In this new digital age, what does it mean to have a journal?
Many people have diaries or journals to record the everyday significant and mundane aspects of their life.
Then there are others who look back over their life and capture a reflective biography.
Both systems primarily concern themselves with using text and language as a way of telling the story and both systems capture the stories in retrospect, even if it’s only a few minutes.
What if there is now a better way?
Concurrent Life Story Journaling
In our modern digital age we have systems to aid us to record and share our life story in ways that were unheard of even just a couple of years ago. These systems are evolving so quickly that new ones come along daily and as someone who is actively looking at what is of interest, I’m amazed how quickly new systems arrive.
We don’t just have to choose to write about what we’ve done this day, year or decade, we can capture the story of our life as it happens. Better still we can use systems other than language and text.
Digital LifeStory recording
The written form of language is what is first considered. There are many ways for you to capture your thoughts in the moment or shortly afterwards.
- Blogging on WordPress, Posterous or Tumbler.
- Daily snap shots on Oh Life.
- Microblogging on Twitter.
- Writing in word processing software.
Video traditionally, is a way of grabbing those big events of your life as they happen but now you can grab a snap shot of an interesting train ride or simply a walk down the street, to remember the everyday events of your life. It’s up to you to choose if you’re going to edit them and make a mini-documentry or just make a comment on something then put it out there.
If you like taking the formal images of the events of you life you can post them on many sites but also now you can grab a snap shot of something interesting as a reminder and share it instantly to show your friends what you’re up to. When travelling this is the easiest way of showing people what interests you.
Much like video and still images, audio grabbed in the moment gives you the chance to comment on what you’re experiencing, as it happens and share it immediately with others. Here’s a chance to express your opinion about something, then maybe one day to reflect on it.
Location sharing is often where all the above pieces of content comes together and allows you to take a photos or video, place a written comment, tag what was interesting about it, with recommendations for others and reminders for yourself, all located on a map using GPS location. This is one of the best ways to share and discover things when travelling but also a great reminder of where you’ve been yesterday, or maybe one day, years ago.
- Foursquare, Gowalla and others.
These are the systems that I know of and use myself. What I’m noticing in actively using them in my life, particularly as I travel, is I’m chronicling my life as I live it. Some of it’s reflective as I write a piece about my day on OhLife or a blog post or video but some of it is also in the moment when I see or think of something. These systems give me a chance to think, see or do something and record it NOW!
We’ve never, ever, had this opportunity before this current digital age we’re now in.
Mixing it up
Sure you could use just one of these systems but why limit yourself when you can use them all. Everyone of the recording modalities mentioned above allow for multiple inputs to mash all the information together relevant to what you want to share. The principle system may be, say audio but there is always room for additional media such as text and images to help flush out the information.
People in your social field can then watch as you create the content and share in your life as you live it. This is particularly interesting when you’re doing something a little different from your normal lifestyle. Then in time when you want to bring it all together to tell the whole story of your life you’ll have a timeline of information in it’s various forms to use and inspire you in telling your story.
A two way social conversation
With social networking being an major part of all interactions on the web now, there’s always an opportunity for a conversation. All systems allow for comments in text, with many allowing for audio and video comments to match the original media style. You can have a tit-for-tat video/audio conversation with someone if you choose.
It’s all a part of your LifeStory
Then one day, if you decide to bring it all together, you’ll have all the content and reminders of the life that you’ve lived, in a timeline of images, video, comments, sounds, opinions and experiences all geolocated and cross referenced to add to the richness that is what your life really is.