University of Oulu

Annamari Martinviita, Online community and the personal diary: Writing to connect at Open Diary, Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 63, October 2016, Pages 672-682, ISSN 0747-5632,

Online community and the personal diary : writing to connect at Open Diary

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Author: Martinviita, Annamari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, English Philology, PO Box 1000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2016
Publish Date: 2018-06-09


Open Diary was the first online diary service to be created, in existence from 1998 to 2014. An ethnographic case study was performed in 2006–2008 to explore community-creation on the site, using the theory of sense of virtual community (Blanchard & Markus, 2002, 2004) to analyse site practices and the member experience. The study describes a cohesive community based on a culture of support, empathy and open sharing of personal lives enabled by anonymity and privacy protections. The article discusses these results in terms of community-creation online and compares Open Diary to current forms of life writing online, blogging in particular, arguing that it was the members’ and designers’ understanding and experience of the traditional pen-and-paper diary that enabled the building of a unique community on the site, creating an experience that is perhaps no longer possible to replicate due to the social and cultural changes that have occurred on the web since 1998.

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Series: Computers in human behavior
ISSN: 0747-5632
ISSN-E: 0747-5632
ISSN-L: 0747-5632
Volume: 63
Pages: 672 - 682
DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.089
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 518 Media and communications
515 Psychology
5141 Sociology
616 Other humanities
Funding: This work was supported by the Lecturer Aino Hoikkala fund and the Lecturer Anna Vuorio fund at the University of Oulu; the Emil Aaltonen Foundation; and the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Oulu.
Copyright information: © 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license