An Unsocial Medium

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Farhad Manjoo is a favorite journalist of mine. I’ve read him from when he wrote about tech on Slate before joining the NYTimes. He touts in this column an “unsocial” digital diary app called “Day One,” describing it as “a private social network for an audience of one: yourself.”

I use it to jot down my deepest thoughts and shallowest jokes; to rant and to vent; to come to terms with new ideas I’m playing with, ideas that need time to marinate in secret before they’re ready for the world; and to collect and reflect upon all the weird and crazy and touching artifacts of life in this bracing historical moment…
(Farhad Manjoo, “Why a Digital Diary Will Change Your Life,” 6-12-19)

I have to write to think. Before (re-)starting this blog I considered doing private journaling on Penzu instead. However, that seemed a bit too solipsistic. It risked trapping me in the echo chamber of my own head. EthicalDative is middle ground. Though theoretically anyone can view it, it feels private. Its readers are few, and likely to be persons to whom I would open my diary anyway.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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4 Responses to An Unsocial Medium

  1. I’ve never kept a journal. The nearest I’ve got is a food diary for health reasons. I still think I’d want to use paper. I was even thinking of printing off our emails.

    • JMN says:

      Oh, nice idea, the printing off. I have them all saved, as well. They’re a record of dialog. Farhad makes the point that Day One entries can be saved in PDF, passed on to heirs in various ways, printed as books, etc. Esthetically, paper and pen have the advantage. (He remarks that his wife keeps her journal that way.) A physical diary should certainly include doodles and sketches, little arrows pointing here and there, scribbled marginalia crossed out, then reinstated. A digital medium is more accessible in certain situations. Perhaps there’s a synthesis waiting in the wings? The best of both worlds?

      • My experience is that I never print electronic material – photos are a case in point. I don’t even go back and flick through them.

      • JMN says:

        My dad left thousands of photos crammed into drawers so full you couldn’t open them. No labels or captions. People, places, events utterly unknown to me. I discarded them. He was more apt to write informative comments and notes on his sketches. I think when increasing lapses of time intervene photos are largely worthless without words.

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