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From Diaries to Social Media, What Happened?

While they’ve been around forever, speaking only from my perspective, it feels like diaries were a hot topic growing up in the 2000s. One seemed to be a plot point in every TV show on Disney channel, or a possession of my favourite characters in whatever novel I had borrowed from the library. I started countless: in random notebooks, in Dork Diaries-specific workbooks (anyone remembers these?), or in those electronic password ones that were sure to keep the parents out. The hobby could never stick for me, but it was the most widely spread way among my peers to let out all your secrets. 

While the more sophisticated-sounding “journaling” seems to remain a hobby with a select few, you don’t hear of many people sitting down to spill all their secrets and deepest emotions on any pages these days. What is on the rise though is “finstas”– often private spam-y Instagram accounts, as I’m sure you all know– and private Twitters. People post anything and everything on these… speaking from experience, as someone who has tweeted and deleted several mental breakdowns in my day. Interestingly, it seems people have begun to care less to make these accounts private at all. TikTok accounts, for example, seem to be the biggest avenue for Internet oversharing among high schoolers these days.

So.. what? Is this bad, or even significant? It depends. Are you genuinely screaming into the void on a private Twitter account with no followers? Or are you rambling long essays of sensitive information in the captions of some Instagram photos on an account with over 100 friends on it? I’d argue one of them is likely a bit more dangerous than the other. What if you have a falling out? What if one of your so-called friends decides to use that information against you? It’s weird, because logically, everybody knows this, and yet we all continue to do it to some degree. I’ve obviously thought about it enough to write this article about it, but I’m still guilty of the depression tweet at times (as quickly deleted as it may be). Why do we do this? I figure it’s because the Internet, for the vast network that it is, feels private. We’re on our phones and laptops all day, so much so that it becomes easier to type than write, so why not get something off your chest while you’re on the go? When you don’t say it aloud, it doesn’t really feel the same as telling everybody outright. It barely feels like telling anyone at all. Let’s think twice about what we post! Take care of yourself online, too. Maybe you could even go back to writing in diaries the traditional way and channel your inner Dear Dumb Diary (… sorry, had to quote a throwback one more time). 

I'm Olive-- an English student at Ryerson University in Toronto. I spend a lot of time playing video games, listening to too much Taylor Swift, and harassing my friends about letting me edit all their papers.
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