Who Will Rule Social Media? Introverts vs. Extroverts

Yesterday, one of the commenters asked my thoughts about introverts on social media. At first glance, it seems that social media, social networking and social platform-building is a job made in heaven for the extrovert. Well, yes and no. Actually, each personality brings a unique skill set to the table.

The terms “extrovert” and “introvert” were first made popular in the 1920s by the famous psychologist Carl Jung, then given further momentum later by the Myers-Briggs personality test. Over the past century, it appears our society has developed an unhealthy fascination with the extrovert, favoring the bubbly, outgoing energetic personality over their quiet, more contemplative counterparts. Corporations spend money by the buckets training their people to “group think,” and “team-building” has virtually wiped out all quiet reflection.

In a world that can’t seem to stop talking, the introvert is getting lost.

Yes, I am an extrovert *shock face*, but one thing you guys might not expect is that I actually score very high as an introvert as well. Every time I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs, I score almost dead even on the extrovert vs. introvert questions. I am technically an extrovert with strong introversive tendencies. It generally is only one or two answers that have tipped me over to the extrovert side. I do feel that introversive side is part of what drew me to becoming a writer in the first place.

So, let’s just say that I do have some idea of what it feels like to be an introvert trapped in a corporate culture that doesn’t value quiet time. I know what it feels like to slug though meeting after meeting with every person feeling the need to fill the air with chatter and suggestions, whether they’d thought them through or not. And to make matters worse, our culture seems to reward the person who is noisiest, regardless whether the person makes any sense at all.

I remember being part of a sales meeting and all the reps were tossing out what they thought the company’s main focus for the year should be. Lower prices! Shorter lead-times! More choices! The CEO was just beaming in the sea of all this noisy brilliance. After a while, I finally raised my hand said something that stopped everyone cold.

“Has anyone asked the customers what they feel is important?”

See, one area introverts shine is they tend to be better listeners. Most managers will seek out the gregarious chatterbox who isn’t afraid to strike up a conversation and recruit them to the sales force. Yet, the interesting thing is that what makes the extrovert supposedly “good” at sales, can actually be a hinderance. To be good at sales, the extrovert needs to, above all else, learn to be a good listener first…and that is an area where we extroverts can struggle. We get so busy being entertaining that we often forget to be quiet long enough to hear the real problem our product can solve.

Thus, when it comes to social media, introverts are at no disadvantage…well, not using the WANA approach. Originally I had intended to only post one vlog this week. But, since the weekend was such a disaster, yesterday, while Spawn was passed out on codeine, I filmed a quick vlog to answer this question…because talking is easier than writing at this point. And the Spawn is doing fantastic today. Thanks for all the prayers and support.


As you can see, the introvert doesn’t need to become an extrovert in order to rule social media. In fact, using WANA, introverts can actually rely on their extroversive teammates to carry on their message while they rest and recharge. Since WANA is a community, we all harness each other’s strengths while collectively mitigating each other’s weaknesses. TEAM–Together Everyone Achieves More. Introverts have their own special contribution, and we aren’t here to change your personality, just your approach. Introverts have just as much to contribute to the world of social media, so don’t try to be something you aren’t. No phonies!

So what questions do you have that you might like for me to address on the vlog? Questions about social media? Craft? Questions about sea monkey training? Throw it out there.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of…heck it is close enough for March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


4 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. I’m an introvert, which really means that I get energy from being on my own and crowds tend to exhaust me. I love social media because I can choose when I interact with people. I think introverts and extroverts can do equally well with social media.

    1. Same here Julian 🙂

      1. Ditto.

        1. I’m joining in on this bandwagon.

  2. I used to be an extreme introvert in most social situations except one. I help run a martial arts school where for the past eleven years I have worked to become more extroverted when teaching. I would say that I now have a balance between the two. The extrovert in me helped to achieve my 4th degree black belt last year and the introvert helps me in writing children’s stories as well as helping me inspire others through my blog. I guess I can live with having a split personality… 🙂

  3. I’ve got to find that test. I think I’d score in a similar way. I’ve always been perfectly spending hours by myself–scratch that, I NEED hours of alone time every day. But put me in a room full of people and I have no trouble being the loudest if it calls for it.

