I've been participating in the Indieweb Carnival for a while. Usually I'll take the themes on by freewriting. These past two months, for the themes Self-Care and Routine and Community and belonging, I wrote approx 2000 words each, but I never published these.
The themes are often deep and elicit introspection and vulnerability, especially these past two. I tend to knock them out on long train rides or flights where I'm offline (most recently for the ones for Oct, Nov, Dec: Birmingham, Manchester, Cairo, Ismailia, Riyadh). While tackling these themes is a useful exercise for me, I realised that sharing the output with the public is not.
Prior to the past two themes, I published my Indieweb Carnival writing, but I had them unlisted on my website. You can only read them via webmention links or if they're linked to by Indieweb Carnival organisers. The reason for this is that it's not unusual that I write about something personal, and the target reader in my mind is a complete stranger. I'm oddly ok with sharing certain things with strangers, but the issue is that not only strangers visit my website.
Sometimes I will reread what I wrote, but imagine a different persona reading. I'm comfortable sharing different things with different people, e.g. family, friends, colleagues, clients, etc. These categories are not "nested" in the sense that my inner circle ought to have access to everything, with permissions tightening as you move out the circles. Instead, these are usually non-overlapping and dependent on the content itself.
When I re-read something from the perspective of a different group, or even individual, inevitably I will want to modify what I wrote. The more I share, the harder it is to juggle these personas in my mind and release something that I'm happy sharing with the widest group of all: everyone.
For the past two topics, I found that I went deep enough that I could no longer imagine what future inference could be made from that personal information, who may read this one day after I've forgotten about it or have changed my mind on what I wrote, and how the current people in my life may view these things.
In short: the less I think about what I write, the more I overthink who reads, and vice versa. That's no good if you want to freewrite. So I decided to stop publishing these posts. Or rather, restricting them to an audience of one: me.
I suppose my website might be a little less colourful as a result, but maybe one day I can figure out some kind of access control system, or create a new identity separate from my main one.
This is not the most restrictive audience, since I assume that anything I write may possibly one day be read by others (e.g. though a data breach), and I also draw a distinction between different versions of myself across time, and AI (think Roko's Basilisk), but that's a topic for another time. ↩︎