Wednesday, March 14

Whatever happened to Dear Diary?

Remember when you were an adolescent, and you recorded your innermost thoughts into a bound diary which you carefully locked and put back in your wardrobe every night?

How things have changed. If you're my age, some of your grandchildren may be posting all those thoughts, all those torments of puberty and first, exploratory love, on to MySpace for all their peers to read. And they still don't want the oldies looking over their shoulders.

I'm bit behind in my reading this week, so I've only just come across this in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, a mother describing how a daughter comes home from school, heads straight for the computer, and posts her thoughts to MySpace.

" . . . she and her friends are happy to parade the intimacies of their lives for everyone except those who, on a day-to-day basis at least, live closest to them and have known them longest.

"Of course, it's not really paradoxical: they're communicating with their peers and creating their adolescent persona and don't want us around, watching. In fact, they're doing exactly what we did at their age, even if we did it through physical space – the telephone and the diary.

"But what's shocking to us is the extent of self-exposure they embrace. These kids live their lives online, but to their parents it feels like public nudity."

Also, "A survey of 1019 teenagers reported last week that only one in 10 of them wrote a diary compared with the 47 per cent who blog. Could there have been, in the seven or eight years since the arrival of the blog and online diary, a cultural shift of such a size that the privacy of the bound diary is now regarded as some quaint, pre-digital relic, as derisory to young people as some Victorian ideas about modesty now appear to us?"

The story, syndicated from Guardian News and Media, reads like a blog itself. Here's the link:

Like to check out MySpace?

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