Most people are made not of the sum of their public selves — the unlocked Twitter, the well-curated Instagram, the .club domain — but rather their private selves. The group DM. The locked Twitter alt. The private email chain. The Instagram thread that started with a meme and is currently at, I think about quitting three times a day, it’s hard living here, I just don’t know if I can do New York anymore, you know?
From 2006 to 2012, I kept a LiveJournal.
You could lock your posts to your friends only or filtered to a select group. Or you could create a new, completely locked journal (the proto-Twitter alt; everyone always knew it was you).
I vastly preferred the latter, creating journals to weather different periods of my life. It’s where I learned the value of selective privacy, which, as it turns out, is otherwise known as exclusivity.
Does a group DM make a sound if you can’t reference it publicly, so others know they’ve been consciously excluded? Does a Twitter alt matter if your ex’s new girlfriend doesn’t spend at least 2% of her day worrying about what you’re saying about her on it? What value do our private selves have if we can’t tease them as part of our public selves’ brand?