This week: Do Read My Diary!Edited by: Kittiara
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Diaries used to be private. These days, however, more and more of our deepest thoughts are shared with the public.
This week's Drama Newsletter is all about diaries, blogs, social media and privacy.
When I was a young girl, I was given a diary with a little lock and tiny keys. I thought it had to be in the top 10 of best presents ever. This diary, I felt, would keep safe all my secrets. Not that I had much in the way of secrets, nor anything that anyone would be interested in reading, but it felt like I did, and that is what mattered.
My love for lockable diaries endured. In my teenage years they were the place where I would write about who I had a crush on and all the drama that comes with those years of change. I went through a difficult time for a while, what with the divorce of my parents. I needed an outlet, and my diary was there for me.
It is widely acknowledged that diaries are private property. That even without a lock, it should be a safe space for its owner to share their thoughts. Reading someone’s diary without permission is a major breach of trust. The right to privacy is of such importance that it is even frowned upon when parents peek at their child’s diary – at least without good cause. It is interesting, then, that an increasing amount of people do metaphorically unlock their diaries by posting them online. Journals, blogs and vlogs can be found all over the Internet, inviting the reader into private thoughts and private worlds. What changed?
I am not certain that I have the answer. Anonymity may play a role. If your parents or your friends were to read about a crush, or an embarrassing incident, it would be incredibly awkward. If family members or employers were to read about those darker moments we all have, from our fears to our less charitable thoughts, well, it would not be pleasant. It can be easier to open up to strangers, and especially to strangers we will never see, never meet in person. We may even find people who have experienced something similar to what we have. People who feel the same, fear the same, who may have overcome those fears. And they may let us know that we have helped them and inspired them. You don’t get that kind of interaction with a paper diary.
It may also help that many people have already become accustomed to sharing more about themselves and about their lives through their posts on social media websites. I must admit that I have never quite got the hang of Twitter. I never know what to post. I don’t believe that my day-to-day existence is interesting enough for people to want to follow me, nor do I believe myself to be particularly witty or insightful. I deleted my (very inactive) account a good while ago. Then opened up another for university. I still haven’t got a clue. Nor do I know what to post on Facebook. I haven’t even attempted Instagram. Many others do enjoy these sites and others, however, and they get a lot out of them. And they share, and share, and share… It’s no great step from there to posting something longer.
I have a blog on Writing.Com. What with the pandemic I have been unable to write much in it this year, but I will return to it, no doubt. There are several benefits to keeping a blog on this website. First of all, there are various blogging groups and activities that provide those interested with prompts. They help me overcome the above-mentioned problem of not knowing what to write about. Secondly, people here are nice and encouraging. They won’t post rude comments on your entries. Thirdly, you can set your privacy levels to whatever you feel comfortable with. Personally, I have my blog set to only be available to registered authors and higher.
Tip : You can adjust the privacy levels of each and every blog post you make on Writing.Com. That means that even if your blog item is available to the general public, the general public will only be able to access the posts that you permit them to. You can even have blog posts for your eyes only, just like a paper diary. And you don’t need to worry about losing the tiny keys.
Perhaps I will purchase a paper diary again one day. I may be a digital citizen, but there’s something to be said for putting pen to paper. I sometimes regret having lost my old diaries during house moves. Diaries are special keepsakes, leading us on a journey back in time.
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