The last couple of weeks I've been fighting a sore throat and an ear infection. It was probably about time I got sick, since everybody around me had gotten suck some way or another, but the timing is less than great because on Saturday I'm speaking at the 2007 Northern Voice blogging conference. I'm a little nervous about it, part out of lack of preparation (more about that below) but also because while the infection's gone, my left ear sometimes goes partially deaf. (I rarely talk about my health in public like this—same goes for my family—but this time I'll make an exception.) My doctor assures me it will heal fully, and it 'pops' every now and then, but it got me thinking about how Stephen Colbert, whom I learned from his Wikipedia page that he is deaf in his right ear, deals with it on a day-to-day basis. Does he, when he holds his wife's hand, stand on her right side so that his functioning ear is directed towards her? Looks like it on the photo that currently adorns the Wikipedia page.
About the lack of preparation: for three summers I did group and individual Internet training, and I've been blogging for 6 years plus now, so I know the subject matter inside and out and have experience public speaking (and enjoy it very much, I made a note of it to my colleagues at a retreat and they responded positively). It's just that I'm a little rusty, the ear infection/sore throat threw me for a small loop, and regardless of that, I'm sometimes stutter when in unfamiliar situations, making them a little scarier than they already are. (Breathing exercises help, so that should not be a big issue, plus audiences are often forgiving. Barack Obama stutters when he starts sentences, especially when he's out of rhythm, but this humanizes him.) I'm keeping slides to an absolute minimum, since I want to keep the session interactive, encouraging questions getting people to start a blog if they don't already have one. Maybe they can use it to post notes on the next session they attend!
I'm not as nervous as I let on, though, because I have a backup plan if the wireless Internet stops working (a conference full of bloggers and photographers itching to be the first to post their thoughts and photos sounds like trouble to me), and I'm confident that I know my stuff. So why so much digital ink spilled over this? Darren Barefoot wrote that Twitter doesn't solve a problem for him, but it does for me. Like Anil, I originally wanted to hate it, but I use it for one-liners, and as Tanya writes in Darren's comments, “transparency has become a part of my life, so when I saw through Tod [Maffin]’s blog that a ’social engine’ has actually made its way to the mainstream, I was pleased.” I'm pleased that blogging is mainstream, because I too like the transparency, and it's fun to share (not all the time, but a lot of the time), and admitting vulnerability every now and then lets yourself off the hook when you weren't on the hook to begin with.