Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why your Journal is more than just a blog

Sometimes I meet members at different events like a scrapbooking convention or a family history expo and we get into discussions about journal writing vs. blogging. Naturally, I think there is a major difference between journal keeping and blogging, but I usually have to explain what I mean. At the end of the conversation I think there is a clearer understanding of why journal writing is different and how is designed to meet those shortcomings that blogs simply don't cover. Today, a member wrote an email to our team at the Help Desk and they forwarded the message to me. I would like to share this testimonial with you:
The last few years I have really struggled with keeping a journal. I know how important journals are, but I have had such a hard time actually keeping one. I have come to the conclusion that I mainly get frustrated with how long it takes me to write everything down. There is so much I want to record, and I guess I just don't have the time or patience to spend the hour, or longer, that it takes to hand write everything out. At the beginning of the year I actually started a private blog so that I could try keeping my journal online; however, I never felt like any of the sites were secure enough. This month I stumbled across LDSJournal and it was exactly what I had been looking for. The first thing I like about LDSJournal is that the website is geared directly towards keeping a journal online. Trying to turn a blog into a journal was difficult and I was worried about printing the entries. The site allows you to print your entries in a book, along with pictures either after each entry or indexed in the back of the book. I am on the computer every day so it has been easy to write a little here and there throughout the week. You can also set email reminder notifications and pretty soon you will be able to email your entries directly to your journal. I also like that you can add footnotes, scriptures, quotes and afterthoughts. I think everyone has to find their own way of record keeping. I have enjoyed both scrapbooking and blogging, but feel I have really missed out on not keeping a journal. There are so many wonderful experiences I want to record that could never be shared other than in the privacy of a personal journal.
What I most enjoy about this member's message was that it's not really a testimonial marketing piece about LDSJournal being the perfect solution for everyone. Rather it is a testimonial about the importance of journaling and a person's search for a tool that will work for them. I really enjoyed their insight and personal take on journal keeping. I can only hope that our service will continue to meet this user's needs and we will continue to develop the tools to make journal keeping easier.

I recently received my printed journal in the mail and it was fun to read back over my journal and remember events from only a year ago that I had already forgotten. For that reason alone, I feel grateful that I have those moments to remember and share with my family. I hope that many of the features we are going to release in the coming months will help to spurn those members on that are still trying to pick up the journaling habit. And to the 25,000+ members that continue to make a better service, thank you for all of your input and support.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Family History Expo Interview

It's funny when a friend calls and tells you about a YouTube video they are watching that has you in it. It's a little nerve wracking when you don't know what video they are talking about. :) Luckily, it was the video interview from the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ in late 2008. I just watched this video and I couldn't remember answering the questions that I did answer. So, it was good to see that I was able to answer some questions about the future of the service and what users have in store. If you have about 4 minutes to kill, check out the video and learn more about our service. :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Major update and more on the way

For many of our members, the update we made this past Friday, February 6 was a welcome addition to the service. We've received rave reviews thus far and we're very encouraged by the feedback we have received. If you haven't seen the updates, please see below:
  1. No More Welcome Page - Sometimes less is more. In this case, we decided to let members dive right into their journal upon login. We'll be adding new features to this page soon which will make journal keeping a little more fun and interactive.
  2. My Library - Preview your printed journal before it gets published.
  3. Multiple Daily Entries - Now you can record multiple entries with different topics, Moods, Footnotes and Afterthoughts and have them all occur on the same day.
  4. Options Menu - Access all the options associated with your journal entries in a quick, easy menu. If you're writing in your journal, you can't miss it.
  5. Move Entry - Create your entry on the wrong date? No problem! Use the 'Move Entry' feature to quickly move your journal entry to the correct date.
  6. Tags - organize your journal entries by assigning 'Tags' to each entry. (Ex. family, church, kids)
  7. Journal Jar - Found when writing a journal entry, this feature provides topics and ideas to help you get started.
  8. Private Entries (we be re-introduced at the next update of the BookBuilder) - If you've ever written an entry that was for your eyes only, make it 'Private' and exclude them from your printed journal book.
  9. Improved Search - Faster search results and integrated 'Tags' will make search even more powerful.
Coming Soon...
  1. LDSJournal Gold Service
  2. Legacy Protection
  3. Footnote Additions
  4. 'All About Me' Enhancements
  5. Sub Journals and much more...
We're also going to be adding more Moods in the coming weeks, so those of you that keep coming up with those clever moods and icon suggestions, thank you...