.

‘I”ve met so many people through Live Journal, it”s really cool to be able to do searches for common interests and locations and stuff,’ Sterling said.

Sterling uses her journal to contact students at schools she is interested in attending.
‘It”s one thing to get info about a college from the college”s Web site, but it”s a lot better to get info directly from the students,’ Sterling said.

A hook for blog users is the ability to read about friends and strangers in an uncensored environment.

‘I think it”s in the same tier as all these reality shows. Real life is sometimes more fun and it”s something everyone can relate to,’ Heafer said.

Jennifer Millet, a criminal justice major at UAA, has had her journal for two years. Somewhere along the line she decided to make it friends only. She isn”t worried about strangers reading her journal, a confrontation with a family member initiated the change. Her cousin called her to talk to her about something she had read.

‘It didn”t ruin anything between us, but after that I got kind of paranoid, so I made it friends only,’ Millet said.

Millet”s friends list consists of her real life friends and friends she has met online. She says it”s often easier to meet people with common interests online than in real life.
‘Most of the people I meet online I consider a friend. As with any friend, I like hearing about what”s going on in their lives and what not.’

Heafer said the ability to get into people”s heads has allowed him to make better friends faster. Reading a person”s journal entries is an easy way to get to know them. He and Sterling don”t hang out that often but when they do they don”t have to spend a lot of time catching up.

‘That way when you meet them in person, you already know each other and you can skip the small talk and just hang out,’ he said.

Sterling laughs at the photos Heafer posted of them and other friends this summer. She left a comment to his journal entry.

‘Those are some great photos man.’


Aug. 31, 2004 How to start a blog

Creating a Web journal is easy and free. Just check out a blog Web site and follow the instructions. You”ll be ready to share stories, photos and links with friends and strangers in minutes. Here are some popular blog sites to check out: www.livejournal.com, www.blogger.com and www.diaryland.com.

Aug. 27, 2004 Blog Links

A laugh
Read the bio. You won”t find this seawolf riling up fans at the next UAA volleyball game.

A look at the latest
This Manhattan based blog keeps readers in the know with posts on the latest media, gossip, entertainment, fashion, etc.

A critical view
If you don”t think blogs are the best thing since the first D.C. punk screamed out ‘You”re emo!’ this site is for you. Enjoy.

A personal account
Salam Pax”s blog has made him an international celebrity. It is a war diary that describes the emotional pain caused by the attack on Baghdad. The journal was made into a book called, ‘Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi.’
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