Why write in online journals?In July of 2001, I made the big decision to cut against the tide. I quit art school, a rather high profile art school in New York, after just one year. I couldn't rationalize the value of the 15,000 extra dollars a year it was costing my parents to send me, though they, themselves, were more than willing.
More than amused with every class I was taking at Pratt, I just didn't feel I was growing enough to justify the expense, nor did I see a future for myself in art. I'm certainly good at it, it pleases me at times. But my passion, my profession, my livlihood? I just couldn't see it.
So, psychology it was, back home, New Orleans. Academia was what I craved. More thinking. More growth. I would actually be learning substantial amounts of information. Then, September 11th.
Emails between friends erupted. First, about the substance and meaning of the current events. This was all being fed by and filtered through my recent absorption into the importance of the field of psychology and academia in general. We streamed off into discussions of philosophy and religion. Tempers were raised. Accusations flew across the internet. One very close friend, an ex-girlfriend, was lost.
I had hoped and assumed discussion could and would alter viewpoints and consensuses would be reached. This was my motive. This didn't happen. Miscommunication and emotion reigned supreme over civility and a comradery. So, the discussions with friends fizzled to an end as I turned toward online forums, seeking the same ends. The ability to reach consensuses and alter viewpoints wasn't any more successful, but the participants were much more intrinsically motivated, even if they weren't all submitting to discussion with an honest intent to learn and grow.
The online journal began under similar motives. The perk being no one is coerced into participating: journalers come and go as they please to this completely separate entity (your journal), read it, and comment of their own accord. The setup establishes a genuine proactive collaboration.
(to be continued)