synecdochic is on my Friends list, so I've been following the development of Dreamwidth with interest for quite some time now. I've logged in to the closed beta Dreamwidth site with a verified Open ID account and taken a bit of a look around. I haven't asked anyone for an invitation; it's just not something I'm wired to do. Heck, I turned down unsolicited offers of LJ invites for well over a year before lsanderson simply sent me one without checking first.
Time will tell whether most or all of my friends list migrates over to Dreamwidth, and whether or not I do so myself. But the idea of the conversation moving somewhere seems utterly natural to me -- it's what the conversation has done since long before I was on the net. Before LJ, it was rasff, and pieces of it still are. Before rasff, there was the Well, and the SF Roundtable on Genie...or whatever it was. That was years before my time, but I remember how frequently friends would mention something that had happened there. It was the happening place, until the conversation moved on and suddenly it wasn't.
Before Genie, there were bulletin boards on Fidonet and Plato users and ARPANET/DARPANET...etc.... Way back in the Pleistone, there were paper apas, and there still are. They've mostly been supplanted by email lists and blogs in the greater scheme of things, but apas and fanzines still come in ink-on-paper formats as well as electronically thanks to eFanzines.com and Fanac.org.
Everyone has their preferred venues. There's also an abundance of complaints both valid and petty about the venues we use and the multitude of other communication and networking paths we have at the end of our fingertips. I expect the migratory pattern to continue for the next decade or two at least. Already, scores and more have migrated to Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Ustream video feeds from conventions with virtual consuites, and more. The conversation was going strong on Making Light back when it was pnh and tnh's separate blogs, and that pre-dates my LJ account IIRC. And just look at the readership and discussions over at John Scalzi's Whatever and at tor.com. One 10+ years old, the other still in its infancy.
Some of the old options are still around, valuable backwaters providing community and continuity. Some have vanished all together, and others are still around but have become little-used by the particular world wide communities I belong to. Remember Friendster? It's still there. When's the last time you heard a dozen people burbling about it in the same 2-3 week period? Minicon-L was a force of good before it turned utterly toxic to so many of its inhabitants and eventually met its demise. There are dozens of other examples I could cite, and that's just fan-friendly and fan-centric lists and venues I've participated in -- there are as many and more that I haven't.
Our options will expand and contract; it's the way of the world, and it's especially the way of a product life cycle in a rapidly-changing environment. My only expectation at this point is that we'll continue to use electronic means to communicate. The internet and the world wide web will continue to evolve. If and when they stop, they'll be replaced or overthrown by the next hot thing.
There have been and will continue to be growing pains. That, too, is the way of the world. But just as we marvel at the child prodigy and pin our hopes for the future on the youth of today, the internet is barely reaching young adulthood in terms of its place in the world. A hundred years from now, the net of 2009 may be viewed as a toddler, the "terrible twos" that people go through on our way to learning the world and how to be a civilized, contributing member of the human race.
I marvel at and treasure the multitude of ways the net has already transformed our ability to know, share with, and understand each other, to experience, know and understand the world. And I applaud all who work to improve it. Welcome, Dreamwidth. I wish you the best of success.