Introverts and social media: It’s all about vibes


Photo credit: todayandtomorrow.net

As a proud introvert, I TOTALLY identify with this post from Mack Collier about why introverts love social media.

On the first listen, the phrase “introverts love social media” sounds almost moronic. Introverts? Those people who grow anxious at the site of a networking event invitation? The ones who avoid the mall on Black Friday like the viral plague?  The people who wake in cold sweats from nightmares about strobe lights, club beats and shouted conversations? They love social media?

Yes, they do. I do. At first, I wondered if the “offline introvert, online extrovert” phenomenon resulted from thinking that “online” defined something different from real life.

But then I realized: online life removes one major offline roadblock that often deters introverts from truly opening up:

Vibes.

We act a little differently online than we do in person because:

Introverts tend to be very sensitive to other people’s body language, moods and tones. Someone having a crappy day can throw me off for a good hour…sometimes until I go to bed. Introverts pick up on other people’s energies very easily, so something as simple as a misplaced eye roll or a squarely folded pair of arms can put us in a funk.

Introverts tend to study people intensely. While they chat away, we size people up, making keen observations about their appearance and mannerisms. This can deplete our already limited energy reserves very quickly.

Humans give off an array of chemicals, hormones and feelings. Again, these stimuli hit introverts much more intensely, so we tend to experience sensory overload, and shut down.

But online, human vibes are filtered by text, images and emoticons. That’s why many people often misinterpret e-mails and text messages. You don’t get the full dose of all that invisible stuff typically oozing from people when you meet in person. So, there’s more energy to go around: lots of chatting, information-sharing, photo-taking and video editing. AND, you can always turn the volume down. Hooray!

Let’s be real, though. People who lead lives like the grandparents from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Grandpa Joe being the exception, of course) will likely not do well in social media careers. Just because introverts may prefer staying at home with a good book to going on a bender, that doesn’t mean they don’t routinely interact well with others — online or otherwise.

So, what do you think? If you’re an introvert (or even if you’re not), why do you love social media?

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About Christine Geraci

Social Media Specialist and blogger. Mom. Wife. Journalist. Political junkie. Formidable cook. Solid addition to any music trivia team.

10 responses to “Introverts and social media: It’s all about vibes”

  1. Mack Collier says :

    Christine I like your point about vibes, and I think it’s very valid. However, I wonder if sometimes we are TOO sensitive to vibes, and maybe read too much into the body language of others?

    What do you think?

    • christinegeraci says :

      Hi Mack. You make a good point. Personally, I think it depends on the individual. For example, people who want to facilitate balance and make everyone around them happy will likely pick up on — and read more into — silent cues from others in offline social situations. Is this being too sensitive? Maybe. As an introvert, I know I’m guilty of this at times. Likewise, I think some introverts just close themselves off to vibes to avoid system overload, but risk being too aloof to pick up on important subtleties.

      Interacting online through social media channels, however, can help to even out these introverted extremes. Still, it’s possible to read too much into a person’s typed words. But that might be more an issue of confidence, or paranoia, or poor word choice. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

      • tobeydeys says :

        I would agree that sometimes I am too sensitive (make assumptions, take things personally) where even an insensitive stranger can curdle my coffee. I’ve worked on resolving this by reminding myself that it is, most often, not about me. Usually a deep breath and a smile helps. :-)

      • christinegeraci says :

        I completely understand where you’re coming from. What a great mantra…”deep breath and a smile…” :)

  2. janeblogsnow says :

    I love social media because it allows me to document my many daily thoughts and ramblings so that later I can come back to them and pick up where I left off. It helps me find a difinitive point of view I have on topics rather than just ‘daydream’ about them at a high level. They are then written in type, to return to and build on if I want/need to.

    I love that then people can comment on my opinions and allow me to think about things in a new way that I may have not been exposed to by the people I know IRL – as people ‘tend’ to suuround themselves with similar types of people and thus opinions can be similar (not saying that I do, but it is nice to get a fresh perspective from someone potentially living a completely different lifestyle from those around you).

    And, btw, I am definitely an extrovert.

    Good post – it has definitely got me thinking.

    Jane xx

  3. Jody urquhart says :

    You have a way with words! Great… The stuff you get oozing out of people when you meet in person. Yes we can turn down social media. The bat advantage to me is I can skim read. Cut straight to the good stuff. In person some people go on and on and I don’t want to be rude but I’m thinking man I wish they would get to the point!

    • christinegeraci says :

      Thanks Jody! I hear you on the skim reading. I guess when someone’s droning on in person, we do our own version of “skim reading” where we only perk up when we hear a phrase that hits home in some way. :)

  4. tobeydeys says :

    Hi Christine,

    Your observations are spot on! Interacting on social media networks allows me to engage and communicate from a comfortable ‘distance’.

    I like people very much – and enjoy connecting with them in real life – but just one at a time :-)

    Thanks for this!

  5. Late Bloomer says :

    Nice to read thoughts from another self-described introvert. Social media has opened up another communications avenue for a group of people that might not otherwise choose to participate in the conversations.

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