The argument for keeping a journal in a social media age


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I’m sure we’ve all seen the long, detailed posts on social media about every nuance in a person’s life. These public diary entries have become much more common for our modern celebrities, but many of us fall into the pressure to share our daily lives on the great, wild internet.

There’s certainly something to be said for keeping a record of our lives. Having worked with archives in the past, I realize that often times, diary entries and personal records are the most valuable items when attempting to piece together a lost era or passed decade.

Especially if you intend to do something great with your life, it will make an historian’s day in the future when he or she can read that you hated the color green at age 13 but your first pet was a lizard. Or, that you almost had a panic attack in class on a random Tuesday or overcame social anxiety and learned how to ask questions in a public setting. All of these things are valuable and can be therapeutic for the person keeping the journal.

For me, there’s something much more intimate and therapeutic about putting pen to paper than fingers to keys. When we write physical records of our lives, we keep a treasure not only for future eyes but for ourselves. We give ourselves, amongst the transparency imposed by instant technology, a quiet place to learn, grow, make mistakes and get back up from them. The forgiving pages of a physical diary are the safe place that the internet and social media is far from being.

This opinions is more than a personal prejudice against the turmoils of social media. I’ll never forget what an English professor told me during my first year of college. He advised us all to keep a regular journal. He explained to us that it was about more than physical paper versus white screen. It was about discipline. It was about training your mind to think on its own and get in touch with your emotions in a place only you could interact with them.

Though I’ve definitely not kept the daily journal he recommended, I’ve tried to keep a private record of my life in a way that would honor his advice and my own experiences. Through doing so, I’ve come to agree with him that physical record-keeping is by far superior to digital and that the discipline gained is unmatched elsewhere. I hope you’ll find time in your days in the coming weeks to record your life in a way only you can.