kgitch on authenticity

When I joined this #etmooc, I asked the question “How, in the big picture of 1600 people, does one connect inside this MOOC?” @AlisonSeaman left a comment on my blog encouraging me to remember what it takes to get to know someone in real life and to allow myself the time to become acquainted. She was right. It takes time to develop friendships, connections, and trust.  It certainly wasn’t going to change in one hour session! I should have just posted a sign that says “Like me, I need a network!”

Suddenly I felt vulnerable, which I always think of as a bad thing, when it is not! My thought was that it was going to be a virtual miracle to find another like voice in the mix, to see a smile in the distance or find a person with common ground to relate on. So, I continued to just listen in, read all the thoughts, share the links and pondered my role in this course.

As I shared in my “Also kgitch“, I like to follow (both on blogs & twitter) people that share more than just one thing.  As in everything I do, I want to develop a network of people that I enjoy following for all of their thoughts – not just their stance on education. I like to see people talking, links and posts that are fun, thoughtful or spoken.

Yet this week as I pumped out my links & retweeting all the great #etmooc tweets, I caught myself being nothing but that person. The one that I don’t like to follow.

Chagrined… I realized that I need to be more transparent. I need to be more of an authentic person.

As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been challenging myself to let go of my vulnerabilities. You know, the little voice in my head that says I shouldn’t comment on that thought, or the one that worries “if I put a “smiley” face on something I won’t be taken seriously”, or being nervous to join a conversation in case they won’t like my point of view.

In a random twist, as I pondering this, I came across this fabulous video of @jonathanfields interviewing @brenebrown on the Power of Vulnerability. The points that fit here are these: “Get over the illusion of separateness.” and how she said “I trusted my professional self more than my personal self.”  “That there are stories to be told, songs to be played, and if everyone is afraid to share them, then the world mourns that loss.” There it was for me: 1) that I needed to stop thinking of myself as separate from all the other participants; 2) that I needed to trust my personal self as much as my professional self; and 3) that there is a story or thought I have that is worth sharing. (This is an amazing interview – speaks to academics, entrepreneurs and to each person who risks sharing themselves.)

This leads me back to this Connected Learning #etmooc and how to develop a personal network that I can both learn from and be authentic with.

Tonight, as I was typing this post, @AlisonSeaman shared a link to this article: The best approach to building relationships by @johnstepper, which identified five points in building purposeful relationships:

Generosity: thinking first of what you have to offer instead of what you need

Empathy: thinking of how the other person will think and react to what you say or do

Authenticity: being your true self

Intimacy: getting beyond small talk to things that matter

Vulnerability: offering up your own imperfections and need for help

I am reminded to be thoughtful and ask myself what I can share in this network that shows those traits. I want to ensure that I am giving as much as asking. And while I am looking for commonalities, shared likes, thoughts and methods. I am a human, not a robot. There are beautiful songs to share, videos that make you laugh or cry and photos to share. Post stories, thoughts, ideas. Have a bad day every once in a while, for pete’s sake, it happens.

Who I am offline is also an aspect of who I am online. I am Karin with my family; I am Karin with my friends; I am Karin with my coworkers. Who has time or the energy to be completely different in all those different roles?

Be authentic, be real.

And continue to share.

BTW: If you haven’t read anything on it, this is an excellent post by Erin Stark “On digital dualism (or why, in 2013, are people still fear mongering the Internet?) ).


10 thoughts on “kgitch on authenticity

  1. Hi Karin,

    Wonderful post. Your thoughts are extremely valuable and you are very generous with them. They resonated with me as I also am sometimes reluctant to comment in case of feeling stupid etc..

    I loved Brene Brown’s TED talk so am looking forward to having the chance to watch the interview. Thanks so much for the link.

    On a perosnal note I’ve missed a lot of #etmooc this week as we have been away. I’m about to go for a bike ride in the beautiful Buckland Valley before we head home later this morning.

    Keep on posting please!


    • Rebekah,
      I re-watched the interview this morning, and keep finding more gems that I wish I had added in to this post. Her conversation on academia “speak” and her decision to speak to all people in language that they understand is valuable. Let me know what you think, if you end up watching this. I’m just starting her book, Daring Greatly – I’m sure I’ll have thoughts. 🙂

      I spent the morning with my parents, and have just returned to relax with some hot chocolate and reading. It’s cold, foggy and miserable weather here – so I am thoroughly jealous of your bike ride. Hope you enjoyed it.

      Take care, and thanks for stopping by! (BTW are you one Twitter? Just searched your name, and didn’t find – I’d love to follow, let me know how to find you.)
      ~Karin (@kgitch)

  2. Great post! I think finding our voice online takes time but once we have found it and are being authentic it makes it easier for others to relate to us. We all have something to share ‘Our ordinary can be someone else’s extraordinary.’

