Recently, someone asked me why people use LiveJournal. “Is it a diary? Who sees it?”
In trying to describe LiveJournal, I realized I had some ideas about it that I’d never directly considered. I’m putting them down here to hopefully solicit some discussion.
I don’t consider this medium to be a diary. To me, a diary is something intended for one reader — the writer. Most of the LiveJournals I read are definitely intended to be read by others.
On the other hand, I’ve seen some deeply personal, intimate writing here — stuff that moved me with its candor. What would inspire people to bare their hearts to strangers and casual acquaintances?
The first step in examining the question is, of course, to examine my own motivations. Why do I write in this open forum?
Recently, I posted my personal governing values, and the flaws I perceive in myself these values are designed to help correct. What on earth inspired me to put such stuff where anyone in the world could read it?
The answer is in the question. By putting such things in a very public record, there’s a much better chance that I’ll not ignore it all in a few weeks.
In other words: If I examine my soul and find it wanting, devise a plan to change it, and record all of this in some journal or diary that only I will ever see, what encourages me to follow up? What’s to stop me from safely forgetting it? After all, the ego hates challenges and change, and the ego, damn it, will take charge when left alone.
Posting in LiveJournal keeps a bright light on the corners of your mind, and keeps the cobwebs off of your intentions and convictions. At any time, some LiveJournal reader hitting the “random” link could be reading my thoughts. In fact, the quantum nature of the universe insists that, at any given moment, there’s a fifty-fifty chance that someone, in fact, is doing just that!
There. Right now.
Happened again, just now.
And now, someone’s read yours.
Sure, many of us use LiveJournal simply to be heard — the ego again, telling us that what we write is worthy of the world’s attention. Others use the service to keep in touch with distant friends, or meet new ones.
Still, I think LiveJournal can, should, and does serve as a notary public for contracts with the universe. Our words are trees falling in the empty forest if we keep them to ourselves. Post it in LiveJournal, and the woods are crowded with listeners… listeners not just unafraid, but encouraged to comment!
That’s the end of my spiel. What say you?