Introvert to (Digital) Extrovert… Developing

I hate attention. I tend to be shy and am crazy awkward when I have to interact with new people. People who have just met me would probably say, “Akio… who?”

Used with permission from Gemma Correll
Used with permission from Gemma Correll

This state of mind was true for me when I first started COETAIL. Hearing about how I should increase my online presence for my professional development from Karen Blumberg (@karenblumberg), the Educational Technologist at The School at Columbia University, back in 2012, I even started my own blog, bought my own domain name and everything. (You can take a look at that desert at I started writing a few things on this blog, and looking at it now, I have a bunch of drafts that I still haven’t published. What stopped me?

I wanted approval from someone that what I was trying to share is worth something. It’s not that I don’t think I have good ideas or strange thoughts that could benefit people, I had too many insecurities like, “What if my grammar is all wrong?” “What if it’s not an original thought?” This also stopped me from responding to blog posts that I read. Having to blog and comment as my main COETAIL assignment allowed me to get past these fears. Just because things are “published,” I can still edit and change them. Updates are always okay. The experience of posting on the internet allowed me to realize that what I put out there doesn’t need to be permanent, and led me to become a contributor in the digital world.

Some rights reserved by mkhmarketing
Some rights reserved by mkhmarketing

While I was becoming more aware of the organic nature of how I can post online, over the past year and half, I have become a more active Twitter user. I tweet whenever I hear something interesting or learn something new. I tweet to share what I’m thinking about, and I even had a chance to moderate @asiaEDchat (Thanks, @mrkempnz). I think these opportunities appeared because of my increased presence online.

I have been presenting at workshops and conferences for the past few years, as a way for me to share my thoughts and reflect on my teaching. This personal way that I have been connecting with people grew a bit more when I was asked to be a cohort facilitator at Learning 2.014. My first instinct was, what do I know? Presenting is one thing, but leading and supporting people through discussions? I’m not so sure… But after thinking about the experience as a way for me to connect with more people and increase everyone’s learning potential, I found this experience also to be fruitful. Through this process, I was able to find partners to collaborate in this year’s Global Read Aloud and meet some really interesting people. Looking back, that’s definitely something I would do again!

It almost sounds like I’m enjoying all this connecting with others… I think I do. That’s a definite change.

Some rights reserved by Andreas Kay
I know, I know, but you always see pictures of butterflies coming out of its cocoon.
Some rights reserved by Andreas Kay

I wouldn’t say that I’m a full blown extrovert. I’m still definitely an introvert and it takes a lot of effort to put myself out there, but now, I have reasons to keep pushing myself to develop. Thinking back to my first post on the COETAIL blog, “Intentions on the Internet,” what are my intentions on the internet and beyond?

  • to connect
  • to learn from others
  • to express myself

I’m thankful to all the people who helped me get to where I am now and will continue to push me to learn and connect. I know I didn’t do all of this alone. I look forward to continuing to read other people’s blogs, responding and joining conversations, participating on Twitter chats, and connecting with more people, in person.

Thanks for reading this blog post that went way too long!


2 thoughts on “Introvert to (Digital) Extrovert… Developing

  1. So great to read this post, Akio! It’s been fantastic to see you sharing and leading in lots of spaces throughout the whole COETAIL program – you were the first brave person to offer to host a GHangout too back in Course 1!

  2. As I was reading your post, I was feeling as if someone is narrating my story…..
    Coetail has helped me to change my attitude towards sharing my thoughts online. I was conservative in sharing my personal beliefs and now I am moving towards a culture of sharing and working collaboratively with a network of professionals.
    Things have changed for me too!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s