Twitter School for the Socially Anxious

March 23, 2010

I have avoided Twitter for a long time. I have KNOWN that social media is a crucial aspect of life as a blogger, that it is the way that the bloggy community connects, and that it can be a fantastic way to make friends with similar interests.

But even though I’ve known all of that, I have avoided it like the plague.

The truth is that Twitter terrified me. It’s like elementary school… Middle school.. High school.. Hmmm, apparently the majority of my life where, whether founded or not, I felt like I was on the outside looking in, my face smudged up against the glass while I waited for someone to notice that I was worth befriending/inviting/loving. It felt like everyone was cooler than me, and had friends who would @reply them inside jokes or RT all their genius blog links.

My mother has three times the amount of followers that I do. This is hard for me to swallow.

When I moved back to my home town after graduating from college, I didn’t have any year-round friends. My town is really a glorified summer community, with barely 2,000 year round residents, and most of my friends at the time had left for the winter or gone back to school. Long story short I was lonely and spent all my time hanging with my dog (awesome) and my dad (awesomer, if possible). I was bad at extending myself, because I had little belief in my self worth and was simultaineously too proud to ask for company. One day, I had reached such a low and was so bored and sad, I decided that I had had enough of punishing myself and I asked this girl if she wanted to walk Spanky – the dog – with me. This girl is now one of my best friends. This incident was the beginning of my becoming the part of a larger, fantastic, and fun social network.

Now, I told you that longwinded story as an analogy, which I’m sure was not lost on you, my genius marzipanling. The point is, I am back on Twitter. I have decided that it is time to face my fears of rejection and unpopularity. I have spent the last couple of weeks just slowly chipping away at the megaphenomenon that Twitter has become. Just like I once asked SB to go for a walk with Spanky, I have been swallowing my fear and pride and have extended myself, over and over and sometimes ad nauseam, and I have (slowly) been making friends.

And the feeling of conquering this fear is fantastic. The fact is, if you want to have a successful blog, or if you want to make friends and become a part of a community of like-minded people, social media networking is key.

What kinds of tasks have you been avoiding that you know will be good for your personal/professional life?

And, bonus, how might you feel if you just bit the bullet and take action today?

Also, you may have noticed a bit of a theme this week. I’m beginning a series now about blogging/website maintenance/social media networking and their relationship with personal confidence, pride in your ideas, and the ways in which blogging/networking can work to repair your self image by building a supportive community. Let me know if you’re interested in contributing: