Saturday, October 21, 2006

Journaling (Part Seven)

  • Blogging vs. Journaling

“There are more than 55 million of them [blogs] around the world, according to Technorati, and the total is growing by thousands every week.”
~New York Times

The blogosphere is growing by leaps and bounds. They cover everything from cooking to cars, space travel to sandwiches. It is the new media, and any average writer can have his/her own soapbox to preach, criticize or shoot the breeze with anyone who cares to listen.

For the most part, weblogs have become online journals. They do the same thing that diaries and journals have done for hundreds of years… or so we think. Are they really the same? Is journaling and blogging synonymous? Is one as good as the other?

Let's begin with a few brief definitions.

Journal: 1 a : a record of current transactions; especially : a book of original entry in double-entry bookkeeping b : an account of day-to-day events c : a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use
~Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (some emphasis added)

Web log or Weblog: online journal where an individual, group, or corporation presents a record of activities, thoughts, or beliefs. Some blogs operate mainly as news filters, collecting various online sources and adding short comments and Internet links. Other blogs concentrate on presenting original material. In addition, many blogs provide a forum to allow visitors to leave comments and interact with the publisher. “To blog” is the act of composing material for a blog. Materials are largely written, but pictures, audio, and videos are important elements of many blogs. The “blogosphere” is the online universe of blogs.
~Encyclopædia Britannica (some emphasis added)

In short, journals and diaries are private while blogs are – for the most part – public.

It is my position that blogs do not serve the same purpose as journals. Don’t get mad at me. I don’t wish to step on any toes here. Consider as I give my reasons for thinking this way.

My journals are private, and I can write about things that would be unwise to share with my friends and the World Wide Web. For example, my family might be going through a transition. A change is being made. It would be imprudent to share on the web what we wouldn’t even be talking to our friends about right now. It is a family matter. On the other hand, my personal handwritten journal is a tool as I go through a challenging time. How many times has this happened? More than I can count. Discretion must be used on the web.

Prayers must also be dealt with correctly. A well meaning prayer for a friend or family member is appropriate and helpful in the closed pages of a journal. The same prayer would be considered gossip on your blog. Prudence is of the utmost importance.

People Pleasers
Humans tend to be people pleasers. We want to be admired, commended, and approved. Will you use your space on the web to reflect on the real you? Can you deal with temptation, personal problems, and spiritual maturity accurately and helpfully on your blog? If so, you are probably revealing too much. Most of us, however, realize that there is a time and place for complete openness, and the blog just isn’t it.

The blogosphere can be a dangerous place if used incorrectly. There are predators out there, and they do use the internet. I won’t share all the horror stories, but you have probably heard some of them. Do you want dangerous men and women knowing where you will be at what time? Take for example this fictional blog post.

“Jamie and I had a great time at Jack’s Shack today! They have the best ice-cream! We go there every Wednesday right after school, and I like to try a new flavor each time. Today was Strawberry Swirl. Look at this cool picture of me and Jamie! ~Annie~”

In five sentences you have just alerted Mr. Dangerous of who you are, what you look like, and where you will be at what time. He also knows that you love ice-cream!

You could be just fine, and Jack’s Shack may be a safe place on Wednesday. You could live your entire life in peace and safety. The fact is, you might have just endangered Jamie and yourself in one short post, and you will never know for sure until it is too late!

A Waste of Time
Different blogs have different purposes, so please don’t think I am being legalistic on this next point. Blogs can instruct, evangelize, share literary analysis, recipes, devotions, and anything else. There are serious blogs, comical blogs, instructional blogs, and useless blogs. What is your genre? What is your blog’s purpose? Fun blogs have their place, but does a steady stream of diary-like entries benefit your audience? Does your blog waste people’s time?

Think about it.

Is there a difference between blogs and journals? I think so. They each have a unique place in your growth and devolopment as a Christian. Remember to give glory to God in everything you do. Happy Journaling!

Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven.


Susanna Moore said...

Wonderful post! Your points were well made, and your thoughts were very eloquent. I can easily say that this is one of your best posts.

I'm glad that you so thoroughly drew a distinction between journals and blogs, because the lines have been blurred somewhat. I think that we would be well advised to keep the pages of our musings pleasing and honoring to God, especially if we would keep the same consideration for our friends.

Nella said...

Hmm, I don't think my last comment posted properly, so I will try again.

I think you are right. The difference between a blog and a journal is vast. It is a paradox to call a blog a web journal. It just does not compute!


dixiemaiden said...

This is a wonderful post. I am interested in having a blog, but I do not intend for it to be a personal journal. I love history and encouraging poetry, and I would like my blog to be a ministry. Blogs are encouraging when you learn how many like minded people there are.

Bethany said...

Amen, Elizabeth!

I totally agree with what you have said -- there is a vast difference between blogging and least there should be. You drew the line of distinction very well.

You are doing a wonderful job on this series. I can't wait to read the rest! (How many parts are you doing? The more the better!)

Morgan said...

Thank you so much! Your points were very well made, and there is certainly a difference between blogging and journaling. I have journaled for the past three years, and I am way too much of a private person to "journal" online...

Loved your post!!

Becc@ said...

Hey Elizabeth,
I posted a comment on 'Play Chess', I hope I did it right.=)

Great Post! Keep up the good work!