    Social media seems to be the ideal place for introverts. I think shyness plays its part in the life of an introvert and it’s easier to be thoughtful when writing and the pressure of human contact is gone.

    1. Okay, found the test online here if anyone would like to take it: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

      I scored as a moderate introvert, which is a bit off from what I thought it would be, but the description I ended up with fits pretty well, I think: http://keirsey.com/4temps/counselor.aspx

      1. I nearly drop off the introvert edge, as expected. Thanks for posting the link.

      2. Thanks for the link. I always wonder about these tests and their results. I know the introvert part is true, but what about the rest? I came off as an INTP, and read the description and cannot relate to it – did I lie on some of the answers (not intentionally)? Do I not know myself?
        What do others think about this test and the sixteen groupings?

  4. Reblogged this on This Little Life of Mine….

  5. I score right in the middle, too, though I lean more towards introversion. I find the company of others nice…sometimes. But sometimes, other people are just exhausting. I like what Juliana said about social media being ideal for people with introversive tendencies…I can be there when I want…and when I don’t want…I can tune out! Perfect.
    Another great v-log Kristen!

    1. Agreed, Laird! I like being able to check in and out when I want and for as much as I can handle at the time.

      Thanks, Kristen, for cheering on the introverts! As a group, we do tend to be pretty good listeners and can often see the big(ger) picture a little more easily than those who are doing all of the talking. 🙂 At work, I have the reputation of being quiet but someone to really listen to when I do have something to say.

  6. Love this post as I fit both too. (Being a Gemini thats no surprise!) I go thru periods when I pull back from social media as I just want to be anonymous again…and I do think introverts are better listeners. Perhaps the introvert is the slower part of us…where we slow down, think, need peace and quiet, can focus….and the introvert part is the chaotic, hear me now!, all over the place part of us that much of social media, and our jobs, requires us now to be. We are expected to: Do all these things, do them 24/7, and all at once! It is exhausting, as Laird mentions above. I think a balance of both is a good thing for ourselves – and the world out there.

  7. I redline quickly around a lot of people yet feed off them for ideas. I guess I’ve never tried writing my deeper thoughts on a bench in the mall. I can only imagine short twitchy sentences happening.
    Twitters make sense now even if they don’t.

  8. I would definitely count myself as an introvert and cannot stand the strain that’s forced upon us by corporate culture. It’s almost heresy to say it these days, but I work better on my own. In a dark room. There, I said it.

    I’m an introvert because I need to think carefully about what I believe and how I’m going to express it before vocalising it. That’s why I’m almost always lost in meetings and why I can never win arguments. It’s also why I like writing: it helps me to understand what I think and phrase it in a way that will help others understand it too.

    Social media allows introverts to be careful extroverts. We can think about what we’re going to shout before we shout it. We can listen to others for hours, days, weeks even before we can say whether or not we agree.

    Great post, gave me lots to think about.

    1. Great answer!

      1. Thanks Catherine, which one are you?

        1. Introvert 🙂

  9. From a writer and Introvert who’s slowly but surely breaking out of his shell, thank you for this post.

  10. I think as I get older, I become more introverted. As a young lady, I was the social butterfly, and continually asked to be on one sales force or another. I too believe I have just become exhausted from all of it, and the demands it takes on your time. I really like this stage in life when I can sit and ponder ideas before just blurting them out, and hoping for the best. Writing has definitely filled any void I may have gotten after leaving the workforce. Thank you so much for putting this article together. I really enjoyed reading it. Please keep sharing!

  11. I am utterly and completely an extrovert, by your definition. Even when I am home alone, I turn on my xbox and start a conversation with my online friends over xbox live. Some people may think that sort of thing would make me an introvert, but my energy, my motivation for my writings stem directly from topics of conversation. Hence why all of my writings, short as they may be, are chock full of nothing but opinion. For better or worse, nothing but opinion and perception.

    I am lucky enough to have traveled the world, seen so many different walks of life. And that being said, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of what people think to be an ‘absolute’, and I use that word very loosely, is not the case at all. Hence why I love to get into a big group discussion with people, because that will inevitably fuel my fire, so to speak, and get me into writing some long, drawn out tirade that only I understand, lol.

