Letters with Austin #1, December 2023

Jarrod’s and Austin’s avatars and their website domains, heydingus.net and austinhuang.me, separated by the letter emoji.
(Image inspiration: Jose Munoz)

My correspondent for the PenPals project this month is Austin Huang. Austin is a statistics and computer science student by day but is a public transit enthusiast in his free time. You can check out his home page at austinhuang.me.

Our first exchange, as summarized by ChatGPT, is below:

In Austin’s introductory letter, he expresses gratitude for being a part of the Letters Project and apologizes for potentially being perceived as boring due to his age and life circumstances. He shares his past experience with penpals, mentioning his childhood correspondence with a Japanese webmaster interested in rapid transit. Austin describes his recent interaction on Zhihu, a Chinese platform, where he engaged in discussions on student life, ambition, personality, and careers. He mentions his awareness of the project through Kev Quirk and introduces himself, highlighting his quirks, including a Cease & Desist from Facebook, an interest in alternative platforms, and his social experiences. Austin seeks advice on striking up conversations, particularly offline, and invites questions. In Jarrod’s response, he appreciates Austin’s unique story, expresses interest in his penpaling experiences, and discusses common interests in public transit and technology. Jarrod shares advice on being nice in the workplace and offers unconventional ice-breaker questions for starting conversations. He also expresses curiosity about Austin’s cease-and-desist incident and looks forward to hearing more.

If you’d like to be a penpal for this project, please reach out! I’d love to get you on the schedule.


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