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Introverted On Social Media

Ah, social media. The place where introverts can enjoy the interaction with others without leaving the comforts of their home. They can be outgoing and chat with old and new friends without it being too overwhelming. They can keep track of what’s going on in people’s lives and vice versa. All of this on their own terms. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unless you’re pretty much as introverted online as you are in real life.

I would like to think I used to be quite outgoing online a few years ago. I gained a lot of new friends from all over the country through mutual interests online as a teenager. I’m actually still good friends with some of them today. So I am very grateful for the opportunity these social networks give to us.

I like the privacy of these sites, something Facebook didn’t offer in the same way when it came along. My friends had to sign me up on Facebook because I initially refused for the longest time. I didn’t want my real name and information out there. I wanted full control of what people could know about me. Mixing people from school and work with the people I’d met online because of music or writing was a weird feeling. They knew me in different ways. It, therefore, took me another couple of years until I got used to Facebook enough to start using it properly. Which I, by the way, only did because I moved to the other side of the world.

After being semi-active on different platforms, I’ve taken a step back from it. It hasn’t been a conscious decision, but more of an automatic, gradual process. So what is life for an introvert on social media like? Well, it entails the most secure privacy settings and having a few tagged photos and posts waiting in line for you to approve. (I need time to consider if I really want them on my profile. The last photo that I’m tagged in was taken over a year ago, so no photos have made the cut the last 12 months).

It may also include your friends talking about people or events in real life that you have absolutely no idea about because you’ve seen nothing about it. Unfortunately, it means I’m not up to date with what everyone is up to. I might miss if someone got a promotion, broke up with someone or went on holiday. I go on the occasional scroll through Instagram or Facebook, but pressing a “like” button doesn’t come naturally to me. Writing a comment – even less. I’ll check something if I’m tagged, of course. But it can take a few days for me to “react” to it. If I want to wish someone a happy birthday, I do it via messenger instead of posting on their wall for everyone to see. Now that I think about it, I have no idea why – perhaps I feel it’s more personal.

Feeling the need to check social media became too much as it grew and got busier with time. I stopped looking every day as it overwhelmed me just like socializing face to face can do. I never have a lot of chats going and if I do, I often wait to reply until I’ve had time to think it through and feel I have time to reply properly. For example, I’ll wait till the moment I sit down and have coffee in the morning to reply to all my messages in one sitting, rather than sporadically reply throughout the day.

My go-to places are Tumblr and YouTube. So even online, I’m basically in my own bubble. I mostly follow accounts that have nothing to do with people in my real life and everything to do with hobbies of mine. The difference with these sites is that I’m not interacting with people on them. I’m more of a spectator. So I guess in some ways, YouTube is like people watching. I watch people, but I don’t interact with them by commenting. (Not a very great supporter am I?)

You might have had someone suggest you sign up on a dating app if you’re single. This has happened to me a couple of times in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever properly considered it. A few years ago a friend of mine signed me up on Tinder. I mean, it was a little fun swiping right or left and see who you matched with but… it was a short-lived thing. After mostly just ignoring everyone’s messages, I deleted the app the next morning. I don’t spend a lot of time chatting with people I actually know, and I simply don’t enjoy chatting with people I don’t know at all.

So, in today’s society – am I missing out? I think yes, to a degree. Because so much of our lives today are happening on these different platforms. It is a really good way to easily check in with people or connect with strangers. People call themselves friends despite not speaking to each other for years but because they like and comment on each other’s lives with just a few clicks. It keeps them involved. People run businesses on social media, meet partners on social media and share their lives with loved ones or a following made up of strangers. So yes, I probably am missing out a little bit. But just like in real life, I need to spend time away from it in order not to feel so overwhelmed by it. And just like in real life, I’m happier this way.

As an introvert, how do you feel about social media and being online? Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Viveca Shearin

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  1. I’m a tumblr girl, too. I like it because it’s rarely listed on that row of icons, where you can “share” whatever with social media sites…That gives me the feeling that it isn’t as “out there” as the others…maybe just a little more private. I know, going on the net opens a lot of doors I might rather leave closed, but as an introvert, it is my main way of communicating (except with spouse and cats.)

    I’m very inclined to put likes…because if I don’t like the content, I don’t follow the person. I’m also vey likely to leave comments, being the chatty type only in writing. One thing I won’t do is get involved in any drama. If anyone writes something insulting or even annoyingly argumentative, I block them or at least delete it without comment.

    Experimented for the first time with Twitter last night, just because there are issues dear to my heart right now, and I wanted to read posts by others who feel that way. Found out you never just put in a name and read everything posted about him. (Poor Ben Carson — this brilliant, compassionate man is characterized as everything from a house slave to a moron. Incredible, all the arrogant people who call him stupid.) So I learned quickly not to read “about” a person, but to get their Twitter accounts and those who follow them and think likewise, so you don’t get all the ad hominem and vulgar remarks. Don’t know if I’ll stay with it or not, but if I do, won’t be interested in posting one liners about what I’m doing. I retweeted a few I felt strongly about last night, but do not want to do my own.

    I find that on tumlr, there are certain people I’ve learned to trust over the years and learn breaking news from them often, as well as articles that are right up-my-alley. It’s mostly political people, but I have my “bubbles,” too — some Christian and Buddhist bloggers, some into futurism or sci-f.i, a few into music, etc.

    Figure al “they” will find out about me by snooping is my political views…don’t have a cell phone or GPS, don’t use Google or FB…have read too much about tracking locations, getting all your info and selling it or giving it to the NSA. Microsoft has a million things you have to opt out of on Windows 10 and google…well, the less said about it the better. “Do no evil,” indeed!

    Being “plugged in” can be entertaining and informative. But no sympathy for those who go overboard. If you spend days posting pics of your dinner instead of reading a good book or getting to know a cat, I feel sorry for you.

  2. The whole ritual of communication, as basic and fundamental in the human experience, has become a very strange topic especially in social networks.I do not identify myself as an introverted person, however I am someone who enjoys much the solitude and who respects much her own privacy. I related to many of your “quirks” in terms of interaction, suddenly feeling “forced” to be sociable and respond and keep in touch, far from promoting socialization simply makes it something to flee away from.

    I love meeting new people, talking with people with whom I share hobbies and so on … but I fully understand the need for individual space and respect for the privacy of others. Tumblr has offered me this kind of sporadic interaction with very nice people while I can just send a friendly message to someone else and I do not expect them to respond … I just want to let them know that I like to see that small and intimate part of their personality reflected in their blog.

    Wonderful article and we should stop pushing people to socialize … to contemplate is also an art and a way of understanding the world without feeling obfuscated.

  3. I very much feel the same way! I also am more of a spectator online than a participant. I also find my self being more active on social media plattforms that none of my real life friends are on, which often strikes me as weird. It’s like having multiple bubbles and jumping to the next bubble if you are exhausted of the last. And on the rare occasion that I decide to share something, I’m often faced with the phenomenon of oversharing. It’s like saying nothing for a very long time and then getting your thoughts out all at once.

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