Overcoming Social Media Stage Fright
In my early twenties I overcame shyness.
It dawned on me that shyness didn’t necessarily happen only to humble people. In fact, this feature could have its origin in pride, avoidance of making mistakes and fear of judgment. In my case, I simply didn’t put in enough effort to connect with people.
A few years ago, I initiated a journey towards overcoming social media stage fright.
Social media stage fright is just like stage fright (glossophobia) but to a virtual audience. If you’ve seen this video , you might not believe me, the same way people find it hard to take me seriously the moment I tell them I used to be shy. It was when I started working in a commercial position that I realised it was time to face it.
As with any other phobias, like fear of spiders, you don’t have to deal with it if you live in completely spider-free environments. It doesn’t bother your life at all, so you can leave it aside and forget about it. But if, for any reason, destiny plays a trick on you by presenting an advantageous career move that requires dwelling with spiders, your arachnophobia might be something that holds you back professionally. And, sadly, you just might choose to settle for less. The worst thing is that you might not be conscious of how your fears are influencing your decisions, or you might easily fool yourself into thinking that such career option wouldn’t be for you anyway. But… wouldn’t it be such a sad waste if you happened to have all the qualifications and abilities required for a great job?
You can turn your nose up to it and come up with sentences like “I can’t be bothered to post anything, so I’ll just stay on it to keep in touch with my friends”, “You only see inflated egos and vanity in the feeds – I would never expose myself like that”. Humans have always had examples of constant-praise-seekers and superficiality – technology and social media just make it more visible. Don’t blame the medium. Still, you don’t have to conform to that flat use of the media. You can curate your own feed and contribute in a meaningful way.
As stated by the co-author of the international series Identities and Personal Best in his plenary at BRAZ-TESOL 2018 and more recently in an interview for New Routes, “show the world what you can do. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”
Social media stage fright is quite common, and it is definitely one of the reasons why it took me so long to start blogging. I finally managed to write for the DISAL blog during 2018 and am now writing for Richmond Share. I still get butterflies, though.
If you are one of those that openly despise social media, that is ok depending on the career choices you make. But if you have certain goals or dreams, avoiding an online presence at all costs might be preventing you from getting where you want and should be.