Blogs separate diaries from their lock and key stereotype

They may never have spoken to, seen, met or plan on meeting him, but they still know almost everything about him.

They know his favorite color, secret fears and desires, why he broke up with his ex and even what he thinks really happened at last night’s party. He never told them, but he never had to. Thanks to Internet blogging sites such as Livejournal, Xanga, and, Web surfers can read his diary, and through posting it on these sites, he has given them the keys.

It is a known fact: people are interested in the lives of other people. The success of reality TV, talk shows, soap operas and celebrity magazines proves this. These media have opened doors to let curious onlookers invade the worlds of ordinary people.

However, with the growing emergence of the World Wide Web into popular culture, not only has the front door been opened, so have the curtains of the bedroom windows, to allow the curious more opportunity than ever to invade the secrets traditionally kept in diaries tucked under the bed. All this through the world of Blogs, or in other words Web sites where a user can post diary type entries, allow for this due to the fact they are usually accessible not only by the writer, but by anyone with access to the Internet as well. And through the amounts of blogs and comments out there, one thing is obvious: people are watching. But why do people want to be watched in the first place?

“I have a Xanga [only] because someone made it for me,” said blogger Kaitlyn Uhi.

“Sometimes it helps to get your feelings out to other people,” explained fellow blogger Erin Saner. “It’s almost like group therapy. And it’s fun to tell stories.”

But not only are blogs being used for personal feelings. They also find use in the academic world, such as is the case for Michael Butterworth, an assistant professor in the school of communication studies.

“I didn’t consider blogging myself until late in 2006 when both my wife and brother-in-law suggested it could be a good way to write about my research in a non-academic style and forum,” said Butterworth.

Butterworth’s blog,, is no different than the others, in that he blogs to both share and discuss information.

“I blog because I want to find ways to connect my research to a larger community beyond my academic peers,” Butterworth said. “Academic work is dense and theoretical, so blogging gives me a chance to test arguments and ideas in a more accessible format.”

Although diaries have traditionally been used in cinema and literature by teenage girls as an outlet for their emotions, often paired with a sibling or parent on a quest to read the contents, upon closer examination diaries were never really intended to be the secret keepers media manipulated them into.

Diaries and journals provide places for people to write about everyday events and their opinins to record it in a form that would last beyond them. Although there was not the same instant gratification as there is with online journals, people still wrote to keep a record of events for other people to read later.

“People like to talk about themselves,” said Saner.

However, despite the appeal, some bloggers seem to be drifting away from the allure of Internet diaries.

“I used to do it about once a week,” said Uhi, “Recently, with more people on MySpace or Facebook, or just abandoning their Xangas, I don’t post messages as often.”

Although younger bloggers attention span for blogging sways in correlation with the interest in blogging of their peers, Butterworth has tried to blog at a consistent rate, though not as often as he thought he would in the beginning.

“When I started the blog in January of this year, I thought I would try to write every day. That has proven to be impractical,” he said. “Plus, I’ve decided it’s better to write only when there’s something worth commenting on.

“Even though the Internet has given diary keeping new life, as always issues with privacy will always come up, especially discussion on how putting too much personal information on the web can be dangerous.

“It depends on how you go about blogging,” said Saner. “If you put in too much information it can, but if you stick with generalities it’s not a huge problem.”

Uhi agreed on the danger lying more in the details than the posting in general.

“It could be a danger if people use it to broadcast really personal information,” said Uhi, “but most people don’t acquire stalkers by talking about how many cats they have on their blog.”