How I Faced My Fear of the Internet

Posted on September 8, 2013

I’ve always wanted to have a blog. Ever since the early days of Blogger, I’ve fantasized about having a little nook online to share my thoughts with the world.

Even after university, when I actually had the tools to set up my own site and get blogging, something always held me back. A nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that cautioned me against baring it all in such a public space.

I’ll admit it, I have a underlying fear of the internet.

I think this stems from a childhood obsession with being liked (and a unique surname that makes anonymity extremely difficult with Google’s increasingly accurate search algorithms).

I’m afraid of negative feedback, am convinced online trolls are much scarier than the ones in Lord of the Rings and have a crippling fear of bad publicity.

Judgement Day

Earlier this week one of my posts was picked up by Social Media Today and got quite a bit of coverage online.

Believe you me, I was petrified.

Everyone had great advice: make sure to reply to the comments, write a new post as soon as possible to build on the traction. What did I do? A grand total of nothing.

I froze up. I was afraid to write a new post, I didn’t want to reply to comments for fear of sparking a heated online debate. But most importantly, I wanted to go back to obscurity, where writing blog posts was a fun way to flex a muscle, regardless of whether people read them or not.

I had to give myself a figurative slap in the face to snap out of it.

I’ve said it before, blogging is a conversation. My goal going into this was to create conversation. And you can’t very well be content sitting there having a dialogue with yourself. After all, the reason I wrote the post in the first place was in the hope that it might generate some interest.

Taking the bull by the horns

So I did what you’re supposed to do when facing any irrational fear: do the very thing that scares you.

And that is why, ladies and gents, you are reading this post today. Not only am I facing my fear of putting myself out there, but I am even writing about the embarrassment of being the internet’s biggest scaredy cat.

While it may seem ironic that I have chosen to go into a field that scares me, I think it actually helps shape my perspective on certain topics.

With just a quick skim through this blog, you’ll notice that I talk a lot about privacy and being careful about what you share online. I’m also a stickler for protecting your professional brand on the internet and the dangers associated with getting too familiar in a medium that is, for the most part, unregulated.

It may not be the ‘Go get ’em!’ ‘Do whatever it takes!’ attitude to getting big online, but that’s not my game. And that’s certainly not why I started Intent Social.

After all, the word ‘intent’ implies purpose and thoughtfulness and my fear allows me to appreciate the brevity behind putting something out there for generations to see. Because, like it or not, data lasts forever.

photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc

3 Replies to "How I Faced My Fear of the Internet"

  • Michael
    September 9, 2013 (11:00 pm)

    I like your ability to articulate thought succinctly. One incredibly minor gripe is the use of ‘ladies and gents’; it is only me sitting here reading your blog and my personal position on the existence of blogs is that they are an intimate communication between writer and reader. As you say, starting a conversation (perhaps in a slightly more intraverted way than regular face to face communication); I’d like to, in my own selfish mind, feel like you are talking to just me.

    • Lisa Onland
      September 10, 2013 (7:06 pm)

      Great point Michael, will keep that in mind for future posts!

  • Gil Datz
    October 3, 2013 (7:26 pm)

    Appreciate your honesty and vulnerability with how the whole process feels. I think you did a great job putting it all into words. I bet a lot of us feel that way. Thanks, Lisa!

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