Cloud journaling is very important and growing more so by the year. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. Please. And no, I’m not talking about writing in your diary about fluffy clouds.
What I am talking about is the fact that a connected, server backed up journal is a happy journal. This is a fundamental advantage digital journals have over their hand written counterparts. If my phone or computer get zapped in a fire, unlike my physical journals, these electronic versions will be perfectly fine.
In case you aren’t aware of what the ‘cloud’ is, here is a (very) brief explanation before I go on. When files are stored on remote servers and not on your actual hard drive, they say they are in the ‘cloud’. They can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. If you use Gmail or anything like it, you have experienced this ‘cloud’. You can access your email from nearly any computing device. More recently, Apple has brought a higher level of publicity to the concept with the ‘iCloud’ which (although not a perfect execution of the concept) automatically syncs your files between devices and on their servers.
I recently experienced the power of cloud journaling. I was excited last week to update my iPhone to iOS 5; an update that brought a few features I had been waiting for including iCloud and better notifications. I received the journal app I have been using as part of my part-time employment at AppAdvice.com, a position I have moved on from. Basically I had downloaded the app from a different account that I don’t have access to anymore. I didn’t think twice about this until I preformed the update and realized that the app was utterly and completely gone. Sure, I could download it again from my personal account, but I doubted iTunes would play nice with the data.
Then I realized it didn’t matter. My journal had been faithfully backed up through the popular Evernote service. When I downloaded the app again, I just synced it with Evernote and all of my entries, along with the pictures and formatting, were all right there. It wouldn’t have mattered if my phone had been lost, bricked or stolen by alien monkeys. Evernote was, and is, safely guarding it in its secure servers.
So, you may be asking, how do I know if I have a cloud journal? If I don’t, how do I know if a journaling service has one?
Well, you can always go the lazy route and shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would be more than happy to research your digital journal and figure out if it can be synced or backed up. Another way is to see if it lists syncing or backing up as one of the features either on the website or in the app store you downloaded it from. Many mobile apps have been using free services such as Evernote, Google Docs and Dropbox successfully to turn their journal to the cloud. Others allow you to email the journal to yourself or sync with iTunes (which is a better-than-nothing solution, but not truly a ‘cloud’ solution).
But the best cloud journals are the ones that actually ‘live’ in the cloud (and are not just ‘backed up’). These are usually the browser based, online journals I have talked about including Penzu and LDS Journal. These don’t ever store any information on your own hard drive but only on their own servers.
So, as you assess your next journal, make sure that it has at least some level of cloud functionality and, when something tragic happens, you will be on cloud 9.
Has anyone else been saved by the cloud?