I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I consider myself an introvert. I’m not sure when I gave myself this label, but I distinctly remember coming home with report cards that hinted at it – “Abby’s a good student but she’s so quiet”,”Needs to talk more in class”, “Does she have a voice??? Make her talk!!!!” (the last one I made up but you get the idea). There are certain professions where being introverted isn’t a necessarily a drawback (I think), but academia does not seem to be one of them. You would think that a group of people who spend significant amounts of time working solo or in small groups would be naturally be introverted. Maybe they’ve found a way to come to terms with this. Maybe there is a secret that I have been cruelly kept from finding out. What I’ve experienced in my first year as a doctoral student is that I’m surrounded by people who seem to have little fear of making presentations or participating in group discussions. But I have a huge amount of fear. My fear is loud, aggressive, headache inducing, and tends to keep me from sleeping. One of my main problems when speaking in public is that my mind blanks. I have thoughts. I’m a relatively intelligent person. But when I’m forced to speak all my higher level thinking disappears to somewhere far, far away. So what do you do when public speaking seems to be a requirement?
I don’t know.
What I have accepted is that I am an introvert. I’m quiet and shy. This will never change and I don’t want it too. I no longer see it as a flaw that must be corrected. I think this is an important and necessary step. But I know that I need to be a better public speaker. I’m going to have to do a significant amount of it to get my PhD. Defending my prospectus and my dissertation, along with conference presentations, demand a lot of public speaking and quick thinking. At the moment I’m setting small goals for myself. Saying something (anything really) during class discussion and carefully planning out possibilities for short presentations, and trying to figure out tricks/tools that will help me relax when I speak publicly. The end goal is to defend my prospectus and dissertation with turning beet read, rambling, and possibly fleeing. It’s the small things.
Some introvert links that I liked. Everyone loves a guide.:
A Guide to Public Speaking for Introverts and Shy People
The Introvert’s No-Fear Guide to Public Speaking
* a sort of confessional
I feel I must make a confession as someone who is just beginning to do research on social media. I am a bit of a reluctant social media contributor. I’m more of a hardcore lurker. I post infrequently to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (although I’m trying to do better). I believe my reluctance to update/post/tweet comes more from a personal hesitancy than a professional/research hesitancy Being a naturally private, shy, and quiet person, I’ve never felt the need to publicly announce what I’m doing/thinking/eating/feeling. I hope there are others out there like me who cringe a bit after posting on a social network site. Will it be liked or retweeted?? Part of these may come from working in a public library in a conservative community, part of it is just my introverted self. But I realize that there are many people who do not share this tendency and who feel quite comfortable updating their status with anything and everything. I’d like to find a happy medium between these two extremes: rarely posting and posting every five minutes.
I am currently working on a literature review of cyberbullying, focusing on how public librarians can be a source of support for victims.As a beginning social media researcher I need to make myself known with the community of social media researchers. From what I’ve been told the best way to do this is to put myself out there through blog posts, Tweets, Tumblr posts, etc. This is part of my attempt with this blog. By posting about once a week to this blog, I becoming more comfortable as a producer of online content. I’ll get there. Baby steps.You may ask yourself: Why is does she want to research social media if she doesn’t seem to be actively engaged with it? Since I started using social network sites back in the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal, I’ve been fascinated with how people use these sites. My interest in the effect social media has had on the way we all, especially young adults, communicate and interact on a daily basis has led to my summer research collaboration with Dr. Mardis. I am currently working on a literature review of cyberbullying, focusing on how public librarians can be a source of support for victims. Social media appears to be a research area that is wide open for investigation.
As a beginning social media researcher I need to make myself known with the community of social media researchers. From what I’ve been told the best way to do this is to put myself out there through blog posts, Tweets, Tumblr posts, etc. This is part of my attempt with this blog. By posting about once a week to this blog, I becoming more comfortable as a producer of online content. I’ll get there. Baby steps.