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Are you who you think you are?

Jun - 2 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

Meredith had a long post a couple of weeks ago that I saved to read when I had time – apparently I’ve been busy. I just finished reading it and I couldn’t help thinking “She’s talking about me”! While I did not (and do not) suffer from fear when participating in public speaking (my fear came when I had to have a conversation with someone new) – everything else was right on the money.

[Meredith] never believed that any of her ideas or insights were worth much. Meredith never felt like she fit anywhere. She had friends, but, because she didn't think she had much to offer, she was uncomfortable among crowds and was scared of meeting new people. As a result, she avoided parties and didn't join any groups in college.

I have been attending Computers in Libraries for 3 of the last 5 years and I was lucky enough to attend Internet Librarian last year. At all of those conferences I kept to myself, talking to the few people who sat next to me in sessions (if they talked first) but never making a connection. I attended one dine around and let everyone around me talk – only jumping in when asked. Then after Internet Librarian 2005 I decide to start What I Learned Today… I thought it would help me keep up with all of the great new tools I was reading about – and like Meredith I figured, what’s the worst that can happen? No one will read what I write (I should mention here that I started off as a Creative Writing Major in college – and a few teachers sort of ruined writing for me – so I switched to Literature – and then added Computer Programming). But people did read – and responded and quoted and linked to me – and then when I went to Computers in Libraries this year I was determined to throw myself out there and see what happened.

I had people coming up to me and asking where they knew my name from – I got to talk to people I had been watching at these conferences for the last 5 years (never approaching them) – and most importantly – I had fun!!! So much fun that I can’t wait for October so I can see everyone again at Internet Librarian – where I will be presenting at my first national conference.

So Meredith, you’re right, you’re not the only one out there with doubts. Thanks for sharing – it’s great to learn that someone so confident in writing has fears not too unlike my own.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Meredith says:

    You go girl!!!

    Isn’t it amazing what can happen when you just push yourself a little bit outside of your comfort zone? :) You’ve added great things to the dialogue in the blogosphere. We’re lucky to have your insights and spunkiness.

    Looking forward to seeing you (and presenting with you!) at Internet Librarian!

  2. Steve Lawson says:

    While it would be a stretch to say that I’m shy, I will certainly agree that starting a blog somehow gave me the courage to introduce myself to strangers at Internet Librarian 2005. I felt a little weird following Sarah Houghton up an escalator to introduce myself, but once I made that one introduction, it was much easier for the rest of the conference to meet people. Without my own blog, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving many of these kinds of comments, contacting bloggers via email, etc. Now I’m an unstoppable egomaniac–I mean outgoing professional!

    Another good way to meet people at a conference: hang out at the hotel bar after dinner. When you see someone you recognize, go over and say “hey, I like your blog/your presentation this morning/the cut of your jib/whatever.”


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