There has been a lot of talk about introverts lately. The novel ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain thrust the introverted world into the forefront of discussion. Cain presents the idea that our world is built for extroverts to thrive and introverts must learn to exist within these expectations. Our digital world is an extension of this idea. Social media creates the expectation of constant group interaction.
In our society, the ideal self is bold, gregarious, and comfortable in the spotlight. We like to think that we value individuality, but mostly we admire the type of individual who’s comfortable ‘putting himself out there.’ -Susan Cain
There is no general consensus among introverts on their opinions of social media. Social media is all about contributing the group. A post is hashtagged, retweeted, commented on and generally shared as part of a larger global discussion. Many introverts thrive in this environment. Rather than having to enter into our over-stimulated, over-collaborating world, an introvert can work within their own mind, time and space to create ideas. Introverts can share their ideas when they have comfortably completed them. There doesn’t need to be small talk before or after the conversation. The online world has created space for the introvert. Another advantage of social media is that a person can interact as little or as much as they want. Many introverts may just lurk online. They may just enjoy watching the action rather than engaging. Some may post more often. Introverts can post as little or as much as they like and when they feel like it. Many introverts thrive in our digital world.
Some introverts may enjoy the flexibility of the recreational aspects of social media. But what happens when an introvert meets the professional expectation of a social media brand? So.Much.Pressure. Many introverts don’t like revealing much of themselves to the general public, and would rather stick to small social circles to confide in. This isn’t possible when you need to create a social media brand. In our generation, an online presence is very important in the business world. How does the introvert thrive now? They are again forced to create an online personality engaging with people constantly. An introvert values quality over quantity in their interactions. They like to contribute when they are offering value. With social media in the professional world there is a great pressure to be always producing. Tweet. Post. Update. Blog. Like. Share. Comment. Do this every day to create traffic and attention towards your brand. This is a lot of pressure for an introvert. Rather than being able to post when they want, with their ideas complete, they are forced to engage in the quantity over quality world that they are uncomfortable in. Introverts now have to be constantly creating a conscious image online. They are once again playing by the extrovert’s rules. The expectation is that they will be always posting and interacting. The same expectations that plague our physical world have just transcended the boundaries of the digital world and introverts now face the same pressure online as they do in their day to day life.
So are you an introvert? Do you love social media or are you intimidated by the constant need to interact?