Free Online Journals
What They Can and Can't Do.
I imagine you have heard a book enthusiast talk about the possibility of books becoming obsolete because of the increasing access to technology but what about Free Online Journals? Kindles, Nooks, and readers of all varieties are now common place and technology makes it so convenient. I found out the other day that my local library can check out a digital book for you. This saves the need to even drive down the street to the library. Who doesn't like that? I have been known on occasion to rave about how much I love the feel of a physical book. I don't know that many thought the movement would make it as far as our own journals and diaries.
This may come as a surprise because isn't that the coolest part of a journal? It is hand written, you can see it, feel it, remember it far beyond what it was because it is in your own hand. Seeing your own handwriting has a way of taking you back. But is that even what a journal is for? If we are talking about the ability to record history then there is a real argument for digital journals. In reality, this has been in place for a while and we just haven't realized it. What is Facebook, twitter, and all the other social-media sites? What is the allure in having all of your posts there for you and the world to see? Facebook took the idea of a journal and turned it into little moments. Many of us struggle to keep a journal because it takes a certain time commitment. All of us, however, can write what we had for breakfast and push enter. Bam! Journal entry. Months ago I stumbled across a little app called "Momento". "Momento" is a genius little app that will take 'moments' and add them to a calendar. Not only that, but it will pull from my Facebook account and add those to my little calendar. When I get rid of my cell phone or I feel like I should record a hard copy, they make it easy to print out journal pages with these moments and pictures that I have attached to them.
Further steps are being taken as Free Online Journals become accessible. Web sites like www.penzu.com will let you create a free account and you can write journal entries to your heart's content. Will it be long before companies are offering to put together a full-fledged biography of your life? All you have to do is log on once a day, write a little something (you do it will Facebook and twitter already) and in several years, you could pay them to send you a hard-back copy of your journal.
Now, is this so bad? They are making journal writing accessible and easy for everyone. In that sense, no, it isn't bad. Of course people should write journals and record their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. But there is something about a book that you have written. There is something about having a hard copy and being able to look at the hand-writing of the person who scribbled it hurriedly because they were late for a party. There is some intrinsic value to the hot cocoa stain on the edge of the page because you were careless. These are things that digitally we cannot replicate. So yes, Free Online Journals are good, but a physical journal, hand-written; is better. If you have time keep both. If you don't, spend five dollars on a journal that you can have as a physical copy.