    Awesome post! Can’t wait for another.

  12. This is a great post that I think more people should read! A lot of people do misunderstand introverts, but the same goes for extroverts. I know for me, during school breaks, while all the kids were outside playing, I’d find myself a nice little corner to sit in and read a book. Odd? Most of those kids thought so. I think you hit it dead on, though; being is large groups of people is just draining. I’ve gotten better over the years and can actually be around larger groups of people, but at the end of the day, I’ll go barricade myself with a book, or pen and paper, to just relax and recuperate.

    Even now, a lot of people in my age group seem to have an “issue” with that. They’re all social butterflies who now, in college, go chat with friends in their breaks. I, on the other hand, get permission from teachers to stay in the classroom, which is normally forbidden without a teacher present, to read in peace.

    Some of my best friends come from the internet, and I’ve met some in person, with plans to meet others soon! Sometimes, distance really isn’t a bad thing; it’s a matter of finding a balance that works.

    Thanks for sharing your views!

  13. Now I’m going to have to move those bodies from my basement ;)’

    I’m an introvert, and one of the big differences I’ve noticed is that extroverts tend to react faster than introverts. If an extrovert is asked a question or given a task, they leap in. Introverts tend to want a little more time to think before answering. I assume that’s our introspective leanings.

  14. Kristin,
    This was a great post.

    As an introvert–my score is almost off the right side of the Myers-Briggs chart (I’m an INFP)–I appreciate your comments.

    Funny, when I tell my friends and associates that I’m an introvert (no shame with the title), they all laugh, thinking I’m pulling their legs. They’re used to me yakking it up at meetings and social events and participating in most conversations. They know I teach and speak at conferences and events. Introvert? Not Sharon.

    What they don’t realize is the fact that being raised and surrounded by extroverts most of my life I’ve learned social skills and the gregarious style that works in social situations. I’ve learned to love these outgoing moments with friends and associates, I love my kids too (all three grown now with babes of their own) and cherish the time I spend with them.

    What they don’t know is the fact that I can only operate as a pseudo-extrovert for limited amounts of time. Then I have to run back to my little cottage and spend some alone time to recharge my batteries.

    That brings up the best description I’ve ever heard of extroverts and introverts.

    When confronted with problems extroverts hurry to talk them over with friends, introverts want to analyze them alone before sharing them and asking for input.

    When batteries need recharging and the person is feeling a depletion of energy, the extrovert heads for the crowds and groups of friends and family, the introvert retreats into their own private world.

    I do find myself going out of my comfort zone in the world of social networking, but I’m getting better at dogpaddling there. I’ve read all your books, subscribe to your blog, attended your classes (online and at the Weatherford conference last year) and am a WANA1011 member. I credit you with my development of my social network platform. Thanks for all the help and good advice.
    Sharon Owen

    1. Sharon, your comment is interesting and I think it is the closest to how extra- and introversion are defined in social psychology. I see a lot of confusion on the web: people often consider extraverts as loud/expressive/talkative and introverts for quiet types.
      But that’s a popular culture view, not a scientific definition. As you rightly pointed out it’s not about the mode of behavior (loud or quiet) but about how they replenish or expand their energy – through interaction or reflection. Again, depending on the remaining letters of your type some extra- and introversion may look very different. I know a couple of introverts their friends mistake for extra, because of their professional extraneous mode , for instance.
      Another thing you mentioned is that you maybe a pseudo-extravert temporarily, because you’ve been surrounded by extraverts and probably developed it. Indeed, you can change certain characteristics of your type if you work on them, but there’s no evidence that you can change your type entirely. However, if you are interested, here’s the good article about it.

  15. Hi, I am sure I am both. I used to be introverted in a huge way, but found out that didn’t get me any where but deep down in a pit of despair…with all kinds of things piled up on each other. I was sooo confused!!!! I went through extremes that weren’t good, but the extremes aren’t as bad as they used to be…

    • Michelle Roberts on February 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm
    • Reply

    Well, I’m definitely an introvert. Of course, I was homeschooled all the way through high school, so I’m used to being alone and having a, mostly, quiet house all day. I follow a lot of blogs, but lurk more than I comment. 🙂 It’s tough to learn to be outgoing when you’re used to silence. That’s why I’m thinking long and hard before starting my own author blog. Being introverted makes me think through decisions that will put me in the limelight, but I will take the plunge . . . eventually. 🙂

  16. Okay, you convinced me–I’m an introvert. I knew that, but I can fake extrovert okay when I want to.

    I do better on line. I think.

