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Privacy Tiers for Writing
(5/30 of 30 daily writing pieces)
Another thought I wanted to explore about writing is to set different privacy levels for different kinds of writing.
In an earlier post, I wrote about decoupling the writing from the publishing act. On hindsight, maybe I should have called it the 3-tier architecture of writing taking inspiration from the 3-tier architecture for web applications. Anyway, I digress.
Why not have one privacy tier for writing?
Back when social media was booming, I heard about how some people kept different Facebook accounts. Usually, one for family and one for friends. My initial reaction to hearing that was why the need to have so many disparate identities? Of course, I was being naive. Humans already practise having different intimacy levels in different relationships for thousands of years.
It makes complete sense to show different sides of your self to different peoples in your life. Sometimes, it helps to join new communities and new groups as a blank slate. Go where the people have no preconceived notions of who you are and what you’re capable of. Which explains why some people want to disappear in order to reboot their lives.
Different audiences require different writing
Similarly, just as there are different aspects of your self you want to reveal to different people, there are different kinds of your writing that you want to reveal.
A common saying is how you don’t so much as write what you think, but that you “write in order to know what you think”. So off the bat, there’s a writing that you can do with the audience of one: your self. Or at least some future version of your self.
In that audience of one, you write in order to know your self. Figure out your own thoughts. It can serve as a kind of DIY therapy. Or the artefacts of the writing serve as fodder for more public writing. Ideally, this kind of writing should not be too restricted in its purpose, other than getting words on paper.
And then there’s public writing
I would be less prescriptive about how many tiers of writing there should be. But just as there are people who have multiple Facebook accounts, it is easier to think of it as having one for extreme public consumption and one for private consumption. The way I am doing it now in this newsletter series is I’m treating this public newsletter as if I’m writing for private consumption.
My mind is playing some kind of paradoxical game with me. I somehow need this to be actually public in nature in order to force myself to write frequently and with proper prose. On the other hand, I am okay to write (verbal diarrhoea?) the first thoughts that comes to mind and then publish after a couple rounds of editing as per my 3-phase writing thesis.
I might take the ideas I have here about different privacy writing tiers more seriously in the future. Currently, standing where I am, my focus is to grow the writing habit muscles first.