A few of you mentioned having had to face the whole "extroverted is better" thing, and that's definitely out there--in fact, in some diagnostic systems, introversion is considered a symptom of a disorder. There are plenty of folks who heartily disagree with that view, though, and there's even a book about it. Research shows extroverts do tend to be happier, but it also demonstrates that happiness is not the number one goal in life for introverts. Introverts brains are more active than those of extraverts, and this may be why more introverted individuals choose to spend more time alone than with others.
|What a bunch of wallflowers we are.|
Now--what about social media? If you Google "introversion [or extroversion] and social media", you will find all sorts of conflicting opinions about who's using it and how well they're doing it. When I see that kind of thing, I head straight for the research.
What the research says: extroverts tend to use social media more than introverts.
That certainly makes sense to me. Extroverts crave social contact more than introverts, so when given another outlet for that kind of thing, they'd use it. Introverts have less need for that kind of contact, so they might not reach out.
However, I found some other stuff, too. I found (unscientific) polls indicating that a huge amount of social media users consider themselves introverted. I found several articles citing anecdotal evidence about introverts making great use of social media to measure and control their social contact--in other words, social media is a way for them to get their socializing done in manageable doses that don't overwhelm or irritate.
I had a few reasons for being invisible on the internet--first, I'm a psychologist and I do have clients, and there's a boundary issue there (would anybody be interested in hearing more about those issues in the future? I don't know how interesting that kind of thing is for people). But second, I just ... didn't see the need. I still don't do Facebook at all. I have my blog now, as well as a Twitter account. I've found a lot of joy and fulfillment in making contact with people through these avenues, and I love being a part of this community. For a group that tends toward introversion, we writers certainly do have a fun time, don't we?
I do find myself getting overwhelmed sometimes, though. I'm not a voluble Tweeter, and I often find myself watching more than I participate, which is just fine with me. I'm a lurker. And, unlike in-person situations, when I lurk online, no one really knows I'm there. Sometimes I like that. Sometimes I don't, and then I have to try to reach out--because otherwise, I'm totally invisible to people!
So--how about you? Are you more likely to socialize if there's a screen between you and other people? Are you on the reserved side, even as a social media user? Do you have an outgoing persona, or do your introverted/extroverted tendencies carry over to your online behaviors? Do you lurk, like me, or are you out there and involved? Has social media replaced any of your in-person relationships? Does it fill the same need? And do you get overwhelmed and turn it off sometimes--or not?
Also, it's Wednesday, and that means Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog! Check out Laura's blog (she's also an introvert, by the way), where she'll answer this month's question: How would you personify your muse?