The Medium IS The Message

Keeping a journal is one activity that I’ve used in an effort to maintain something resembling sanity.

The phrase “keeping a journal” isn’t completely correct. I have THREE journals.

Why? Because, as Marshall McLuhan once said, “The medium is the message.”

This basically means that the medium determines the way in which a message is perceived. What I’m writing now, which you are reading, is one thing. However, if I wrote this out for myself and delivered it in video form, then people would perceive the message completely differently.

To make matters more interesting, the medium used would also impact how I would deliver what I am saying. I most definitely would not actually write this out and then read it into a camera. I’d jot down some points and just speak.

This leads to my journaling. Today, I’m going to show the three different mediums that I use for my journaling, and describe how they impact me as the content creator.

A leather-bound journal with my 30-year-old Waterman fountain pen.

As I may have mentioned in a previous entry, I can type in excess of 100 words per minute. By comparison, handwriting is slow. It can make my hand hurt. Using ink, I must be more precise and avoid making scribbles or corrections.

At the same time, using a pen to write makes the words more personal for me.

Application: In this journal, I typically keep two entries per day. The first entry involves how I feel in the morning. No big details, and keep it to two sentences.

The second entry is how I feel in the evening.

With both entries, I include the date and the time of day.

Security Level: Medium-High. Anyone can open a book, although I give it a slightly higher security rating because one would have to access the book first.

Loading up The Write Stuff / BB Writer on a Commodore 64.

Using a computer for a journal is nothing new, and [SPOILER] my third mode also involves a computer.

With the Commodore 64, there is much more of a process. Powering up the computer takes a whole 3 seconds. I load in the software and change the color of the screen frame to black.

Commodore 64 with the BB Writer program loaded on the screen.

Anyone who types on a modern-day computer keyboard is spoiled rotten! It is so easy to type on a modern keyboard. By comparison, the Commodore 64 keyboard feels more like a manual typewriter, in a way. The keys are bigger, and it takes significantly more pressure to produce a letter.

It also takes more effort and technique to avoid typos. On my modern keyboard, I can press the E key and then the S key, when typing out the word TEST. It will show up just fine. However, on the Commodore 64, I am finding that my fingers are bit lazy, and I’m pressing the S while the E is still depressed. This produces TET instead of TEST.

Application: This journal receives focus on one specific topic. I will skip writing in it if I have no specific topic of concern to address. Otherwise, I will write about that one topic and keep it to about two pages.

Would you know what to do with this if I mailed it to you?

Security Level: Very high. Most people don’t even know how to load or launch programs on the Commodore 64 anymore. It’s not something that can be easily figured out, especially by anyone who has used nothing but modern-day computers. Adding to security is the fact that this computer is NOT on the internet or any other network.

This is the BIG journal where everything can go. It’s a big more complicated with way more features. Because of this, I can make my entries significantly more robust and detailed.

MS Access on Windows 10.

As noted in the above image, the palate is full of opportunities to enter information. It also contains some default information.

At the top border, starting at the left, we have my DrumWild logo, a title, and a tag line. Next is a drop-down that says “Standard Journal.” I can select other types of entries, including “Creative” or “Mental Health.”

In the top center is a photo of my son with Tommy Chong, cuz reasons. There are button controls to add a new entry, delete the current entry, go to a previous entry, or the next entry.

The top right has a slogan of mine, “…and then I said ‘And then’.” That’s another story for another time.

Beneath this, above the big black text area are other things. I can add a title and select the date. I can also select a mood. I like how it defaults on “Hopeful,” which is completely by accident.

There is a MEDIA field, where I can add a YouTube link to a song that reflects how I feel. Any internet link can be put there. And “Today’s Image” is a place where I can put my own photograph, again to more accurate capture my current mood.

Adorning the big black MEDIA field in the center are images that serve to remind me to be careful in the world, because humans are dangerous.

It takes me a few minutes to set up the new entry. Once it’s there, I can go to town. There is no need to click SAVE, since everything is saved automatically.

Application: This journal has it all, and I can write in it all day long, on a comfortable modern-day keyboard, until I have said what I want or need to say. I can also make multiple entries that are more specific in focus.

Security Level: Very high. I can disconnect the computer from the internet while I’m writing. MS Access allows me to install a password on the journal, AND it also encrypts all data so that it cannot be opened in other programs.

A journal is like a private therapist, in a way. Three journals may seem like overkill, but each journal serves multiple purposes for me, be they psychological, mechanical, or otherwise.

Keeping at least one journal can instill a sense of power and agency in one’s own life. In today’s world, that is worth its weight in gold.

Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

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