Bunches of people have asked me about this, and it’s nowhere to be found in the LiveJournal documentation…. so here goes.
Visit the LJ Syndication Center. You’ll see a list of the most popular syndication feeds, as well as any you might be subscribing to at the top. The “unit cost” is also explained up there—basically, the more people reading a feed, the lower the cost, as it gets distributed among all its readers.
At the bottom of this page, you’ll see something called “Add Other Feed.” If a blog you want to read isn’t in the top 20, you can paste its RSS address here and subscribe to it. If that blog already has a LiveJournal account, it’ll be added to your friends list. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a new LJ account for it by giving it a unique username—and to do this you must be a paying LJ user.
Why? Free LJ users—which is most people—get 0.99 units to spend on syndicated blogs. Starting a new one costs 1 unit. This means that only paying users can start a new feed. It has been pointed out to the LJ staff that this is dumb, and that if you can get more than one person interested in a new feed, the startup cost should be shared…. but they haven’t figured out how to implement that yet, so we’re stuck with this method for now.
So. How did I do it? Using my old account, I coughed up the $5 to be a paying LJ user for two months. This got me 10 syndication units, which I promptly used to create 5 new feeds for myself and some friends. Those of you who can subtract are thinking “hey, she’s got five units left!” Well, actually I have 7.42 units at the moment. All of the feeds I’ve started have several subscribers now, so the unit cost has gone down. In effect, I’ve been reimbursed.
Since each new feed must have a unique user ID, you can’t convert an old, unused LJ account to a syndication one. (Darn the luck.) Once you think up your new user ID, paste your RSS/RDF/XML/”Syndicate this site” URL from your MT blog into the “Add Other Feed” box and hit the submit button. You have just added your MT blog to your own LJ Friends list. Click on your new user ID to get the URL of your new LJ feed. This is what you’ll hand out to friends, and what you’ll want to put somewhere in your MT blog’s sidebar to let people know that they can add you to their friends lists. As soon as they start doing that, you’ll see your unit cost go down.
Check out the LJ_Syndication blog for news (and a lot of newbie questions) on syndicated feeds. (I see that the feeds are broken at the moment. What joy.) The News blog mentions syndication whenever something interesting happens, and that’s where I found the single post that (kinda, almost, not really) explained to me how this works.