Introverts and social media are not exactly two things that you would expect to see together, would you? By nature, introverts and social media seem like complete opposites; I would know. Why? Well, because I’m an introvert.
When I say, “I’m an introvert,” I mean that I could go days without seeing anyone (except for my family) and, for the most part, be content. I have a close circle of friends and that’s the way I like it. So why would somebody like me, who’s an introvert, work in a job that requires me to be social? I mean, part of my job is to oversee the “social” media for our church. It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it?
Actually the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to realize that social media and introverts are a pretty good match. In fact, I think a lot introverts would love social media if they understood that they can play by their own rules and use social media to fit their personality, not the other way around.
Today, I want to provide six tips to help introverts who hate social media (Yes, I know “hate” is strong word, but if you’re introvert and you’ve been on airplane stuck next to a chatty passenger you know that the word “hate” makes complete sense). My hope is that if you’re an introvert some of these tips will help you dip your toes into the social media waters and join the conversation online.
1. You don’t have to talk to everyone.
There’s a myth in social media that you have to talk to everyone or least comment on everything you see. Here’s what you don’t know about social media: you don’t have to talk to anyone. Yes, it would be great if you did, but it’s not the end of the world if you go a few days just observing and not talking. For some, social media works like a news feed where they just observe what is going on and occasionally comment on things that interest them. That’s perfectly fine.
Of course, social media is a lot more fun when everyone talks and engages in conversation but, please remember, that you choose to engage. This isn’t a party where you’re awkwardly standing in the corner wondering when you can leave to go home. This is an ongoing conversation that you can jump in and out of whenever you like.
2. You can find your own niche.
One of the beauties of the vastness of the internet is that if you love something weird or offbeat, you can probably find a group people who are just like you. For example, if you like to quote Charles Spurgeon all day, there’s a group of people out there who are probably just as passionate as you. Seth Godin calls these groups “tribes” and, I believe that everyone has one. The trick is to find your tribe and engage them. (FYI, my tribe is #chsocm on Twitter.)
3. Learn privacy settings.
Just because you put something online doesn’t mean that everyone needs to read it. Each social network has privacy settings. No, this doesn’t mean that you need to put the most intimate details of your life online; however, it does mean that you need to learn how to protect yourself. To be honest, this won’t be easy at first, considering that every social network has their own intricate privacy settings. However, if you do the research and spend some time getting things set up, you can feel the freedom to share what you want with who want.
4. You don’t have to follow or friend everyone.
Just as it’s important to determine what you want to share online, it’s also important to determine who you want to share it with. I used to think that if someone followed me on Twitter that I needed to follow them back. Even worse, I thought that in order to gain followers I needed to rapidly follow as many people as possible. I was wrong on both accounts. Follow who you want on social media, with no expectation that they will follow you back. Who you follow is up to you. There isn’t a secret rulebook that states that you must follow everyone back on Twitter or accept every friend request on Facebook. These are your social media accounts that you have the right to do with as you like.
5. You don’t have to say anything, you can just show it.
One thing that usually prevents me from sharing social media is the written word. To be honest, I’m horrible at writing. However, I’m pretty good at design and taking photos. So, when I don’t feel like writing something, I play to my strengths, design and photography. Sometimes it is easier for introverts to show what is going on rather than write it out. Plus, as I previously wrote, images are becoming more powerful that words on social media. It’s really a win for you in the long run if you use pictures.
6. It’s a level playing field.
Social media can be pretty intimidating when you see people with large Twitter followers or Facebook likes. So much so that it almost seems futile to even try to share. However, keep this in mind. Those people with large followings are using the same tools you are. When you get down to it, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are just platforms for sharing ideas. We all are on a level playing field so don’t let numbers intimidate you into not sharing.
Being introverted doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on what social media can offer you. Instead, social media can be a great tool for you to interact with others in a way that suits your personality. Trust me, as someone who loves their quiet space, I find that social media can work for introverts if you learn to embrace who you are and engage with those around you.