  17. I never thought about it quite that way, Kristen, but you’re right. Being in crowds and groups of people, especially the writing conferences where it’s constant all the time for 3-6 days of non-stop activity and chatter and do and go…it’s draining and I can never wait to leave and then for days after, I don’t want to talk to or see anyone at all. I need days and hours of alone time. It’s where I get my ideas, my thoughts organized, my productive and creative times. I don’t thrive on being the loud one, the center, the mover or the shaker. I thrive on being the quiet one, taking it all in, observing, keeping my own company. It’s amazing what you can learn when you simply do that…

    I’m accused by my online friends when I don’t talk for days or weeks that I’m being anti-social. No, it’s just who I am. I’ll tweet, I’ll facebook, but I don’t necessarily engage in conversation, especially the start of it. I have tried this year to open up more and be the doer and the starter… Sometimes I’m good at it, and other times, I’m not.

    I like to get out and chat with people and meet for coffee and brainstorm and catch up, but not all the time, not a lot because it can be draining.

    Thanks for this!

  18. Wow, hearing from the introverts today–nice and comfortable. Great vlog, Kristen. It hit the nail on the head for me when you talked about being on the social media for an introvert “doesn’t tank energy and creative levels” like being in a crowd of people does. And, ditto, Adrian, being away from lots of people allows us to “think carefully” and “writing helps me understand what I think.” My usual phrase is, “I’ll sleep on it.” There’s something about the subconscious working while I am not mind-busy that unleashes my creativity. Thanks for covering this subject, Kristen.

  19. I love this take on introvert/extrovert in social media. I’ve been part of message forums and online communities for about 13 years now, and I the first time I met people in Real Life who I’d known for years online, threw me for a loop. A lot of outspoken people online are very withdrawn in real life. At one of the meet-ups at a large music festival, a group of us shuffled around nervously, looking at the ground and sulking in the corner of a hot tent in the middle of nowhere. So I started introducing myself – real name and screen name – getting the conversation going. Slow going but it happened. Later after the fest, the forum was ALIVE with how great everything went.

    Usually in a group if one or two people stand on the outskirts needing to be brought into the fold, that’s expected. But a WHOLE GROUP of wallflowers is something to behold.

    FTR I am about 50/50 Intro/Extro on Meyer’s-Briggs. I chalk some of it up to being an only child; I’m used to entertaining myself and being by myself if needed, but I miss the company of other people and find I seek it out.

  20. I’m a hardcore introvert. I just started planning my first solo vacation and agreed to go to my first writer’s conference, and both have me freaking out. But I do alright on social media. I think that’s because it’s all text-based and I have time to think and evaluate my response before sending it. (Pretty much what Adrian said). And we don’t get interrupted. I know when I get interrupted in a normal conversation, I’ll just shut up and let the other person do the rest of the talking rather than voicing my opinion. In social media, there’s no such thing as interrupting someone else. Everyone gets to be heard (or read).

  21. Interesting post. I think I’m like you–caught between being an introvert and an extrovert. I’m still struggling to get comfortable with Twitter and I would love to hear your advice. Why is Twitter better/different than FaceBook? Thanks!

  22. Interesting subject. Thanks Brock for the online test. I scored as an ISFJ, slightly expressed introvert with moderately expressed sensing, feeling, and judging. It was fun checking the meanings out and seeing what famous people have like scores.

    Whether you’re an intro/extro. you can still do social media by using a “delivery system” that is unique to one’s type of personality. Finding what fits your personality type is important so that the resulting social media methods you use feels comfortable, thus ‘do-able’ and most importantly, authentic.

  23. Wonderful post, Kristen. I’m not surprised that you’re an ambivert. 😉 Thanks so much for taking and addressing our questions. *woot woot!* So glad your little guy is feeling better.

