If you do a quick search for an online journal, chances are you will quickly come across Penzu, regardless of the search engine. Wildly popular among both its users and the critics, Penzu offers a private and secure online journal that is as easy as pen and paper.

If you haven’t heard of this journaling phenomenon, Alexander Mimran, Penzu’s founder and CEO was generous enough to spend some time answering a few questions for EasyJournaling and to help you get a better understanding. If you have more questions, check out their website, follow them on Twitter or email them (info (at) penzu (dot) com). If they are as responsive to you as they have been for me, you won’t be disappointed.

EJ: What is Penzu?

AM: Penzu is an online diary and personal journal that is focused on privacy. With a unique and compelling user experience, it makes writing online as easy and intuitive as writing on a pad of paper.

Penzu offers a secure place to store your thoughts and ideas in the cloud. Not only are entries password protected in an online account, but individual entries can be locked with military-grade encryption.

With our powerful security also comes extreme ease of use. The core component of the interface is the Pad – a metaphor for a pad of paper. This universal design element has allowed Penzu to transcend language and cultural barriers as people from 170 countries continue to use the service. We have always made the user experience a top priority and it is one of our main differentiations from complicated and confusing competitors.

The name, Penzu, comes from many influences, but mainly it is a derivative of the Latin “pensare” which means to think or be full of thought.

EJ: There are a ton of online journals available. What sets Penzu apart?

AM: Penzu combines an extraordinary user experience with unique features to take your writing to the next level. No other services offer customization, privacy, and accessibility quite like we do. Try writing with Penzu and you’ll see!!

EJ: How have you been able to achieve the success you have seen?

AM: Through patience and listening to our users. We have tried to incorporate the wants of our fans, but the list is still ever-growing. We love hearing about what we can do to make things better, so please don’t be afraid toemail us and let us know!

EJ: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about switching from paper and pen(cil) journaling to digital journaling?

AM: There is obviously a place for writing things on paper. No technology today can emulate that experience properly. However, there are a ton of drawbacks — writing your thoughts on paper limits your expressiveness and creativity. You can’t easily add photos, tag, search, protect, and share entries when journaling on paper. Most people can also type faster than they can write, enabling thoughts to flow more freely and fluidly onto the page.

EJ: Penzu seems very responsive via email and Twitter. How do you stay so personal while still serving such a large audience?

AM: We’re trying our best! We try to minimize support emails by tackling the problems that cause them. Direct feedback allows us to stay in touch with our users and keep our fingers on the pulse.

EJ: What plans do you have to improve/expand Penzu in the future?

AM: Our mobile strategy is about to get much stronger and more robust. Other than that we have way too many features and ideas we’re working on to mention, but education is an area of focus for sure.

EJ: What is the best way to learn more about Penzu?

AM: Visit our site at http://penzu.com to read more!