Dear Diary: What’s the role of a personal journal in the digital age?


On July 8, 1997, a few days after my thirteenth birthday, I sat down at the big old desktop PC in my family’s basement, opened a new Word document and started my first diary. 15 years later, I am still writing in the diary I began back in 1997.

Of course, a few things have changed. 15 years ago, I had a dial-up AOL account, an email address, and Instant Messenger. Throughout high school, although the internet got faster and more of my friends got their own email addresses, the tools I used stayed pretty much the same. I copy-and-pasted some emails, and transcripts of AIM chats with crushes and friends into my diary, but the volume of this content was fairly light: My diary could still serve as an accurate representation of my life (at least, an accurate representation of the way I perceived my life to be at the time…

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