    • Maria on February 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for the link to the online test. Normally, I’m an INFP, but today I am an INFJ. I am a slightly expressed Introvert, a distinctively expressed iNtuitive, a moderately expressed Feeling, and a moderately expressed Judging. The interesting thing is how it changes throughout the years as jobs I’ve had require me to develop different aspects of myself, my answers change. When I was a teen and took this I was an extreme ENFP and while I remain an NF, the E and now the P have changed and the F has become less than it used to be.

    Here’s how I know that I am an introvert. Being around large groups of people for long periods of time drains me. I am not shy or retiring at all. It is just that crowds don’t charge me up the way that they do for my Extroverted mother and sister. Even my brother who is less extroverted gets charged up around lots of people. For me, I need a nap even though I enjoy the party.

  24. I’m reading an interesting book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She not only explains the difference between introvert and extrovert (primarily if we go off by ourselves to recharge or get among people), but also adds elements of whether or not the person is shy, which is different from being introverted. She considers Barbra Streisand a shy extrovert, for example, while Bill Gates is a confident introvert.

    Me, I’m an extreme introvert (INFJ) and shy to boot. People who have met me are surprised by this because I can come across as confident, but I need a LOT of solitude, while hubby, also an introvert, moves more easily in social circles.

    With social media, I can connect when I feel energized and pull back when I need to. Although marketing books is a lot of work, doing most of it via social media is a blessing for my personality.

    1. Thank you for the reference. I read the NYT article, and that let me feel comfortable admitting that I am an introvert, but I would love to read the whole book.

    • shawn on February 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm
    • Reply

    Driven to be an introvert by being married to Kristen. Lol!

  25. Great post, Kristen. Two statements in the comments stood out for me. Brock: “I NEED hours of alone time every day. But put me in a room full of people and I have no trouble being the loudest if it calls for it.” And Sharon Owen: “What they don’t know is the fact that I can only operate as a pseudo-extrovert for limited amounts of time. Then I have to run back to my little cottage and spend some alone time to recharge my batteries.”

    I know that when my depression rears its ugly head occasionally, one of the signs I notice is that I want to withdraw from being around people – it just takes so much energy. But I thought that when I come home from an activity with friends and I’m exhausted, that it was a symptom of these other issues. Well, hey, maybe I’m just an introvert like Brock and Sharon – I”m happy and lively and definitely the loudest one in the room, I can teach a class or give a speech or lead a group, but boy, give me quiet time to recharge afterwards!

    I’m off to take the test to find out what the experts say!

  26. Well, looks like I’m an odd girl out, as I’d be considered an extrovert. Then again, I need my quiet time.
    I think most people are a mix of introvert and extrovert. I’ve a number of friends who are burlesque and bellydance performers (well, I dance too). They’ve no problem bearing it all in front of an audience, but person-to-person, many are incredibly shy. Funny, that.

    I do tend to gain energy when interacting with people. Cool people. Uncool people? Well, they drain the hell out of me and make me wanna rock back and forth in the corner of my room for a day or two. If you’re getting drained by people, choose other people to interact with. Heck, I just did that myself. Quit my ‘people-challenged’ corporate job to start a freelance web business, where I can choose clients (and I’m choosing writers, artists, and other cool folk).

  27. A post on the duallity of the human psyche. We all have a part of us that screams “LOOK AT ME!!!” And we have a part that wants to shut the attention whore up and cuddle up with the laptop and be productive. Writers have to be able to walk both paths.

  28. I scored close to how you did on the Myers-Briggs. I am an introvert with strongly extroverted tendencies (1 question pushes me onto the introverted side). I would agree that while introverts might get lost in a crowd, they bring valuable information, gained by listening, to the table. Great post!! 😀

    • Maria Toth on February 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm
    • Reply

    Another great blog & vlog! Love your sense of humor! Shared again on FB & with my writer peeps. And I am an extrovert, but there is a quiet side of me, too. Though, my friends would find that hard to believe. 🙂

  29. Great post and explanation, Kristen. Speaking as an INTJ (yeah, for real) I can say that online I actually feel more like an extrovert – not that I mind face to face contact, but it can be draining. Online there isn’t that type of “pressure” and I think that it is a place where introverts can thrive and play without fear of bears…hmmm, sorry that wandered off a bit.

