Death to the Diary?
I was talking to two students about research methods in sociology and trying to get them to tell me what might be used as secondary data. They'd listed government statistics, letters...I was trying to prompt them to offer diaries as a third and eventually we got there but as they both said after, "who keeps a diary?" It's interesting how diaries perhaps are becoming a thing of the past, at least for the new youth generation. I remember keeping one up until my teens but then the writing petered out (though I sporadically will keep one even now). Coincidently, that lapse emerged around the time the internet was becoming more commonplace. In fact, for the first few years of personally being able to access the online world more freely I kept a Livejournal which, as the name suggests, was basically a diary online. It was also the first thing for me which allowed an online presence in the sense of having a profile, a profile picture and presenting a virtual self. Then came the emergence of all the social networking sites we know today...Myspace, Facebook...and though not presented in the diary format like Livejournal they basically allowed for the same idea. Blogger I guess is a more closely related version of Livejournal. So is this where we see the death of the diary? Now that there is more widespread online access and platforms for doing so, have we found a new way to disclose our inner thoughts? Perhaps there is also a change to how we disclose such thoughts too. Facebook and Twitter for example tend to be characterised by short, sharp updates. Are the next generation losing that ability or desire to write lengthy diary extracts in their spare time? It's an interesting realm for exploration (though probably already tackled by various publications in some way, shape or form).