On Self-Censorship and Public Personas
The wonders of journaling

August 5, 2023 (1y ago)

On Self-Censorship and Public Personas

If you’re subscribed to my blog, you’ve been receiving monthly updates from me regularly for the last 14 months. Except this July 31st, I didn’t send one.

Why the abrupt stop?

I started this blog back in high school for two reasons:

First, I think it’s a good idea not to have your audience tethered to any one platform. Just look at Twitter - X???! I liked the idea of having an email list for anyone who was interested in what I had to say.

Second, I wanted to have a place to write. I enjoy writing (actually quite a lot), and I thought having a newsletter would give me a regular place to think about and share thoughts on any given topic while also sharing updates about my life.

In retrospect, it’s clear this model had flaws. Anything where you have a consistent schedule for creating content is bound to become a chore after the 2nd or 3rd month that rolls around where that newsletter date conflicts with an exam, or you just don’t have that much to share.

But those were rarely problems for me. The issue was actually the opposite - I had too much I wanted to write about, too many thoughts, jumbled about in ways that could be problematic if published.

If you go back and read through any of my newsletter entries, there’s an obvious vagueness. I’ll say “I’m super excited about this thing I can’t tell you about yet” or “This month, I reached my limits.” A lot of the actual information I’m conveying is only found when reading between the lines.

There’s also no mention of anything that could be considered remotely controversial such as the Dobbs decision, affirmative action and legacy preference, China AI policy, etc. There can’t be. Because the internet is permanent – I want to avoid being canceled 12 years from now for something I wrote while in college.

Everything comes back to bite you one day. The entire internet is your instagram profile, except it’s difficult to truly ever “archive” your posts.

So, I’m no longer sharing a monthly newsletter. But I haven’t stopped writing since my last entry - I’ve been writing every single day. It turns out that there’s something more effective than a newsletter for being able to honestly articulate your thoughts – what you think and how you feel about things without any fear of the future repercussions.

It’s called journaling.

So what’s next for this blog? I still intend to occasionally publish individual posts, well-thought-out and fact-checked and edited as expected. If you’re subscribed to my newsletter and I think a post might interest you, you'll still get an email about it.

But the purpose of this post is to explain why it won’t be a regular thing any longer. It’s also to encourage you to start journaling.

It doesn’t have to be a consistent format or schedule. If you did something interesting one day, write about that. If you had an interesting conversation, your thoughts on that. If something happened that you care about, that’s a subject to think about. Or you could just say a few things you’re grateful for.

Even after three weeks, writing journal entries has helped me remember what needs to be remembered. I’ve been traveling and teaching non-stop over the last month, so there’s been a lot of material.

More to come...