    The best parts of social media, when it comes to introverts and extroverts, is that it meets the needs of both (lots of people to chat with at a safe non-draining distance). It allows both sides to work together without worrying about the extroverts running over the introverts – while allowing the introverts to step away for moments of quiet thought and reflection whenever needed.

    These two things, in my opinion, are the engine that empowers the WANA concept. *humble bow to the social media Jedi master, Kristen* And now, if you don’t mind, I have to go ponder the universe *smile*

  30. Isn’t another definition of an introvert that we like our alone time? I sure value mine.
    One of my deals is that I have no patience for shallow interactions, and large groups mostly seem to deal in surface issues. I often find that meeting with someone (or a small group of people) to talk about interesting subjects gets me jazzed, if we can blast through the surface and get into the nitty-gritty. I have had trouble finding FB interesting (until the WANA Mad Ferret group started) because my friends and family mostly post cute sayings and song lyrics. I haven’t tried Twitter yet for the same reason.

  31. The ability to schedule interaction is the only think that makes me willing to blog or fb or tweet. You canniness gives me hope this will be enough. Thanks, Kristen. 🙂

  32. I mentioned this same thing on More Cowbell yesterday – my experience is that I’m both depending on whose company I’m keeping. I used to be very much extroverted, but over the years I’ve sort of folded in a bit.

    I have a group of friends who just sap the hell out of me after 10 minutes and I’m ready to go nap for 14 hours when I see them. But I have another group with whom I feel comfortable and at ease and can be myself and relax and thrive. I think, at least for me, circumstance has a lot to do with how we behave as an extrovert or introvert.

    Certainly is a different ballgame online, however, since, for the most part, we’re all in our batcaves still. Unless we’re at a seminar or conference networking.

    Also, I may or may not have a basement full of family members. I’ll never tell. 😉

    Question for you: where are your WANA and warrior writers seminars? Do you ever come out ole California way? (More precisely L.A. way?) I would very much like to gaze upon the Pants of Shame. Maybe even touch ’em. 🙂

    1. Actually I am going to be at the RWA conference in Anaheim this July and I am the keynote speaker for the RWA-WF in the mini-con the day before. You should stop by!

      1. Outstanding. Good to know. I’ll do my best to get there. 🙂

  33. I’ve read that a slight majority of all people are introverts — so “we are not alone.”

    (Interestingly, most church leaders are extroverts and gear their church services for extroverts.)

  34. WANA and other friends have made it bearable for me to stay on social sites such as twitter or Facebook. Without them I might have bailed months ago. I couldn’t score higher on the introvert test if I tried. I even have trouble breaking barriers within the WANA tribe I’m so bad. 🙂 Thanks for the link, Brock. Great vlog, Kristen. Thanks.

  35. I am an introvert as well. I used to give the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator as part of my counseling internship. I had to explain the Extravert/Introvert to lots of people, and energy is indeed the key word.

    Kristen, you hit it dead-on that extraverts and introverts can use social media differently. I love interacting with the online community, but the beauty of the WANA methods are that when I start getting overwhelmed, I close the window and walk away. I’m not obligated to stay at the party for 45 minutes trying to be charming and fun when I’m at my energy limit. I take a break, recharge, and log back on when I’m ready. Perfect!

    By the way, introverts can also do very well in small groups of close-knit friends. Just no huge crowds for long periods of time, please. Otherwise, I’ll need that straight jacket, thank you very much.

  36. I’m a pretty strong extrovert and I’ve only ever dated introverts. I married a pretty extreme introvert, but is he ever skilled in the extroverted world. I think that’s something else people don’t get: that introverts are not socially awkward any more than extroverts are socially awkward.

    So, thanks for the great definition you gave.

    And as a Canadian, I can work with you re your pronunciation of “deux”. 😉

    A la prochaine.

  37. Love this post. I think extroverts and introverts both bring great things to the table, and we’re all needed. I do agree that intros (yes, me too) are great listeners – and great listeners are good communicators. Writing, and social mediorising (did I make up a new word?) are about communication, Maybe that’s why we can do it. And without people staring.

