We blog. We post. We upload. We share. We like. We Tweet. Using social media, we all write our own individualized own history books. Every relationship, every kiss, every romantic thing we hear – we broadcast it to the Internet. Some might say we are a narcissistic society. I say that we are just sentimental.
Yet the content of our autobiographies are scrambled across multiple friending sites built upon advertising alone. Should corporate entities be the only ones that we share our legacies with? Instead, couldn’t you just use all of the existing social services that you use and create a beautiful, customized journal by doing exactly what you have been doing for years? Yep. It’s possible.
Expanding The Story
For the purposes of the creation of your journal, you will most definitely need something to write on. This could be a physical notebook, a document file, or even a personal blog. However, you need to be able to jot your thoughts down.
Yes, my children. This means that you will be writing. I know that some of you hate doing that, but for your journal, your words do not necessarily have to be lengthy. Thoughts do not have to spill forth like the wine from a tipped glass at the Feast of Inspiration.
For your journal, you will basically be keeping records of what happens to you based on the content of your social media accounts. This means that you will use your social media accounts as writing prompts. Sure, you may have posted a status update about your new dog, but what was the story of how you got your new dog?
Social media is all about condensing information into bite-sized nuggets that can be shared in 140 characters or less. On the contrary, journals are designed to let you really tell the story of what happened to you on any given day. By taking these bite-sized nuggets, collecting information from them, and expanding upon the story, you can develop something that’s truly unique.
Finding The Material
Josh, you ask, how ever will I utilize my posts as prompts? It’s quite simple, actually. With social media, more often than not we post in the present. Images are captured as the event is actually happening. Updates are almost always in the present tense. With a journal, you should write about the past.
As an exercise, go through all of you social media accounts at the end of one day and see what you have posted. You may see status updates like “Going to the concert!” or “I love my wife so much.“ These posts do tell a story, but they tell a story in the same sense of the legendary ”For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”
Simply put, we don’t know the details of the story. All we know is that you went to a concert or that you love your wife. Did someone get drunk at the concert and run around naked spilling beer everywhere? Why exactly do you love your wife? You see, these are both examples of marvelous prompts for your journal posts.
Every single item that you post using your social media accounts tells a story, but it’s just from an angle with a limited view. With your journal, tell the uncut version.
Designating The Time
As with any form of writing, you need to set some time out to write. Don’t feel as though you have to do it every single day. Writing – and I say this from experience – can sometimes become rather monotonous if you do this. Sure, if you have a goal or are working on something important, then it might be good. Else, I say go where the inspiration goes.
Looking at the materials that I described above, you can divide your writing time up in a variety of ways. Perhaps you could review all of your Instagram photos at the end of the month and write a short paragraph about the most memorable ones. Since your photos will have dates tied to them, you can even include this. On the contrary, you may want to take a Tweet at the end of the day and write about it, providing more detail (and without the hashtags.)
This subject of this article may seem so obvious that it’s stupid, but unfortunately, not many people take the time out to sit and look at the past. We publish evidence that we want to look at the past, but the stories are so brief that it’s difficult to use them to really remember.
In the end, this is actually pretty effortless. You are already taking notes about your life using your favorite social media accounts. Now it’s just time to expand the story. Living in the present is great. But make sure you are really making memories.
What other methods do you use to develop your own personal journals? Have you tried using the method explained here?