    • Hi Mary,
      It’s been interesting to feel the need to “adjust” my voice as I become more and more involved in the edtech/etmooc conversations. This video was profound for me to find my comfort in being authentic & transparent, speaking to the person, not just the concepts. I shall continue to find the ordinary moments and feel immense gratitude for the connecting, cheering and participating. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.
      ~Karin (kgitch)

  3. Fantastic Post Karin. I struggle with this concept both offline and online. I tend to silo my life or compartmentalize like crazy, but am starting to see the mistake in that. This course is helping me open up and reading your post as well as the little twitter excerpt(how did you do that- it looks very cool) makes me see that I am not alone in this struggle. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to watch the interview when I get somewhere quieter.

    A couple of hours before the next BB session (I can make it to the one! ) so I think I’ll walk my dog- hot chocolate sounds good for when I get back.

    • Allison,
      So nice to read your comment, thank you. You are not alone in the struggle, have you started a blog yet? Do let me know, I’d like to add you to my reader. (also, happy to have found you on Twitter!)

      RE: (how did you do that- it looks very cool) – The twitter photo was a screen shot that I took of the conversation; cropped to show just their words; saved it as a jpg in Paint and then uploaded it to my blog. I try to use as many photos of my own taking/creating, takes the copyright terror away. 🙂

      Hope your walk was fantastic, and I’ll see you on BB in a few hours.
      ~Karin (kgitch)

  4. Pingback: Digital Identity: Express Yourself | Prairie Inspiration

  5. Hi Karin. I saw this post right after you wrote it and kept it in a tab in Google Chrome just waiting to read it. I knew from seeing the points on purposeful relationships, that I wanted to have time to read and ponder what you’d written. I’ve been remiss in not visiting your blog this past week and made a promise to myself to connect with you. Thanks for having been so encouraging with your Tweets and even re-posting my blog post. Didn’t know you could do that 🙂

    I connected quickly to your post from the opening paragraph where you talked about @AlisonSeaman’s encouragement to “remember what it takes to get to know someone in real life and to allow myself the time to become acquainted. She was right. It takes time to develop friendships, connections, and trust. It certainly wasn’t going to change in a one hour session! I should have just posted a sign that says “Like me, I need a network!” To be honest, sometimes that last sentence is SO me! LOL 🙂 I’m so isolated in my area that having some online professional relationships has become important to me. It’s helped me feel less like I’m on an island here in Siskiyou County. Do you ever feel like that where you live and work? (BTW, @AlisonSeamon is amazing in her ability to link us with good articles/posts, don’t you think?)

    Learning how to navigate this process has been “messy” learning for me, as I’m sure it has been for you. I enjoy the Tweeting activity, chats, and blogging (reading, commenting, posting), but it also has been at times with the concern that I might be misunderstood. How do I cultivate my “voice” that people recognize and know? Your comment says it perfectly:

    “I’ve been challenging myself to let go of my vulnerabilities. You know, the little voice in my head that says I shouldn’t comment on that thought, or the one that worries “if I put a “smiley” face on something I won’t be taken seriously”, or being nervous to join a conversation in case they won’t like my point of view.”

    I think the ETMOOC experience has pressed in on us in way that helps us to take a good look inside and see what is the “stuff” of our relationships, what we mean to others, and what they mean to us. Your post is a reminder to not give ourselves over to being whom we are not. On a personal note, my wife went through treatment for breast cancer. I went to all of her chemo treatments. We were just ourselves and tried to show love and empathic care for others. That’s where our heart is and is who we think God wants us to be, even though she teaches third grade and I’m into using technology for learning. I think remembering to focus on relationships motivated my last post. I once heard the quote, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Have a great week and thanks for your loving kindess 🙂 I’ll look forward to watching the video.

    • Glenn,
      I’m so glad you waited to respond, because your timing was fantastic on a difficult day. Thank you. As for the reblogging – I truly loved your post and have decided to use the “Al Smith @literateowl” model of reblogging and sharing ideas. 🙂 (He’s fantastic at it on both of his blogs.) Inspiration does not come from me alone, and I’m so grateful that WordPress has this option.

      In all honesty, watching you network, post and share, has completely inspired me! So, thank you for finding connection in my words. This etmooc experience has been amazing for me, I feel like I’ve filled up a bookshelf with blogs to read and tools to learn/use. In my area, it’s been striking to see how few people are online, on twitter, sharing/communicating – so in essence I share your feeling of isolation on an island that has frozen over. I’m constantly baffled by the lack of participation and online presence in my work. That said, joining this community of educators has given me a renewed feeling of connection and confirms over and over in my mind that this “connected learning” has tremendous potential and power.

      Following the conversation yesterday on the purpose of “commenting” in blogs, I have to say, for me? The commenting IS the connected learning. 🙂
      Take care Glenn, chat with you soon.

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