  38. Hi Kristen,

    Thanks for writing such a great post about introverts and dispelling a few of the myths.

    I found it so interesting that you wrote “…social platform-building is a job made in heaven for the extrovert.”

    It’s challenged my emerging theory that blogging is a distinctly introvert activity.

    If you observed me at a social event where there was lots of small talk, you would find me shifting uncomfortably from group to group, and often trying to find some sort of excuse to leave. I might have a prop, such as a tray to offer around, just to allow me an excuse NOT to have to participate in the actual small talk. I find it draining and unfulfilling.

    However, at the same party, if I was to suddenly become involved in a real conversation about real ideas, what drives someone, what makes them tick, then I could be there for hours.

    Blogging seems to provide the same interesting connections and conversations, but with a wider network, so does Twtiter. Through blogging, I get to explore my inner life more fully. When I write about it, I clarify a lot of the ideas that I’ve been turning over in my head . PLUS, I get to read about other people’s inner lives too, which as an introvert, I find fascinating.

  39. Interesting post, especially as I just read a post from another blog I follow suggesting that most bloggers might be introverts! Social media may be a relatively extroverted web based activity, but on the scale of social interactions must be one of the most introverted. Like you (and me although I’m an introvert with extrovert tendencies) it is on that cusp between the two. Speaking of being ambiverts (I don’t know if that’s a real word or if the other blogger made it up, but I like it!) a blog I read a while back said that such people were often very creative. I guess switching between two modes improves mental flexibility 🙂

    Another blog I read said introversion was not the same as shyness – shy extroverts like to be with people, but might sit in the corner enjoying the ambience, while the unshy introverts enjoy a good conversation then leave early.

    Myers-Briggs is fascinating. I’m INTP (driven to try and understand *all* the things!), it’s been interesting to see what some of the other commenters are. I wonder how much type affects our writing style, what we are drawn to write about, whether we are plot driven or character driven, whether we are pantsers or planners, that sort of thing.

  40. hey kristen,
    felt like the post was made for me to read 🙂
    I’ve been an introvert all my life and i feel terrible about it. i think being an introvert makes you invisible in a crowd of bubbly, jolly people. mostly your views are discarded and they take you as if you are good for nothing so I’m trying my best to change that thing about me really hard.

    • Barbara R. on March 1, 2012 at 9:22 am
    • Reply

    Thank you for this post!
    I only wish that the world of the job search was as balanced in this regard. ALL the gurus in that area appear insistant that basically, in order to get (or even deserve) a job, one needs to become just like them in the bombastic way they present themselves. As an introvert (who DOES get along with people just fine….in reasonable doses 🙂 ) – in addition to finding this ‘total personality transformation’ literally impossible, I am offended by this attitude.
    In my head I keep asking myself “When did all the thinkers die and leave the marketing, sales, & PR people in charge of the human race?”
    I am a human being, not a brand to be marketed; this approach I find so de-humanizing, and also find it a little curious that there are no dissenting voices in the media. Perhaps others are afraid to speak up because of the danger of being branded….ooooohh…..introvert w/anti-social tendencies!
    Then people might fear that you are one of those loners who will become a disgruntled employee, and come back to the office one day w/a high-powered rifle under your floor-length dark coat and blow everyone away? What a crock!

  41. Interesting. I took the test.

    My problem is that I am not a black and white person, so plain ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are often a real problem for me when it comes to those sorts of questions. Life is a myriad of colours, across the spectrum, and so ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in no way covers life – and questionnaires. To assess me properly there would have had to be a ‘maybe’ or ‘maybe not’ option. Also, one’s circumstances play a big part in many things, as well as age, job, where you are in your life and so on. I have always flunked out on interview questions about goals for instance. What is considered a goal for one person is not for someone else.

    I am generally an extrovert – have no problem in striking up conversations with complete strangers, complaining in a restaurant, jumping in with answers, and so on. I will often be the life and soul of a gathering, in the office, a group. On the reverse side I like and enjoy my own company, being on my own with my dog, thinking a lot, reading quietly; I am a good listener [you learn so much that way for one thing] and at times will just sit and not comment, but I am emotional, get involved, am empathetic and sympathetic. I do not consider myself to be a ‘sheep’ doing things the way society dictates all the time, and am not afraid of jumping off into the deep end, taking chances. I plan but I also live day by day, hand to mouth. I suppose I am a bit of a paradox.

