01/05/2016 04:20 EST | Updated 01/05/2017 05:12 EST

When Blogging Replaced Diaries

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Social media 'Like' symbol on keyboard

When I was 19, I had a diary. Or let's call it a journal, because that sounds less like something a tween One Direction fan would own. Anyhow, over the course of my brief journal writing experiment, I methodically jotted down various observations on life. (Okay, mostly my own life). It was an intriguing experience, albeit one I promptly abandoned after a few months.

Why? Well, one could argue that I grew tired of the process. Or became anxious about my intimate details being discovered by some Nosy Ned or unsuspecting passer-by. However, the main reason was a tad less obvious. Simply put, I resented the fact I was spilling my guts to an audience of one.

Sure, I was a pretty good audience. I chuckled at my witticisms. Sighed at my obstacles. (E.g. that impossibly attractive girl who didn't like me back.) To boot, I was in the unique position of being able to confirm the veracity of each and every entry. But deep down, I wanted to pen something other people would read. We're all aware a falling tree may not make a sound when nobody's around to hear it. Which raises the question: is writing actually writing if nobody's around to read it? Since rhetorical questions aren't meant to be answered, I'll simply reply with, "I dunno. Maybe?"

Which brings us to the Internet. Sure, it's 90% cat memes, explicit content, and Katy Perry videos. But that final 10% contains sites like Blogger and WordPress, which have taken journal writing into the 21st century. Whether you're promoting a business, sharing pop culture tidbits, or straight-up blogging (like I do), this form of social media is growing at an exponential rate.

Why? Because whether you're me at age 19 or the owner of an innovative start-up, you want -- nay, need -- a platform to get the word out. We humans are a social species, and as much as we may insist otherwise, audiences give our lives value. For some its emotional value. For others, intellectual or professional. But we all seek it out. And unlike those dark pre-internet days (pre-Web 2.0, to be more accurate), the audience is out there, ready to be engaged.

In my day, thoughts and ideas were hosted by a journal that would be promptly hidden at the back of a sock drawer. As we roll into 2016 and beyond, hosting has ascended into the cloud, with companies like HostGator,BlueHost, and GoDaddy giving our WordPress sites (and other blogging platforms) much-needed access to that big ol' global community known as the Internet.

At the risk of dismissing the 'good old days' of diaries and journals, I'm pretty happy with where technology is taking us. Communication is a two-way street, and words without an audience are like a washer without a dryer. Starsky without Hutch. YouTube without a painfully-written comments section. You get the idea.


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