I have been struggling since at least January about blogging and being part of the Twitterverse and being online. You see, I was viciously and hatefully attacked online in January by someone whom I had exchanged many, many pleasantries with and whom I considered a twitter friend. I experienced that thing called cyberbullying we all have heard about. I did nothing wrong, but was accused of it publicly and people who don’t know me may have believed it, despite the fact that people who do know me defended me. I confronted my attacker and stated my case, but the attack continued. Days later there was a half-hearted apology as a DM, but it didn’t matter–the damage had been done, I was not interested in hearing whatever the person had to say, and I couldn’t put myself out there anymore. So, I backed off–Twitter, my personal blog and here at the Co-op. It literally took me MONTHS to finally unfollow the person who had been so mean, because I was fearful of again being seen as something I am not.
If you look at my twitter feed or blogging stats from January till now, you’ll see the demise of my thinking and sharing online. I would sometimes read, but generally not respond, and certainly not try to engage in a conversation. At the same time, in my school, and at some level, within our county, for me, sharing and talking were on the decline as well. This happened for many personal reasons, among which were a new principal, and some new things we were trying at our school with which I was personally having a hard time.
I’m basically a pretty insecure person, who shows up on the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory as an introvert. Not that that matters to most of you who are looking for conversations–we’re in this gig to help each other grow and learn, and my basic introverted insecurities generally don’t show online as I share posts like Grade Fog or A Challenge To Act or Great Minds Discuss Ideas or Big Paradigm Shifts or any of the ones I’ve written here at the Co-op. However, it does matter to me when that introversion is seen as exclusiveness or being snooty.
Accusations like that happen, it seems, after many conferences where folks get to see people they haven’t seen in a while–or ever–and the reflections after ISTE11 are no different. People feel left out, ignored, slighted, etc., or incredibly welcomed, honored, supported, etc. I’m actually the person who may not speak first because I don’t have my glasses on and I can’t clearly SEE you–or I don’t recognize you from your avatar–or I may be thinking you won’t know me and I don’t want to intrude. The fact is that while we, in our human way of thinking, want to fill in patterns and make sense of others’ behaviors, we can’t assume intentions behind actions without asking–we can see behaviors and make up our own interpretations, but we don’t really know why people act like they do unless we ask and they share their thinking.
I was really surprised when I read Jon Becker‘s blog “Reflections of a New-ish Blogger” from a tweet today and saw the many comments from some of what I consider to be the “biggest names” in the blogosphere about being insecure about blogging. I’ve talked with enough of these folks to know they are wonderful human beings, but unsure? insecure? I had thought not. Thanks, Jon, for being transparent in your thinking, so that others joined in that conversation!
I was then struck by the picture Lyn Hilt began her blog with – and I realized I had allowed myself to become lost. I was choosing take with me a piece of someone I didn’t want and didn’t need. I have also been choosing within my school to carry pieces of other people’s insecurities and lack of knowledge.
CC licensed photo shared by Flickr user always be cool
If you do nothing else today, please go read the last two paragraphs of Lyn’s blog, You Know Who You Are. Then, take her with you wherever you go. I am.
Thanks, Lyn, for reminding me of who I am and for now being part of me.