Hi, my name’s Rachel and I’m an introvert.
There, I’ve said it.
Introversion has been part of my personality since birth, and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve begun to see it as a quality to be leveraged rather than a handicap to be overcome.
For me and my ilk, it’s not been easy growing up in a society that has a tireless love affair with the extrovert, the salesman, the smooth talker, the life of the party. We’ve been called shy (which is very different from being introverted), antisocial, wallflowers, loners, and (my personal favorite) socially retarded.
Then social media came along, and introverts everywhere rejoiced. Finally, we found an environment where our “peculiar” tendencies aren’t merely accepted—they’re celebrated.
So what is it about the introvert’s personality that makes him (or her) so adept at this social media thing?
Introverts are good listeners.
Introverts understand quite well the words of Epictetus: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” I can’t recall any advice on social media for business that doesn’t start with listening and emphasize its ongoing importance, and no one listens better than an introvert. And they keep listening until they understand, which brings me to …
Introverts are thorough researchers.
In social media, if you don’t know your stuff inside and out, any audience you have will quietly wander away and find someone who does. Introverts have the focus to build a solid knowledge base about a topic before they write a single word about it … and as “quiet types,” they quite likely enjoy it. In an environment marred by content farms and self-proclaimed “gurus,” the introvert stands out as a source of well-researched, well-thought-out, quality content—day after day after day.
Introverts tend to abhor “small talk.”
People who use social media to prattle on and on about the meaningless details of their day-to-day lives (just because “I am eating a bagel – it is so good” can fit into a tweet doesn’t mean it should) tend to find themselves damn near friendless before they realize the error of their ways. Introverts, on the other hand, rarely express themselves before considering how their words will come across. In conversation, this trait can make for some awkward silences … but in social media, it’s a priceless advantage.
Introverts have few—but deep—close friendships.
Whaddahuh? How is that an advantage in social media, where your worth is measured by fan and follower numbers? Simple. Introverts understand the difference between acquaintances and true allies—or to put it in social media terms, the difference between mere followers and the individuals with whom we have real relationships, those who consistently share our content and whose content we share in return. Anyone hoping to succeed in social media would be well advised to build and cultivate these relationships, even if it diverts resources away from raw follower-building tactics.
So that’s my take on “the introvert advantage” in social media—would any of my brethren like to chime in? Let us know which of your introverted qualities have become your secret to success in the socialverse!
One last note: I would be remiss if I failed to mention two of my favorite resources on introverts in business:
- The Introvert Entrepreneur blog and Facebook page by Beth Buelow
- Self-Promotion for Introverts book and website by Nancy Ancowitz
Thanks for the wisdom and encouragement, ladies!