Journal Writing with Web 2.0 Tools: A Vision for Older Adults

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SilentDawning
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Journal Writing with Web 2.0 Tools: A Vision for Older Adults

Post by SilentDawning »

The church encourages us to write in a journal. At least, they used to. I have kept a journal off and on, and have often reflected on it why I do it. I don't think the church was very clear on the purpose of the journal, quite frankly.

I did some scholarly research on this subject, and came across an article that was interesting -- it was about Web 2.0 technologies (interactive web technologies/shared technologies like StayLDS.com) used in journaling. What was most interesting was the literature review on journaling, its benefits, its limitations, journaling purposes, and behaviors. I tried to upload the article but this platform doesn't seem to accept PDF files, and there is no link to the article for public use. So here is the citation.

Shepherd C, Aagard S. Journal Writing with Web 2.0 Tools: A Vision for Older Adults. Educational Gerontology. 2011;37(7):606-620.
doi:10.1080/03601271003716119

Some interesting points:

1. "Brady and Sky (2003) found that while most older adults share journals with family and friends, others want them destroyed upon death."

2. Shepherd and Aagard define journal writing broadly, encompassing paper-based journals, photo sharing, wikis, Facebook, and social networking, to name a few.

3. The purposes of journaling are all over the map. Some purposes include coping with aging, achieving health/fitness goals, adapting to family situations, encouraging personal and professional development, capturing dreams and conversations, exploring thoughts, cultures, and human psyche, exploring and reflecting upon life events and friendships, to record family histories, inquire into current events, politics, societal norms, and pass information to future generations.

4. "Brady and Sky (2003) found that participants used journals to compensate for memory loss and document past decisions. Journals also helped individuals come to terms with aging and eventual death though they did not preoccupy themselves with these events (Berman, 1991)."

5. "In each instance, journal writing helped older adults to keep their minds active and continue contributing to society through the creation of original works—whether shared with family members, friends or kept private."

6. "Brady and Sky (2003) indicated that older adults often keep multiple journals for separate purposes, creating a life history journal, a poetry journal, a travel journal, and so forth. Although this approach organizes work, it may hinder sustained reflection and learning over time because lived experiences are physically separated, making them more difficult to locate and reference."

7. "Determining who has access to journal materials is another issue older adults often face. Rainer (1978) found that access to journal entries was of great importance to writers. English (2001) warned that journal entries can quickly breach established norms for separating personal and professional information. Thus, when individuals share journal entries, they may unknowingly disclose inappropriate content. Questions of access are particularly important to older adults because journals become a tangible record to define individuals for future generations."'

8. Benefits were many -- improved mental health, reduced symptoms of depression, increased enjoyment of present experiences, increased coping with aging, increased insight into personal abilities, enhanced employability, better marketing of oneself for new jobs, more novel solutions to problems, better management of life experiences, better mental health.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young
Roy
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Re: Journal Writing with Web 2.0 Tools: A Vision for Older Adults

Post by Roy »

Fascinating!
SilentDawning wrote: 08 Aug 2022, 12:50 increased insight into personal abilities, enhanced employability, better marketing of oneself for new jobs,
I wonder on this last point. What do you think is meant by this? Perhaps that journal writing helps you reflect on what you do well and then put that into words for job interviews etc.?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
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SilentDawning
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Re: Journal Writing with Web 2.0 Tools: A Vision for Older Adults

Post by SilentDawning »

Roy wrote: 10 Aug 2022, 13:10 Fascinating!
SilentDawning wrote: 08 Aug 2022, 12:50 increased insight into personal abilities, enhanced employability, better marketing of oneself for new jobs,
I wonder on this last point. What do you think is meant by this? Perhaps that journal writing helps you reflect on what you do well and then put that into words for job interviews etc.?
Roy -- here is the expanded paragraph for that idea from the article:
Berman (1991) found that journal writing helped individuals between the ages of 59 and 82 to gain insight into their own abilities, better
manage time, learn new activities, and come to terms with aging limitations. Stevens (2008) and Brown (2002) found similar results
among older adults who kept structured journals to promote skills development and enhance employability. Journaling helped these
adults gain communication and organization skills as well as greater self-confidence. These adults also marketed themselves better in
employment situations, placed greater value on prior work experiences, and leveraged those experiences for increased employment
opportunities. Rainer (1978) suggested that journal writing helps Journal Writing with Web 2.0 encouraged individuals to think creatively, identify novel solutions to problems, and better manage life experiences.
I infer from the paragraph above that in journaling, writers unearthed skills they might not have thought of without the journaling experience. Journaling also helped the journal-writers to communicate better about themselves, perhaps be more organized in their job search, place a higher value on past experiences than they would have without the journal, and remembered to use past work experiences in interviews.

I am assuming a few things here, but that is my take on it.

One thing that is pervasive about journaling is that it crystallizes thinking. It creates structure around otherwise unstructured thinking. As you write, you reflect on what you wrote, reword things for greater clarity, and often find reasons for why things happen as you reflect. The effect is greater clarity of thought and deeper creation of the meaning of your experiences.

I think this is one reason there is such an emphasis on paper writing in higher education. In the absence of real-world experiences (which I am always trying to weave into my courses, nonetheless), writing is the next best thing to creating meaning and experience with situations.
Last edited by SilentDawning on 10 Aug 2022, 22:48, edited 1 time in total.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young
Roy
Posts: 6724
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Journal Writing with Web 2.0 Tools: A Vision for Older Adults

Post by Roy »

My children are now high schoolers. One of the suggested things to have is an activity log. It essentially details all the time you spend volunteering, on extra-curriculars, and any awards or achievements that you might receive.

Some colleges or scholarships may ask for this information (the annual total hours spent volunteering for example) and it really helps simplify record gathering if you simply took notes of everything as you went along.

It sounds like some variation of journal writing can be beneficial for almost anyone.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Journal Writing with Web 2.0 Tools: A Vision for Older Adults

Post by SilentDawning »

I agree that it's beneficial -- the idea is to pick the right kind of journaling activity to meet a specific purpose. The thread has crystallized my thinking about journal writing :) I now keep a Life History Journal and a Personal Journal, which I call the Reflection Journal. Certain posts in the reflection journal are cut and pasted into the Life History Journal, but there are a lot of posts that are only in one of the journals. I actually wrote to my mother, while she is still alive (sharp as a tack at 83 years of age) to get the details on my life growing up as a young boy.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young
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