Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, September 13, 2012

Story: Padya Paramita
Cover art: Sadia Islam

While growing up and looking for new books to read, we’ve all been recommended to try out Anne Frank's “Diary of a Young Girl” - which she kept during World War II. Most of us know that story and how her journal “Kitty” was there for her thoughts when her family was in trauma.

Similarly, our first prime minister Tajuddin Ahmad also kept a journal, which was later published. However, with most journals, the author has very slim chances of getting recognised for what they did in their daily lives. We being Bangalis, love to express our thoughts. Which is why these days, people prefer blogs.

The basic reasoning behind keeping journals has always been the fact that some thoughts aren't meant to be shared. People have continued keeping their thoughts in diaries or notebooks over the years to give thought to their deepest secrets and musings without the risk of being judged. A friend who has kept a journal for the last five years believes that, “Putting your thoughts down on paper helps to channel out your emotions. It's where you can vent and be yourself.”

It is the craving for a fan following that urges the creation of blogs. A lot of journal writers have switched to blogging because of easier accessibility and their need to show people how awesome they are. According to people who regularly check out and use blogs, the fact that other people read their blog can make them feel special. Websites such as Livejournal, Tumblr and Wordpress allow blogs to be edited and make them really fancy with GIFs, liking, replying and 'reblogging' options. There is a blog on anything and everything. There is no limit to the depth a blog can have - it can be from TV shows in general to a particular TV show. From football to a particular football team or player. You name it, there's a blog on it.

"No matter what, nothing can substitute the feeling of pen and paper," says Sarah, who has her own themes for her journals - such as a personal one, a dream journal, a cooking journal as well as one for random thoughts. In fact, a dream journal is pretty common among teenagers. Our aspirations are endless and what better way to motivate ourselves than to actually jot them down where they will be right in front us?

Journals are most commonly begun by starters at the beginning of the year with New Year's Resolutions. A lot of people fall out along the way, get bored or prefer Facebook statuses. Fariha, who has also been regularly writing in her journal for five years, claims that writing in her journal keeps her sane. It is the one place all her secrets can be shared and she wouldn't trade it for any computer in the world. Unless if it's to keep her journal password protected in her computer.

The main purpose behind the switch from journals to blogs is that opinions aren't meant to be kept hidden anymore. The Internet and blog hosts have given bloggers freedom of speech and each blog entry can reach out to millions worldwide. They in turn can post their views, and that's what makes blogs reign over journals, reckons Shaquib, a young writer.

RS' resident blogger Bareesh believes that journals are pointless, “Because you want people to read what you have to say. You can't just take your journal and show random people. It's online so it'll be there in some desolate corner of cyberspace forever. A journal will get lost eventually.” Blogs are user-friendly and you don't need to have a PhD in the field to create a fun, appealing blog.

Yet there is something about journals that has more authenticity according to those who still keep them. Rusafa, a seventeen-year-old student who did not have biology, spent the year in bio classes writing what each student was doing in that class. Who was day dreaming, who was paying attention and what the teacher was saying and her confusion over it all. After she had written it, it was sort of a public thing; her friends would take turns reading the “Bio Diaries.” “It was a good way to spend my free period,” she says. “If it was a blog, outsiders wouldn't really get it.” Plus, there's the fact that she couldn't be hammering away at her keyboard during class.

People have their opinions and a lot of them would rather save time, money and energy by writing in blogs and expressing their thoughts to the world. Since we are so attached to the great cyberspace, people find blogging more convenient. But we also have those who hold to the old ways, the introverts who want to keep their thoughts concealed within paper and keep journals. Thank God for hipsters.


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