The webcomics blog about webcomics

And They Call it Syndication

Today, I would like to chat a little bit more about Livejournal and its role in webcomics. I think Livejournal isn’t considered nearly enough by webcomic creators when they consider how they’d like their content to appear to their readers. There are some lazy readers out there, after all — and they like their webcomics to appear on their friends pages like they do in their daily newspaper.

This little feat is done with RSS feeds, and can only be created by a paid or permanent Livejournal account holder. (Creators do have control, but they have to take an active role in stopping the feed.) If the feed isn’t in the top 1000 on LJ, or isn’t advertised in the community, it’s nearly impossible to find. But each official or unofficial feed has people commenting. (Notice the icons in those comments. Bunny icon, Megatokyo icon, Calvin and Hobbes icon!)So, while comics may have forums, there’s discussion elsewhere, which is something that should be realized, if not looked at, or — if you’re just that cool and above your celebrity — interacted with.

Personally, I don’t use syndicated accounts to read my comics. Using Mozilla’s wonderful “open all tabs” I keep folders for each day of the week and just open them all at once… several times a day. (Sorry for the false hits, guys…) It means I don’t get to play the “first post!” game, or even interact with other fans… but I prefer my friends page free of clutter.


I use the quite fantastic Morning Coffee extension for Firefox. All my favourite comics are one click away, and I don’t even have to remember what day it is.

LiveJournal syndicated accounts are awesome, and for anyone who already has an RSS feed set up for their comic, there’s no reason not to have one. A sizeable portion of my audience uses my LJ feed to keep up to date with my comic. Not only that, LJ feeds are great advertising too, because everytime someone adds yours to their friends list, it exposes your work to a whole new group of people.

I use the Livejournal to ANNOUNCE new pages, and link to them, but not directly feed. I also use it in other ways…to have my character have more thoughtful moments, to reflect on society and culture, things her unique perspective would cause her to comment on—but make a very dull comic. So that way I can show another side to her, since it’s supposedly HERS. A good example is my entry today (link off the main page.)

Some thing I’ve noticed about the comics that only link to the page is a slight reluctance to make that click. It’s better than randomly opening the page (because I’m on dial-up and can’t put everything into an ‘open all tabs’) without knowing if there is anything new to see.

But I think Dinosaur Comics has one of the best feeds. It has the comic, it has bloginess beneath and, I’m fairly sure, it has an ad.

It’s the inclusion of a feed specific ad that I think could be the important part. I doin’t know a thing about ad revenue and such, but if you could tell people that you are putting an ad onto someone’s friendspage, wouldn’t that help offset the idea that you lose site hits?

Yirmumah has begun to notice the trend by including an icon for the latest comic. But most of his blogs are still off the feed.

I announce updates on my personal journal and on the snarkoleptics community that I mod. I also maintain a friends-only journal for works in progress and a LJ rss feed for Sinister Bedfellows.

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