Who Needs John Ashcroft When We've Got Livejournal.com?
Online diarists avoid the first kind of discomfort by pouring their unedited thoughts straight onto the page, unfettered by the humbling drudgery of craft. The second type of discomfort, rejection, they assuage by forming cliques, the online equivalent of literary 12-step meetings, where everybody gets up and confesses their sins, and others rally around and applaud and tell them it's okay--provided, of course, that you go to their journal and put comments and smiley faces after their own revelations. It's simple quid pro quo, a cult of reciprocity. A modern version of the suburban ladies' poetry club, except even less interesting.
Keeping a diary, a private repository of our prejudices, fears and wishes, is a great thing. The urge to publish those same thoughts online hints at something perhaps darker. Rampant exhibitionism? Literary narcissism? Damned if I know.