I just finished the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain and I highly recommend it. Whether you are a fellow introvert or an extrovert puzzled by us weird wallflowers, the insights-backed by substantial research-in Cain’s writing are well worth exploring.
I have a long rambling post about this book in my drafts, but I kept wanting to add more and more to it until I finally realized that I what I really wanted was an in-depth verbal discussion with someone who had also read the book, not a one sided monologue.
However, I have one point I’d like to make, one “a ha!” moment I’d like to share. Being an introvert is why I don’t care on facebook about what you’ve had for breakfast. It’s why I don’t like games like “Foursquare” (I really don’t care where you’ve “checked in”) it’s why I loathe seeing a million and one self-portraits on Instagram, or minute to minute updates on how the flu is ravaging your body on Twitter.
Honestly, I truly follow and read a handful of people (family and a few close friends) on social media sites, the rest I just casually stalk. I dislike virtual “small talk” just as much as the real thing.
I also love the like button. I can acknowledge I’ve read and appreciate a post without being forced to make some brilliant or pithy comment. Not that all my comments are brilliant and/or pithy, just that I have exceedingly high expectations for the legitimacy of any comment I make. I need to have something to say, even if it’s just an “I hope you feel better soon.” If I don’t have anything to say, my clicking of the like button indicates that in a face-to-face conversation I would have smiled. Or shook my head knowingly. Or one of a myrid of other gestures of acknowledgement and/or appreciation.
Also, when do you stop commenting? How many replies are you expected to make? Making a comment on someone’s status is like entering an informal contractual agreement of conversation. So if I’m not sure of how I would respond to any responses the person may make, I resort to the “like” button instead. Not to mention the comments are public, so I’ve got to guage how weird my comment may come across to the person’s friends/family.
And as far as feeling pressured to be “extroverted”, there are definitely days that I feel obligated to post a status update-even if I have nothing important to say-just because I feel like I should. It’s about a 50/50 chance that I’ll actually post something, and if I do, I sometimes wonder the next day what compelled me to broadcast such a mundane observation to the world.
*For a more extreme version of an introvert on social media, you should check out my husband’s facebook. His last status update was a year and a day ago: “Disney’s The Lion King at the Durham Performing Arts Center= Impressive.” He has since been tagged (by mostly family) in a few pictures and posts and that’s it. I married a social hermit 🙂