There are many different types of bloggers in the world today - new media journalists, "journalers," video bloggers, and others. One of the types - "diaryists" - record their innermost thoughts and feelings in a way that's very much similar to how people (yes, usually girls) once recorded their thoughts in small books kept under lock and key and stuffed beneath their mattresses.
Of course in this day and age, the thought of actually putting pen to paper seems like something from a bygone era. But the urge to create a diary hasn't been abandoned - it's just that the format has changed.
Diary Sites on the Web
There are a few sites today that allow you to go private easily. LiveJournal and Vox cater more to the journaling crowd than WordPress does, for example, but there are many smaller sites like www.opendiary.com, www.mydeardiary.com, www.webbookdiary.com, and www.digitalexpressions.nu, that provide an online diary application.
Unfortunately, outside the larger blogging communities like LJ and the like, the quality of the online diary offerings is somewhat lacking. The digital scrapbook site, Kronomy, kicks it up a notch in terms of being a more modern tool than those previously mentioned sites above, but it's more focused on letting you share your digital, multimedia memories. And other sites like Our Story, Story Of My Life, dandelife, and My Family are more family-focused than private. None are really a quiet hideaway on the web for true diary writing.
Diary.com is a great starter blog for the little (over)sharers of Generation Z who are at the perfect age to begin their very own start blog, err, diary, right now.But now online diaryists and diaryist wannabees can rejoice - there's a new site that's tailored just for them. With a big focus on privacy - it is your diary after all -
Entries can be up to 1000 words max or you can paste in the URLs for photos or videos found elsewhere on the web. The site then displays the video or photo embedded in your diary. Amazingly, even just pasting in the URL of a YouTube video manages to post the video into the diary - no messing around with embed codes here - it's dead simple. Click the thumbnail of the video and you'll go to the permalinked page for the entry where the video can be played - all without having to leave the diary.com site.
Gen Z's First Lifestream
Diary.com isn't really very blog-like at all though. It's more like a lifestream than a blog, which furthers solidifies the argument that lifestreaming is encroaching in on blogging's territory. Here's a whole generation whose first blogging experience will be more like a FriendFeed sharing experience than an attempt at long, thought out writing. In fact, Diary.com's format is more like a cross between FriendFeed, Twitter, and Tumblr combined. It's like FriendFeed because of its multimedia capabilities and stream-like look and feel, but the structure also resembles Twitter with its entry box at the top and posted items below. Of course, the idea of posting multimedia along with text is a lot like Tumblr, except this Tumblog is for your eyes only - no peeking.
Private diaries aren't the only feature of the site at Diary.com. On today's social web, there is a desire to share with friends, so in addition to supporting private diaries, the option to create a shared diary is available, too. A shared diary can be sent to anyone you choose - you simply enter in their email address and share. You can create multiple shared diaries and they're available from a drop-down at the top of your screen. It's easy to envision the shared diary option used as the digital age slambook, filled with naughty observations about fellow classmates.
Although Diary.com isn't doing anything dramatically new, it's taking some of the best features of the social web sites we grownups know and love and simplifying them for use by first time bloggers/lifestreamers. It's worth noting that the Diary.com folks seem to think their demographic extends beyond kids - they suggest their shared diaries can be used for anything from travel diaries to baby diaries, for example. We suppose they're right, but we're betting that their best customers will be a bit younger than that.