Privacy Mode: One Advantage of Digital Journaling

Posted on Apr 26, 2014 | 0 comments

Bakari's Private JournalThanks, Bakari Chavanu, for this guest post:

In age of Twitter, Facebook, smartphone apps, and even the NSA, very little seems private anymore. Many of us seem to want to let others know what we ate for lunch, who we recently befriended, and what video we starred on YouTube. Some people even confuse Twitter for a daily journal or diary.

The tradition of diary- and journal-keeping is centered around privacy. But is there a case for allowing others to read our private writing?  Our journals or diaries may not be the historic coming of age tragedies of Anne Frank. They may not contain details of secret love affairs like Anaïs Nin. Still, they might be of the Go Ask Alice flavor, revealing much more about ourselves than we would like others to know while we’re alive. So, are there reasons for when our journals should not be kept private?

Thomas Mallon, author of A Book of One’s Own: People and Their Diariescontends that if one keeps a diary long enough, it will eventually find an audience. We journal keepers, he says, want to cheat death by allowing our secret writings to keep us alive to those who read them.

I must confess, that in my older years, I’m wrestling with whether my box of journal notebooks should be buried before before I am. Do I delete my Day One digital journal entries before I die? This is a quandary for me and other journal writers. But I think I have a solution.


Enabling and Disabling Privacy Mode

Much of what we write in our dairies and journal are snapshots and portraits of who we are and what we experienced. What we write is a gift first to ourselves, like old photographs relished decades later when our thoughts, experiences, and confessions start to fade from memory. While there are parts of our journals and diaries that should never be revealed, there are recordings and pages of gratitude we may at least want our love ones to read after we’re gone.

I recently published through a personal book of over 450 pages of journals exported to PDF from my Day One app. I was very pleased by the printing of the book. The front cover is not fancy, but the printing format matches exactly the font style format and layout of the journal entries in the app.

The title of the book is simply, “Bakari’s Private Journals,” and on the back a message to potential readers: “This is my private journal. If you happen to find it, please respect my privacy and don’t read it.” Ah ah, how funny. How could my children ignore that message after I’m no longer alive? I know I couldn’t. Even if they don’t read the book from cover to cover, there are entries I would not want them to read. There are passages I wrote in a time anger and grief as a parent in which they are not the intended audience, though they were indeed subjects of some those journal entries.

On the other hand, there are plenty family-friendly entries in my journal book—such as what I wrote about birthdays, my personal bucket lists, favorite lists of music, copied-and-pasted text messages with my daughter when she was off to school on the other side of the country. There are beautiful unsent letters to my wife and children which they may never read if my journal is trashed before I die. (“I never tell you enough of how proud I am of you.”) And there are plenty of lessons in my journal entries my children could learn from, even after I’m gone.

But I have decided that my first published journal will not stay around for more than five years. Currently it can’t be easily found, but sooner or later I will throw it out and replace it with an edited version.

However, because I keep a digital journal, it’s easy for me to tag entries as “publishable”, then filter and export those entries to PDF for making my next journal book, which I can leave for my family to read if they choose to. Publishing my journals would be harder to do if the entries were handwritten. It would mean transcribing them all, which I would never get around to doing.

That’s the beauty of digital journaling. It’s safer and more feature rich than the pen and paper notebooks. And if we always backup and maintain a way to export our journal entries to another format, then we can decide what we want to keep private, and what we want to reveal to a wider audience.


Bakari Chavanu is a writer and blogger. He is currently working on a forthcoming book, Starting From Day One: Using Digital Journaling to Enhance Your Life, about digital journaling and the Day One app.

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Day One for iOS Revisited- Still The Best?

Posted on Aug 6, 2013 | 0 comments

Day One IconDay One’s visually appealing, classic and simple black and white Main Menu page reminds me of every girl’s must have” little black dress”. It may look simple, but it dresses up very nicely. The screen is split 60/40. The white area shows a camera and a large plus sign icon. Easy to figure out and pretty simple, right? Lower black section lists the features of Day One such as timeline, photos, tags, calendar, starred, number of years you’ve kept the journal and settings. 

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Finding the Right Digital Journal for Beginners- Vince’s Journey

Posted on Feb 7, 2013 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Madalai Muthu

Photo Credit – Madalai Muthu

Vince Doss recently reached out to me asking a few questions and explaining his journey attempting to find the right digital journal in his busy life. I was inspired and educated by his story enough that I encouraged him to write it out for all of you to enjoy as well. As you will soon see, Vince is on the right track and his careful selection process will increase his chances of an enjoyable and fulfilling journaling experience.

Take it away Vince!

I am an IT support professional and I have just taken up journaling in the past month. I set out to find a tool to help me gather my thoughts, a compensatory strategy for ADD. I enter repair tickets (only PC based); do network management and email from my PC laptop. I also have an iPad (but find typing on it is not fun with/without stylus) and an iPhone5. I was looking for something to quickly enter notes from the time I wake and throughout the day to both chronicle my day’s activities, for ticket entry later if needed, as well as my goals, thoughts and musings. After trying for a couple weeks I think the iPhone has won out as the primary input platform. I first stumbled upon EJ when searching for “the best journaling apps” and found Sam’s eBooks and PDFs. These were pivotal in helping me arrive at a few conclusions.

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Using Evernote As a Journal

Posted on Sep 30, 2012 | 0 comments

To call Evernote a product wouldn’t do it justice. This uber-popular note taking service has expanded to the point where it is an entire platform. Now there are dozens (if not hundreds) of applications that tap into the service for backup and more that enhance it. It is free for limited use and for a small price you can get almost unlimited uploading for notes and pictures.

If you aren’t familiar with Evernote, I will let Wikipedia explain it to you:

“Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook. Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms (including Microsoft WindowsMac OS XChrome OSAndroidiOS and WebOS), and also offers online synchronization and backup services.”

If you have used Evernote, you may have realized that it could make a splendid digital journal. Not only is it free but also available on almost any platform and very easy to use. Still, I personally would never use it as a daily journal. This is mostly because the service is almost to broad to be used just for journaling. In other words, I wouldn’t want to mix all of my notes with my private journal entries. Most people probably wouldn’t care and I think Evernote is a great option for them.

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Journal App Review: Day One- Among The Best Journal/Diary Apps Available

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 | 0 comments

Screen Shot 2012-05-06 at 4.58.38 PM

Among journal apps, there are features that matter and features that don’t. Of course it would be absolutely awesome (and entirely possible) to have pretty much all of the features from insignificant to vital, but I am yet to find that app. So instead it is important to find the features that are most important to us and make sure the journal we choose has most of them.

Day One has most of them, for me anyways. And the ones that aren’t available are on tap for inclusion in future releases. The proactive mindset that the developer Bloom Built has makes me feel more comfortable about Day One being “future proof” (or at least “future resistant”).

Instead of the more classic feel that Momento and Molenotes opt for, Day One chooses a clean and modern look. Styling is consistent and the different elements match well. Of course there isn’t an option to change the theme if you are into that (though the most recent update brought different font sizes), but the light blue throughout stays with the branding. Oh, and the icon is one of the best.

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