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In the digital world, the difference between a journal, a diary, and a blog is fuzzy. A blog is meant to be shared with those around you. An online or offline journal is more personal. You can of course, remove the padlock and share it with the world but I guess most would like to keep it closer to the chest. My two penny opinion says that the difference mainly boils down to the degree of laziness. A blog needs more upkeep; an online personal journal can be used to record random and disjointed thoughts. But let’s look at it this way, the web gives us so many ways to connect with others and also with ourselves.
Writing a journal is like having a conversation with one’s own self. Treat a journal like a ‘digital wall’ to vent your feelings on or just use it as a ‘digital cupboard’ to store memories. In both cases, a journal is a priceless companion. Here are seven free online journals for your thoughts.
OhLife makes journal keeping dead easy by not asking you to come to their site every day. It simply sends you an email every night at 8pm asking you about your day. From the comfort of your inbox, you can type in your thoughts and send it forth like a regular email. That’s it! The easy-to-use and easy-to-keep philosophy tries to promote the habit of journal writing by dressing it up as an email activity.
You can choose to go to the site and read all your past entries when you feel like it. The posts get listed in chronological order and when it’s time for nostalgia, you can read them out to yourself.
I really like the minimalism of this free online journal and the ease with which I can keep up the journaling habit by not forcing myself to visit one more site at the end of a tiring day.
Memiary will make you believe that if you have had five interesting experiences the whole day, it has been a day worth recording for keeps. Memiary calls itself the weightless pocket diary. It is really that as all you have to is sign up and put down five thoughts for each day. You can even do it on the go if you have an iPhone. The five points a day really add up and you can keep them organized with tags (just add a #before any word and it turns into a tag).
It takes just about ten seconds to jot down five thoughts and the tag organization should really help when you add up all the memories.
MotoDiary is another simple journaling tool without any frills. It uses some HTML5 features for storage so it’s still not compatible with Firefox. It runs on Chrome, Safari, and IE. As you can see from the screenshot above, the interface is only about your words. MotoDiary is a highly secure application. The FAQ says that the encrypted key is stored locally and not sent to the server. The app auto-saves entries to the hard disk and uploads it to the server when online.
MotoDiary displays the potential of HTML5 in a utilitarian interface.
Some people consider Twitter to be the closest thing to an instant free online journal. Why not? Twitter has become the medium for channeling all your rants and raves. TweetPrivate takes your Twitter habit and turns it inside out. Log in with your Twitter account, log your thoughts in 140 characters or less, but instead of tweeting it out, store it here and keep it private. These tweets can include pictures too. Later, you might choose to release these tweets and post them to Twitter’s public stream. By using TweetPrivate as your personal diary, you can archive your tweets and search them by date.
TweetPrivate is a cool application if you have fallen prey to Twitter (or SMS) and evolved into using only 140 characters or less.
Penzu comes with a few decorative features like an interface which resembles a lined notebook. The free account is limited but it serves its purpose adequately if you are not too into customization and tools. The free account gives you basic encryption with a password, photo uploads, plus sharing options with email and link. You can set up a notification to remind you to write every day.
The Penzu Pro account with all its features is appealing, but the free account is a quick fire journal tool that keeps things simple. You might grow to like the notebook style pages.
If you are looking for customization and editing options, then you will be disappointed with these apps. For that I will always recommend Live Journal. But I believe when it comes to journaling or keeping an online diary, it’s best to start simple, keep it about the words and move on. For the making of a habit, these five online journal apps serve as a minimalist starting point. Your thoughts?