Keeping and reviewing my personal journal has always reminded me of miracles that have occurred in my life. It also helps me reflect on my day or week and make a course correction when I find myself off-track. It means a great deal to me and is the last THING I’d ever want to loose or have destroyed.

As the mainstream Internet began to get off the ground in the mid nineties, I felt very nervous about storing personal information on the web, especially my journal. Although I’ve kept a blog for over three years, and my personal information represents the first half of results for “Neal Harmon” in Google, Yahoo and MSN, I’ve been reticent to keep my personal journal online for the following reasons:

  1. I hate reading on the computer (I can’t wait for Iliad or Sony Reader to support a web-browser. I’ve been waiting for years for somebody to create a screen that doesn’t emit light.)
  2. Privacy. What if the government successfully forced FamilyLearn to release journaling information? (not that I have anything to hide…it’s just my journal is personal) Of course we’d fight it, but it could happen.
  3. My journal goes everywhere with me and doesn’t require batteries.

I’m not alone. As Jeffrey conducted a survey for pyxlin with almost 600 students at BYU and folks over at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, we discovered that 48 percent of these folks still write their personal journals by hand.

However, I realized that hand-written journals have the following significant downsides:

  1. They can be destroyed or lost very easily (37 percent of our survey said it has happened to them).
  2. No search. It’s hard to find the journal entry when I “proposed,” thumbing through multiple journals and hundreds of pages.
  3. It’s tough to make a copy to pass on to my kids.
  4. I chew on pens pretty bad every time I get my hands on one.
  5. It takes sooo much longer to write by hand than type.
  6. I can’t include photos very easily.
  7. I’m not sure my posterity would be able to find a translator for my chicken scratches.

About a year ago, for me, the benefits of the online version began to out-weigh the costs and I began keeping my personal journal online. Particularly because our company’s test product, pyxlin, allows me to do everything I love about the web (search, redundant protection, photos, etc), while cuddling up to a book when I’m sharing the proposal journal entry again with my wife (it allows you to print a beautiful hardbound book).

The only remaining risk for me is the government and I’ve decided they be bored by my journals. If you keep a journal by hand, they’ll have to supoena you and enter your home to get it. That is if you’re spouse, or sibling or anybody else in your family doesn’t stumble upon it first. :)

During our testing phase, you’d have a hardtime tearing me away from pyxlin. It’s become part of my life. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too as soon as you’re ready to make the switch from hand-written.