Is Facebook a Godsend to Introverts?

My new theory, triggered by yet another post about introverts in my news feed, is that Facebook (FB) is dominated by introverts. And that all those little-used and abandoned social media accounts belong to extroverts who can’t be bothered with sitting alone in front of a computer, and who would rather be out having face-to-face conversations and participating in group activities.

I posed this theory on FB to see what my friends had to say. There were a few who replied that they were, indeed, extroverts who appreciate any and all social outlets, but they really only seemed to be the exceptions that prove the rule.  As one introverted friend observed, “I know some people I consider extroverts who post fairly regularly – usually about the extroverted things they’re doing!”

Additional comments:

FB is less scary than being out in public. (Not that introverts are necessarily shy.)

I do most of my socializing on FB. I don’t even like talking on the phone.

Though I can enjoy being with others, that’s almost never a recharging experience for me.

I agree that FB has been a godsend to this introvert.

As a true introvert, I do find that I “hide” behind my computer, and FB is a good way to reach out to people. Great for marketing, too.

I’m so grateful for the recent flood of supportive materials regarding introversion. I feel relieved and free and without the need to feel guilty for simply being myself.

And my personal favorite:

I think you have uncovered the key to life, the universe, and all knowledge.

I find it amusing when someone (an extrovert) sees me in person and exclaims, “I haven’t seen you in ages!” which may be true, technically speaking, but…are they really forgetting our frequent online interactions? Do those not count somehow? To me those exchanges are as real as in-person time.  And a whole lot easier.

Another thing people (extroverts?) say is that FB has caused a decrease in good old fashioned face-to-face social interaction. I disagree. If I am home on a Saturday night chatting online with FB friends, I can guarantee you that the alternative is not to go out partying. The alternative is to read a good book…alone. I feel MUCH MORE sociable since the advent of social media and, on occasion, have even been known to  get together IN PERSON with someone I’ve gotten to know better online. But only for an hour or two. And then I need a nap!

What do YOU think?

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

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Comments

  1. I agree with you totally, Hazel. I don’t see Facebook as a replacement for face-to-face interaction, but a way of staying connected to people in between those occasions, whether they be frequent (like my VA friends see every month) or infrequent (like my cousin who lives far away). I no longer live in the area where I grew up, so I had lost touch with many of my friends. Thanks to Facebook, we have found each other again and I’m very pleased to have them back in my life, even if only virtually!

  2. I completely agree too. As an introvert and someone who hates the phone, the miracle of Facebook is that it allows me to stay connected continuously with my friends in a low pressure, low key way. I love seeing everyone’s pictures and hearing about important updates-and sharing my own story as well. Rather than feel depressed or bad about myself reading everyone’s updates (which I’ve read some studies on too), I feel connected and happy. 🙂

    • I went through a short period of overwhelm and adjustment when I first joined Facebook. People were inviting othesr to do things with them and I felt left out until I really thought about it…do I really want to do that particular thing with that particular person? No. Then don’t worry about it!

  3. Yes! I, too, have gotten better acquainted with people due to Facebook. Without it, it just wouldn’t have happened! I would have been reading a book, too. Come to think of it, I wonder how much “reading” social media has impacted real life interaction with books!

    Thank you for nice article.

  4. I think both extroverts and introverts use it equally. For introverts….it is a way to be sociable without being over stimulated ( as we know intros tend to get overstimulated easily). My sister is super extroverted, and comments to me all the time how she got xyz amount of likes for her picture, post, etc. They like the attention of things they share.

  5. I think FB (and TWitter and Pinterest) are perfect for Introverts. We post when we want, read when we want, say what we want. We can have in-depth discussions. We can write instead of call.

    There are plenty of Introvert’s groups in FB, plenty of people who tell you their MBTI type in Twitter, plenty of Introvert and MBTI boards in Pinterest.

    Social Media is our playground. We (Introverts) don’t mind conversing. We just want to do it on our time, in our own way, frequently in writing, and above all under our control.

    My Introvert FB friends post more text and rarely change their avatar or profile pics. My extroverted sister posts short updates in 1 or 2 sentences and changes her profile photo frequently. E sister has 276 FB Friends and 186 photos, many of which include herself; I have 87 FB friends, most of my photos are shared pics posted by someone else, and none of my photos contain pictures of me.

    • I totally agree, Vicki! I actually started a blog post about social a while back that had “introvert’s playground” in the title, but it lacked something, so I set it aside and I haven’t gone back to it. That’s why, when I read Hazel’s discussion on Facebook, I asked her to share it here. She and her friends seemed to capture exactly what I was trying to say!

      Would love to have a guest post from you too, someday, if you’re game. 🙂

  6. hmmm,
    interesting…I have recently de activated my FB account because I found the interactions too shallow for me. I am an INFJ, I prefer face to face meetings with close friends where I can interact with the whole person, see their face and body language etc. I prefer reading, listening to music, playing music than social networking. Maybe my age, (63) but I find the whole electronic, virtual worlds we create just to, well, virtual…lol.

    Glad there is so much awareness re introversion these days, at least amongst introverts, a great weight has been lifted from us all, now we can start to take over…:-)

    All the best,

    Stephen

    • Stephen –
      I hate to say this but, FB and Twitter are what you make them. Nothing more, nothing less. If you found the conversations too shallow… find different people to converse with.

      There are “shallow” people on FB; there are interesting people in FB. Just as you can’t say “Oh, I don’t go to the bookstore (library) anymore. All of the books were just shallow.” or “Movies are shallow”.

      You can’t blame Facebook. You can blame the conversations.

      I enjoy reading too (and I can put the laptop away and go back to my book at a moment’s notice). In FB, I can (and do) interact with people thousands of miles away.

      And don;t blame your age! I’m 55 and hubby is 64. We’re techies.

  7. I’m with you, Vicki. If you have enough friends on Facebook some of them are bound to post more interesting, and “deeper” things than others do. I am fortunate to have a cross-section of friends who are VERY interesting, and thought-provoking, and informative, and inspiring, and entertaining. I wouldn’t call any of them “shallow”, but some are certainly more adept than others at their social interactions…which holds true in person as well, I might add!

    On the other hand, the increased awareness of introverts, which Steven mentioned, also means we know that all introverts aren’t alike.

    • Absoluely not all alike!
      Even in very broad categories, there are 8 “types”.

      In social media, especially, the N types tend to be in the majority. INTJ and INFJ abound, with fewer INFP and INTP and then fewer yet ISTJ. I’m not sure why that is. Some people in a LinkedIn group suggested that the Ss need to be convinced of the value of Social Media whereas the Ns don’t.

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