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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Monday (1/18/16) 8:13pm - ... wherein Peter considers wandering away to WordPress.

Executive Summary:
I'd like to migrate my blog from livejournal to WordPress.  But I want three levels of privacy: "posts only I can see", "posts everybody can see", and "posts only a set of users that I choose can see".  Is this possible?  If so, how much time/effort/money would it take to set up?

Longer Version:
Ah, livejournal.  The 'friendster' of blogging platforms.  I've kept a blog there since 2004, and it's now approaching 4,000 posts.  If livejournal were a kid, it would now be old enough for college, but the platform's kept working in a perfectly cromulent way, for the most part.  But now I'm finally hitting the limits of this doddering old platform.  Its archiving app hasn't been updated for a couple of years, and doesn't seem to work on anything newer than Windows 7.  Nobody is willing to sign up for livejournal any more (not even to make an identity account), so I can't use its privacy features to make lj posts that only my friends can see.  RSS readers don't seem to play nice with lj feeds, ignoring new locked posts.  So I'd like to migrate the content to something new and generally well-supported.

As far as I can tell, the current de rigueur blogging platform is WordPress.  WordPress seems to be supported by lots of blogging client apps.  I'm assuming there are good solutions for backup/archiving a WordPress site, and there are reasonable tools for searching all of my blogposts (including private ones).  And it also has an automated feature for importing livejournal posts, so theoretically I can push all 4,000-odd posts to a new blog without lifting a finger.  (Plus, hey, it would be handy for my career if I could learn, and demonstrate, basic familiarity with WordPress.)

Right now, when I put up a private post, I actually post it to livejournal (as a locked post) *and* to WordPress (behind a password).  Then I post to facebook with the WordPress link and the password, and my friends can now see the post.  But if my friends want to see my *old* private posts -- say, catching up on my last few weeks of weekly updates -- then they're out of luck (unless they want to sign up for a livejournal account, which is really not that difficult at all).  And honestly, entering different passwords all the time is probably already a hassle for most people to do -- and hell, it's a slight hassle for me to set up in the first place.

So if I migrate to WordPress, it handily solves one problem: I don't have to double-post any more.  But it would be ideal if I didn't have to use all these annoying passwords, either.  Unfortuantely, WordPress only has three native levels of posts: "posts only I can see", "posts everybody can see", and "posts behind a password".  What I want is to say "these are posts that *this particular set of WordPress users* can see".  Ideally, somebody could log into my blog once, or into WordPress once, and be set for viewing all my private posts for a while.

Surely there's some way to do this with WordPress.  There is a privacy plugin for WordPress, but it hasn't been updated in over two years.  There's a more-frequently-updated plugin, but it only does site-wide security.  This "social privacy" plugin seems to provide the full functionality that I need -- maybe I should go with that?

But, if I'm going to add a custom plugin to my blog, this means I can't use a free WordPress blog.  So now I'm either paying for WordPress hosting somewhere, or paying for my own hosting and then maintaining my own WordPress site on that.  I'm not sure how much the costs compare on those, or how much of a hassle maintaining a WordPress site is, or how difficult it is to get a WordPress host to let me use the plugins I want.

And as far as ease of accessing my blog goes, I don't know if this really solves any problems.  Many facebook users can't even be bothered to click a link to a blog, let alone set up an account there.  And frankly, if nobody's been willing to set up a livejournal account so that they can easily access my writing, I doubt they'll set up a WordPress account to do the same.

But in the end, it would feel good, psychologically, to move away from the ghost town that is livejournal, and to move over to something actively maintained.  To that end, I guess I have these questions for any WordPress mavens out there:

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[User Picture]
Date:Monday (1/18/16) 8:46pm
Noooooo it would be so lonely here!

It sounds like this isn't one of the major factors, but I wrote a script to archive your LJ posts. You can run it through a website which may or may not still work at https://gregstoll.com/secure/ljbackup/ (ignore the scary certificate warning; terrible, right?) or download the script linked to from that page and run it yourself. (here's a backup of my LJ)
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[User Picture]
Date:Tuesday (1/19/16) 1:07pm
Oh, no worries -- I'm probably too lazy to actually do anything about blog-migrating.

Thanks for the tool!
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