About a month ago, the lovely Kate Theimer got in touch with me to see if I’d be up for writing a chapter on social media and archives for a SAA textbook. I said OK, albeit a little hesitantly as I’d never written anything like this before.
Today I passed in my draft and am feeling immensely relieved and a little bit proud of myself. All those pages took a while to pull together, but through a lot of late nights and help from the talented folks at Historypin, The New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Wisconsin Historical Society, Archives Next, and the CBC Digital Archives, it all came together. Working with such interesting organizations and institutions was really humbling… I’m still in awe that they even replied to my emails!
What has been great about this experience is the confidence I’ve gained in my own knowledge and abilities. If I’m able to pass on my experience to others and it helps them, then I must be doing things right. As someone who previously hid in the bathroom to have a panic attack before public speaking in university and had to have term papers wrenched from my hands, feeling sure of myself was pretty cool.
A few months ago I was a guest speaker at a MSVU social media class, along with the fabulous Kimberly Walsh. Before the class I fidgeted and felt my heart race, but once I started talking, everything gradually calmed down. This is stuff I know and practice every day. I understand it, and I can help others understand it. What an amazing feeling. I ‘ll probably always get the urge to run off and hide when asked to talk to a group… heck, even some meetings make me squirm, but I’m getting better. I’m learning to recognize myself as something other than a ball of nerves.