The journal vs. the blog. Can either be trusted?

At the ripe old age of 14, one of my English teachers set a ‘running’ assessment task: A JOURNAL. We were expected to write one entry a week for the duration of the year and he would check it at the end of every week. Now he promised that he would simply check to see if we’ve written the allotted one-page minimum and not actually read what we had written but I’m sure that that was a lie. How could he not be tempted by what I’m sure was riveting reading written by a bunch of angsty teenagers?! Anyway, it seemed that the habit of writing in a journal stuck and I’ve continued to keep a journal well into my adulthood. Being able to record the most incredible and also the most mundane experiences in my life has been something that I thought that nothing else could ever compare to. Then I discovered blogging.

Now, being relatively new to the blogosphere it occurred to me yesterday that writing a blog is the same as writing in a good ol’ journal. A startling revelation, I know. It’s not exactly the same as cracking open a leather-bound journal, getting out my favourite pen and writing down my deepest, darkest secrets but I’m beginning to appreciate the opportunities afforded to me by being able to write a blog. I can get creative with my writing and finally make use of my vocabulary to then write about things that I would normally just keep to myself. Additionally, I’m reaching that wide global community that until now, I have remained woefully closed off to. BLOGGING = LIBERATION. However, I’m sure that none of this is news to all of you regular bloggers. I’m a novice I know.

As much as I love to write in my journal and now my blog, there some of things I write in my journal would NEVER make the likes of a public blog (no-one should be subjected to the emotional train wreck that is my life at times) for the simple fact that an online, public blog is there FOREVER. A journal can be lost, stolen or in some rare cases, spontaneously combust into roaring flames but when you publish something on the Internet, it’s going to follow you around for the rest of your days. Sure you can delete it but I have no doubt that there’s a guy sitting in a dark room full of beeping and twitching computers that, if bribed with food or perhaps in dire circumstances money, he could dig up all of the skeletons in your digital closet that you’ve tried so hard to keep in a deep, dark cave of personal shame. There’s always going to be that one photo, comment or blog post that you curse the day you posted it and so it got me thinking, can either medium truly be trusted? A blog can be hacked and a journal can be read so is there really any hope for any of our most private or indeed our public thoughts?

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