Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Social Media Introvert?


Would you classify yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert
a shy person

Extrovert
an outgoing, gregarious person.

Fundamentally a rather simple question, however not always such an easy answer because many times we can exhibit qualities of both. Personally I would classify myself as an introvert, however if you ask anyone who knows me I am a talker. I mean, I literally talk ALL THE TIME and will typically talk to most anyone. I blog, I twitter, I run the gamut on most social networking sites but even then, I lurk in the shadows until someone or something draws me out of my comfort zone (or perhaps I've had a few cocktails.)

I logged into twitter this morning, like I always do, to find a tweet linking back to a BlogHer post by Maria Niles "Social Media is for Introverts." I immediately read the article nodding my head in agreement with so many of her points.
Introverts conjure up images of anti-social hermits. Yet some of the biggest users of social media consider themselves introverts.
Could this really be? Are we lurking behind the screen in the comfort of our own settings giving even the biggest extrovert a run for his socializing money? I think so.

In a post prompted once again by a twitter discussion Pete Cashmore writes:
Perhaps social media affords us the control we lack in real life socializing: the screen as a barrier between us and the world.
This prompted me to think, perhaps my own want to be involved but to feel in somewhat control has left me following the introverted path in life and explains why in a social setting I am usually standing in the crowd, thoughts swirling with things to say yet feeling utterly invisible to the world. It would possibly also explain why the hub and I are so compatible...he is the extrovert to my introvert.

No, he is not so much for online interaction, but give him a crowd and the spotlight appears. I on the other hand, excel at behind the screen communications and typically shy away from first IRL meetings. Give me a few of these in person communications and then I am usually ok...its breaking that barrier that I struggle with the most.

Perhaps that is the irony in all of this - Social Media and Social Networking is about the communication between people, clients and businesses and yet it's socializing on a whole new level. Technology has provided a link to the masses that affords all of us (introverts and extroverts alike) a rather level playing field. I can meet and chat with people I might never have the courage to speak to face to face as well as share thoughts and discussions with people I might never have had the chance to meet who are just as introverted as myself.

Are you an introvert or extrovert and do you think social media challenges the traditional view of these roles?

7 comments:

A Buns Life said...

I'm even more of a "social butterfly" in real life.....if I know you and feel comfortable in the situation I am in. Good luck shutting me up. :)
I censor myself more online than I do IRL because you can't hear my sarcastic tone or see my smile and know that I am teasing you when I type, so I worry that people will misread what I am typing and think that I am just being bitchy.

Semi-Charmed Wife said...

Have you ever taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? I always score strongly introverted on that one. I think for me, it's that I require a lot of time alone or with just my husband in order to maintain my sanity and energy. I can go to the occasional cocktail party and talk to everyone and put on my best extrovert face, but it must be immediately followed by an alone-time recharging session.

I don't really use a lot of social media (I have Facebook and MySpace, but rarely am active on them) so I'm not sure how that impacts me...

jen @ the cubicle's backporch said...

I'm an introvert, although I can be fairly outgoing depending on the day. Mr. C is definitely an extrovert. He's always the life of the party and is always making sure everyone is having a good time.

Jenn said...

I'm an introvert...but my job forces me to be an extrovert.

Good post--thought-provoking.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Mr. Mayhem and I fight for the spotlight in our everyday lives. I am extremely extroverted and feel a compulsive need to be the center of attention.

Many people think this is crazy....but I can't STAND to be alone! Really....to a ridiculous level! Can we codependent? Maybe!

GoteeMan said...

I used to be an extrovert, but I am probably becoming more reserved and needing more alone time now than I ever have before in my life...

Sometimes, it just seems there is so much noise... I need the quiet time of not having any demands or requests to fulfill. I have to be able to get still and quiet and just rest and listen... which is funny, because 10 years ago, I couldn't stand to be alone or quiet...

But I am still a "class clown" and totally comfortable goofing and being transparent... all at the same time.

J/

DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM said...

I'm definitely an introvert. I'm very quiet IRL until I get to know a person. And I love internet social networking because like the man you quoted said, it gives us that safety net.
I even met my husband online!