A couple of weeks ago a friend told me, “the most powerful stories are those that you tell to yourself.” Shane Murphy, a tech entrepreneur based in London, has taken this premise and built diarydoo, a microblogging diary platform. This platform combines the publishing facility of Twitter with the privacy of a personal journal.
My conversation with Shane sparked a question: why do some of us write down our embarrassing stories? My guess is that act of writing down a story is cathartic. The more we get them out of our heads and in front of our eyes (a journal), or into the ears of others (a performance), the less they weigh us down. Case in point: yesterday on The Moth Radio Hour a guy recounted an incredibly embarrassing story about the first and only time he served as a prostitute (spoiler: they ended up cuddling). I can only imagine that the mix of fear and embarrassment that he felt from telling the story must have been outstripped by the relief of getting it off his chest. Otherwise, why would he have done it?
Which leads me to the next question: if externalizing a story is necessarily cathartic, is there value to keeping a story secret, for secret’s sake? And, in our current culture, where privacy is increasingly opt-out (e.g. Facebook photos, Blippy, etc), is it natural to assume that the private story is an endangered species?