Written by Eki Qushay Akhwan
I know you’re the facebook and twitter generation; a digital mind and soul who sees things through the glimmering box of a laptop monitor or a smart phone screen; an ‘instantized’ and clicking-mad creature whose fingering agility has probably developed more rapidly than anything else the human race has ever seen it its evolution.
I know you’re probably beginning to forget the pencil (or pen) and how it feels to scribble notes onto a piece of paper with it – the soft scratching noise, the smell of the graphite and pine wood, or ink.
I know you’re probably beginning to feel a little bit amnesiac about reading from a book made of paper and bind – how heavy it feels in your hand, how pleasant the smell of the paper is when it’s new, when it’s old and musty.
But I haven’t forgotten all those things – though I am beginning to get pulled by the forces of the digital age:
Yes, I use the facebook and the twitter. And I blog too.
I have stowed my analog celluloid cameras in the dark corners of my chest of drawers and replaced them with their digital offspring because they are more convenient to use and save me a lot of money.
I like the gadgets that you love and have paid quite a bit of a fortune to get them.
I even dare to admit that I get a bit addicted too with the stuff you do: checking ‘my friends’ statuses every quite so often (and updating mine as well), ‘listening to’ the twitting streams just to feel comfortable (even though I know I’d do just fine without them).
But still, I think a diary is better than facebook or twitter. And here’s why:
With a diary you can totally be honest with yourself – knowing that only you (or somebody very, very special) will read it. (Of course you may imagine that it may be made public when you’re a long goner or read by your children or grand children or some sort of biographer or researcher if you ever become a very of important historical figure before you die.) With the facebook, twitter, or blog you can only be honest only as far as it is beneficial to your image-making (because your audience is there and then and you expect their responses to be immediate).
With a diary you tend to write only what matters most to you and mostly after you reflect upon it. Thus, it helps you to think, reflect, and be substantial. With the facebook, twitter, and (probably) blog, you tend to be trivial – writing matters that may not be important but, out of quirky and itchy wit, write it and post it anyway just to get the attention of your ‘friends’.
Being an “in-between” generation (being born and raised in paper and pen but having to learn to work with the binary bits of numbers later), I still keep a pen and paper diary; but I have my blogs too, my twitter account too, and of course “a book where I keep my face” — I have to emphasize this last part because facebook, to me, is just that: a place where I keep my face, so that it will be remembered by whoever it is that has passed trough my life (friends, colleagues, acquaintances), so that it will remain good-looking among those who know me and in public, etc.
With that, I just can’t understand people who say bad things in ‘the book’. It’s like smearing soot onto their own faces. But then, the digital age makes it possible to create a false identity – a surrogate of some sort – where you can hide your ‘real’ identity and do whatever you like at the expense of your surrogate’s while keeping the true you intact, at least in view of the public who know you.
Of course it is also possible to write as an alter-ego in your diary. But without glaring public eyes, you are somewhat steered towards being truthful to your true identities and concerns: you and your secret other being in a secure enough space that no others will interfere and/or distort your construction of self.
That’s what I think. What do you think? Do you still keep a pen and paper diary too? Or would you let your blogs and social network sites keep your personal (and not-so-personal) history?