Disadvantages of Using an Electronic Diary

By Mickey Walburg

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Diaries have existed in many forms since written language was developed. Diaries remain a popular way to express feelings, record your life, or keep track of important happenings. With the growth of the Internet and electronic technology, it's become very popular to keep electronic diaries instead of paper ones. While these diaries offer a lot of flexibility in areas like formatting and searching older entries, they do have some possible drawbacks.


One of the biggest issues facing users of electronic diaries is privacy. This can be an issue with both online journals kept at sites such as LiveJournal or Wordpress, and with journaling software you keep on your computer. Internet-based sites have the disadvantages that they can often be found if someone knows your name, the topics you write about, or other information about you. Some sites do have privacy settings, but they often change with little or no notice to their users, or are difficult to navigate. This can leave you with security gaps, in which unwanted people can view and sometimes even comment on your diary. They can also copy text, or take screen shots of the page so they can view it later, even if you've changed your settings.

Journaling software resides on your computer, so it cannot be found by Internet searches. Unfortunately, the program will show up on your list of available programs; so, anyone using your computer could see that you have journaling software. A simple keylogger, or even just a good guess, may yield your password and allow access to your personal writings.

Retention and Security

Online blogging and diary sites may or may not keep backups of your journal. Some, like LiveJournal, have built-in backup utilities, but those utilities often work poorly or are cumbersome. Saving the journal through third-party software is an option, but can be time-consuming and often will miss some of the peripherals such as comments or photographs.


Most people hope to look back at their diary from time to time, over the course of many years. Unfortunately, it's possible for online diary hosts to close up shop with almost no notice; and, even if you have backed up your files from the site, it may be difficult to find another site or program that will read the backup files correctly. If you are using journaling software, you may have to purchase another version of the software, or an upgrade, at some point. Software companies sometimes also stop making software, leaving you scrambling to find software compatible with the journal files you already have. Converting the software to a new format, if it's possible, may be difficult and time-consuming.