I like to think that I’m lucky to be an “elder” of the millennial generation — meaning I was born in the early 80’s rather than the 90’s. Why? Because I’ve gotten to enjoy all the benefits that technology has to offer as it evolves over time. I’ve listened to music as it moved from cassette tapes, to cd’s, to mp3’s. Heck, they’ve even built a real life transformer!
But, I also remember a time when all socializing was done offline; when you had to meet and interact with people — in person — to make friends.
What made that difficult for me, personally, is that I’m an introvert: I’m friendly, but not overly social. (More on that later.)
Embracing social media has been a roller coaster ride for me because I naturally just don’t get it. Being social, in any situation, requires effort for my personality type (which is INTJ). Add to that the memories of people being afraid to put their photo online because it could be photo-shopped… Well, it’s just a recipe for social media avoidance.
Personality Types Matter
Over the years, I’ve tried various social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. No matter how many mediums I tried, the same thing kept repeating – I’d eventually stop using the platform because the “pressure” of posting and interacting was overwhelming. That doesn’t mean I don’t comprehend the value of posting – but the act of doing so can seem like a bit much.
Check out 16personalities.com to see what your personality type is. It’s a free quiz that only takes about 15 minutes, and is quite insightful.
We introverts really are friendly, even though we can seem distant or shy. We enjoy being sociable; spending time with and being around others. But after a while, it’s an overall energy drain, and we just need our space. It’s not because we don’t like the other people, but because there’s a certain level of calm in solitude. Always being around other people and their activities/chatter can drive us up the wall. Hence, why social media is so intimidating — because it. is. always. there. Demanding your attention and interaction, whether you want to give it or not.
The 3 S’s of Social Media (for an introvert)
After trying (and failing) yet again to jump back online – I realized there are 3 things I need to remember to make social media stick. Luckily, they all begin with an “S” and therefore are a little easier to remember. 🙂
1. Social media can be scary.
Introverts generally like to stick with who they already know. Sure, we can perform in front of a group, lead a meeting, or interact as needed. But new people take time, and social media is all about meeting new people — from anywhere and everywhere… 24/7. Sure, you can adjust your privacy settings to accommodate, but that kinda defeats the purpose, right? I’m slowly overcoming my fears and putting myself out there a little more each day.
2. Social media is strange.
Almost every time I go to comment on stranger’s tweet, post, or pin – I have the same internal dialogue: “Who am I to comment on your post? You don’t know me, I don’t know you… Why should you care what I have to say?” I have to remind myself that the whole point of social media is to socialize. Being online doesn’t have all the stressors of talking in person, because you can interact at your own leisure. And there is the key to making social media fun and safe…
3. Social media is safe (sort of).
I’ll never be an open-book, or big on small talk; and I’m hard-wired to think before I speak. (Which means there are often “odd” pauses during conversations.) But I am able to post what I want to say, from the safety of my own space. Social media allows me socialize without the awkwardness that’s often felt between introverts and others; while learning new points-of-view because there are so many people interacting. I can come and go as I please, slowly nurturing budding relationships, usually with other like-minded people.
I’d love to know what you think either via email or the comments below! If you’re an introvert – does this resonate with you? If you’re an extrovert – please explain to me how you do it?!
And by all means — let’s connect!
As always, Stay Classy!
80s Image Credit: 9gag.com