A Day Job
Lots of excitement generated by Xeney's placement of a small donate some money to the cause button on her journal. I'm not sure what it means for the future of journaling in general, since I'm not sure what it means for the future of journaling for me or anyone else in particular. If I have a future. Still, it's hard not to add your own two cents to the conversation. In the form of an unsolicited donation.
The first journal I read was written by one of the camgirls. Camgirls come in various flavors, but the site I found belongs in a group I think of loosely as "badd" rather than "bad" so they're OK for family television news program consumption (racy names make good ratings and G rated pictures keep viewers off your back when their kids go take a look), some of them with, most of them without journals, all of them sharing one thing in common: hit counters that spin like airplane propellers. Two and three thousand hits a day not being uncommon. My guess is when you're sitting there with two or three thousand hits a day you ponder some of life's questions: your monthly ISP bill, the time and money you're putting into maintenance and where all of this is ultimately going to lead, particularly if you're still in school or just starting out (like me).
Who knows where this Internet thing is going? And you're sitting there on three hundred hits an hour. Maybe this is some kind of do it yourself from the comfort of your own living room IPO league bonanza, where you live happily ever after, posting the odd entry over the T3 connection to your web consortium from the bedroom of your palatial Spanish Riviera estate, the one with the dock and the frog statuary in the garden. Hence the t-shirts, CD's, books, banners, meet a date, donate a dollar, cast your horoscope experiments that just might lead to, who knows, money. Maybe support you in your declining years. Or get you laid. Or elected to Congress.
Now one or two of the "journalers" are facing this same reality, although I would wonder if they/we (the
collective journaler "we") will ever reach video heights. I doubt it. Words, you know, versus pictures. "Journals" like camgirls don't just come in one flavor, each objective, each personality, each talent is different. Everyone knows Squishy, who she is, the fact she's a comedian and actress, the fact she writes her own stuff, the fact she fits 40 hours into a 24 hour day. She doesn't examine her life in great detail on line, but over time, if you follow along for a while, you have some idea of who she is, what she smokes and what her friends are like. Unless, of course - do you suppose? - she exaggerates? That's my definition of a journal. And I've always thought of Squishy as an experiment in breaking into the acting/writing whatever business and have always admired her talent and invention and effort from the comfort of my computer. She's one kind of journal, a journal that plays an integral part in her effort to achieve a larger or, at least, another objective. The American way. Horatio Alger.
Xeney, at least in her Bad Hair Days iteration, has a similar feel in the sense she seems to be structuring and pointing her efforts toward achieving a large audience. I see Xeney (through the eyes of a late comer, her's was the first real "journal" I ever read after stumbling across the camgirl) as one of the founding, what, daughters of the movement? She's smart, she's ambitious and she writes better than I care to think about, although I don't see her journal as a conscious effort to achieve a leg up into one of the writing/media professions. These are two of the rockets. There are others, but these two have always been for me the best examples of journals designed (among other things) to specifically attract readers and, in one case, to promote a career. And that's, you know, pushing the line from hobby to business. Which eventually involves money. Making it. The American way. Horatio Alger.
This wanders. The thought that started me on this was that every journaler has his or her own set of reasons for writing a journal. Anyone with access to a computer can play so the reasons and the quality and the consistency and the coherence vary. The journal as a step to somewhere else? Why not? A job, a chance for self analysis, a podium to speak to your, um, mother? OK. The step to career is a writer's step, after all, and writing is honored in journal-land, is it not? Some write a journal in its more traditional form, the public or personal or very personal chronicle of a life (on the web). Some fight for a cause. Some write to keep the dark outside. Some write to keep it in. Some ask for money. Some ask for love. Some ask for email and a mention on diarist.net.
My own "journal" isn't a journal in the sense that I'm chronicling a life, although you can get a feeling, at least, for what sort of a life I may lead. Actually, I worry a bit when I go back over my old entries. Some of them aren't altogether, um, comprehensible. A sign of, well.... I think of it more as a cross between a newspaper column (when it works) and a way to give myself deadlines (when it doesn't). Newspaper columns are not journals and there are those who would carefully point out that distinction. I need deadlines. I take photographs and I use this space to post those photographs. Without the web I don't think I'd do it. Any of it. I'm interested in seeing how they look just as others sometimes drop by to see how they look. And maybe to read. And that's nice. And my hit counter spins like a boulder on the bottom of an ocean. So I don't have buttons. I'd be embarrassed. By their lack of compression. I keep on writing.
I once, when I was younger, thought of a career writing a newspaper column and now, for the second time, the thought occurs again and if there continue to be online publications, something that's recently come into doubt, but if there continue to be online publications, lots of online publications that need lots of online writers to fill their online column inches, maybe I'll get that chance to write a "column" for "real". Just as I do now. Only better. Coherent. With readers. Life is strange and stranger things have happened. And it's good to have fantasies. And a day job.