Sterling, online interaction can definitely
help you become more extroverted and socially adept, but it all depends on the environment. Its good to find supportive communities online (like us!
) and let yourself grow and develop within those support structures. As you do, you'll find your self-confidence will build as well. It's all about having a safe way to let your personality grow to the point that you are sure it.
I went through a transformation like that in grade school. As a young kid, I never got along with my classmates - I was always able to relate better to adults, so I didn't get much age peer interaction. However, Christmas of 7th grade my family got our first computer, and I started meeting people my age (or supposedly my age) online through IM clients and forums. I found more extrovert in me than I ever had before, and when I got to High School, I was able to grow that out even more. I'm not sure if I'd have been able to grow as effectively in HS if I hadn't had a chance to develop in a less pressured environment first.
It does happen, you just have to give it time.