The Dangers Of Online Diaries


I’ve noticed a trend with personal online diaries that’s actually a little bit disturbing. The problem with personal online diaries (and bearing in mind I run a site dedicated to personal online diaries!) is that very often people only write in them when they’re depressed or have some ‘large’ drama in their life going on. I use ‘large’ in inverted commas because most of the time these dramas actually aren’t all that large, but by writing them down and getting feedback from our loyal and trusted readers, we blow these dramas way out of proportion and end up feeding our negativity as a result.

I can speak with some authority on this subject because I am now on the other side of such a life. (No, I haven’t died in the traditional sense, but I certainly feel like I’m living a different life now!) When I was going through some difficult times back in 1999/2000 I wrote about it a lot in my diary. And I got a lot of people who would leave comments and say ‘oh you poor thing, how terrible’ and ‘oh, if you ever need a shoulder or someone to talk to’. No-one ever said, ‘What the hell are you doing?’. No-one ever said ‘Oi, stupid, you are in control of your own destiny so if you don’t like it, do something about it’. I was wallowing in self pity and languishing in well intentioned, but misguided sympathy.

To state that I didn’t get anyone who would tell me to buck my ideas up is a probably a misrepresentation of the actual truth. I probably did. And I suspect I deleted those comments whilst huffing, ‘They just dont understand’. Although even then I suspect for every 10 sympathetic comments that stated that their author would ‘stand by me no matter what’ there was only 1 with enough gumption to say ‘Cut it out, you are ruining your life and hurting those that love you’.

Of course, having come out the other side, I can see quite clearly that my experience was not unique, and it was certainly useful. After all, I may not have learned such a valuable lesson had I not experienced it myself. There’s no substitute for ones own experiences and listening to other people’s experiences doesn’t instil the lesson so well. But looking back on that time it would be easy to conclude that I wasted an awful lot of time wallowing in that self pity like a Hippopotamus wallows in the mud.

Sometimes true friends have to say what’s really on their mind, and if the receiving friend really is a true friend they’ll give your opinion some thought before deleting it. Maybe what you said will be the key to that person turning their life around and getting over their ‘poor me’ attitude. When done with dignity and sensitivity the proverbial foot up the arse can very often do more good than the sycophantic ‘we will support you no matter what decision you take’.

Have a think next time you leave a reader comment. Is what you’re writing what you’d say to that person’s face about the situation? Is what you’re writing really what’s in your heart? If that person was before you would you really be saying ‘You poor thing’ or would you be saying ‘Your life is your own, only you control that so stop wallowing in self pity and pick up your own reins again’.

4 comments

  1. lol. you hit it right on the head. mine’s got a drama too. and i understand where you’re coming from. to think you can access everything even the private entries, if you want to.

    but i agree. some comments are left in herd. like to make one feel good without really a heart in it. but i will not discount the words of wisdom from those whose friendships i value through time. some maybe through private exchanges here, and the rest have extended it through other means of communication.

    but never ever base it only on what was written here. the other half may have been left unsaid for fear of others knowing what the full story is.

    but you have written what I would have always wanted to write but didn’t because i didn’t want to sound antagonistic. lol.

    (as long as private remains private, a diary site as good as this will serve a good purpose.)

    ~elle~

  2. PS.

    i do know i got at least 2 friendships whom i have developed through DD who would fearlessly tell me those honest to goodness words of "stop harassing yourself and move on…you silly girl!" lol.

  3. I have had times where I wanted to leave that type of comment but didn’t do so, at least not publicly. I’d usually leave something privately. Not just because of the content but because the diarist and I were friends and I felt it was a personal thing – between friends. But you are right, sometimes, people leave comments shoring one up without realizing how it is empowering the negativity.

    This is a good entry. Very good indeed.

    🙂

  4. I have never deleted a comment yet. And I have had numerous people leave me negative comments about my many "dramas"… I take them all to heart and think about them, but sometimes it still doesn’t change anything.

    Sometimes my dear, you NEED to wallow in your own thoughts and dramas for a while, if we got over everything instantly and made the changes we need to make, we would never appreciate the worth of the new situation as much!

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