(Thanks for the feedback from yesterday’s post, the feedback I got, online and off was so much more than I was expecting but reassures me that I’m heading in the right direction with this idea of spilling more here. Anyway…)

I’ve always been terribly afraid of talking in public. Not to the point that I won’t do it, but it’s always something I’ve been self conscious about and something I know I want to be better at doing. Anyone who knows me can see this in something as simple as how different I am in a room full of people I know and a room full of people I don’t. It’s a change I don’t even notice so much myself, but enough people have pointed it out to me that I know I clam up when it’s an unfamiliar situation. A few years ago I decided that a good way to help work through this was to push past my comfort zone by speaking in public at events. I started accepting invitations (previously I’d been declining them) to sit on panels at conferences and forcing myself to get comfortable talking to rooms full of people I don’t know.

In the last few years I’ve spoken at more than a handful of conferences all around the world but mostly I’ve been talking about blogs and communities. In fact I’m speaking later this month in Orlando, Florida at IZEAfest. The similar thread here is someone else has always come up with an idea and asked me to join them talking about it, and that’s about all I could imagine doing anyway. Earlier this year I realized that being on panels was now easy and I needed to push myself into the next level of this and actually pitch something myself. At the very last minute I pitched two sessions for the 2009 SXSWi conference which takes place in Austin, Texas. I pitched the same two sessions, plus another for 25C3 which happens later this year in Berlin. As you’ll notice these are a wide range of topics so I have no idea what will actually be accepted, and I also have no idea how I’ll pull them off if any of them do in fact get accepted. I mean, I’m sure I will, but that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous as hell.

First and foremost is the session about Metblogs. With this one Jason and I (and perhaps a few others) will lay out some of the things we’ve done, would have done differently given the benefit of hindsight, and where all this might end up going. I’ve got a longer post to make here about some of that as well but that’s for a little later. The next two topics are a bit more of a stretch – changing the world and zombies. Both topics near and dear to me, and I’m comfortable talking about, but will still be scared to try and talk to a group of people about. That said, if they work out I hope all three of these will lead to very fun sessions with positive results for anyone in attendance. Most of all I hope it chips away one more layer of being overly guarded and helps me become more comfortable with myself and what I have to say. I guess I should be worrying if anyone wants to hear any of it, but I can only tackle one aspect of this at at time. 😉