Working Out Digital Shyness

My advisor Stone Wiske is amazing. Her ability to synthesize information and pull a group together is uncanny. I really appreciate that she doesn’t just teach the Teaching for Understanding Framework–backward design, users selecting their own content, etc–it’s also the backbone of our class.

To wit, she’s asked us to reflect upon our posting habits for the online portion of the course. And this was a fruitful exercise–especially for me.

For the listservs that I’m on and the articles I read, I’ve sort of let the content wash over me. I’ve had to propel myself to jump in to conversations I know only kernels about. Posting to a wide audience is intimidating. The weird part is, I would totally talk about it the articles or issues later that day, in public. Was I just digitally shy?

I’m working on exposing the things I don’t know, opinions that aren’t well-formed, arguments I’m leery of engaging with. The course’s required posts–this “training”–has prompted me to comment on and apply knowledge outside of class with several sites I wouldn’t have engaged previously.

Which is to say I’m retraining myself when it comes to commenting. In my “old world,” if I engaged once, I could cross that item off my list. I have trouble circling back. I am that person who disappears. It’s extremely time consuming to keep track of massive conversations–it’s far easier to archive them and move on.

The 2x/week posting requirement is somewhat arbitrary–you obviously don’t have to post to anything in your “real” internet life. But the need to keep up with an ongoing conversation is very real. The need to keep up with an online dialogue might be, from my point of view, the most realistic aspect about the course.

I hope to keep up the “good” behavior–regularly applying and engaging–because it’s the right thing to do, good practice.

How can I culture “digital confidence” with Hack this Poem at P2PU? The “mentorship” idea over at Webcraft is a great one–newbies and veterans connect around a task. This makes the community feel smaller than a massive echo of a post no one responds to. I’m less afraid to show my mistakes or admit I don’t know. And this keeps me from “dropping out.” It’s awesome.


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