- 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.
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!