    My mother tells me she thinks that Frank Sinatra’s song, I Did It My Way, fits me to a T.

    • Debbi on March 1, 2012 at 10:19 am
    • Reply

    I like the comment about sales. I had a Make-A-Wish Partner in granting wishes for M-A-W. She was a Director in Sales for healthcare. She would reel in the in-kind donations for our wishes. I once went to five stores trying to get a fake Christmas tree donated in December, right before Christmas…no dice. I sent my partner out to get one without telling her my results. She came back with a beautiful seven foot tree with a full set of twinkling lights.

    The biggest tip she gave me in asking for in-kind is this, “Ask for what you want. Then stand there and don’t say anything else until they make their decision.” I’ve tried it. It DOES get results.

  42. I came out as an ENFJ several decades ago after taking the infamous Myers-Briggs. I recently took it again, and I was borderline E and I but everything else had remained unchanged. It explains so much. How I can hovel in my office and write for six hours. But how I look for connections in the blogosphere, too. I love the WANA hash tag, and it helps to know that I’m dealing with someone who buys into the same larger picture that I do — about helping others to succeed instead of stomping over them.

    Thanks Kristen.

  43. I’m an introvert, although at times in my past I acted extroverted because I tend to get “chatty” with those I’m familiar with. It is both a hindrance and a blessing to be this way.

  44. I enjoyed watching and listening to you speak. I’ve heard quite a bit about you from Renee so to see you in action gave more depth to her description of you. I was intrigued by this whole concept of WANA and how it meshed with your VLOG because for a long time, I have wanted to start up a radio talk show. How cool would it be to create a sort of salon for writers, with a couple of hosts, where topics relating to the creative process, outstanding pieces of art, ways to expand your audience, methods for striking a balance between your authentic voice and the needs of your audience (to name a few) could be discussed? Just thinking aloud . . . hope you are well.

    1. El, you should do a podcast on your blog. You have a great voice. 😉

  45. Kristen, I guess I am a technical extrovert with strong introvert requirements for quiet time, creative time, productive time, restorative time! The totally weird thing about me is that I get a huge kick out of doing my own PR! I have always loved promoting the products of others–and now I have such a passion for my own writing goals that I have no problem communicating that passion to those who I want to hear it! Love you blog and your vlog. Prayers of thanksgiving for Spawn’s improvment!

    • Anne M. Beggs on March 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm
    • Reply

    Interesting question and vlog. As an introvert with reclusive and hermit tendencies married to the social butterfly, with both of us leading busy lives with grown kids and seniors now filling our nest, I can’t help wonder if social media isn’t made for many of us introverts, especially shy, self conscious, socially inept people like myself. We don’t have to worry whether our clothes are right, our hair perfect or feel badly if no one notices we’ve entered the room. I realize I’m probably combining aspects that don’t necessarily define introverts, but somehow I don’t find facebook or linkedin anywhere near as draining as real, honest to goodness people zapping my strength like krytonite upon Superman.

    I look forward to reading what others have to say, and exploring your blogs. TY 😀

    And a big thanks to Jennifer Bullington on Linkedin for guiding me here!

  46. This is another great post that gave me something to think about.

    A good friend once said I was an interesting contradiction. I don’t know about “interesting”, but she got the “contradiction” part right. I’m a person who never met a stranger– the life of the party–yet I can’t begin to understand why prisons call 30 days in solitary a PUNISHMENT.

    “Thirty whole days?” I would ask the warden, “Can I stay longer if I want to???”

    Anyway, thanks again for all you do to enlighten and encourage. I have gotten so much out of your book, WANA, and currently am reading AYTB. Donna Newton (for those that don’t already follow her, she also has an informative blog for writers : http://donnanewtonuk.com/ ) advised me to “stick with Kristen’s way” and I just know she’s right.

    Laura Ritchie

    PS: I’m glad the little one is getting along so well. Kids can be so resilient. It’s Mom and Dad that have so much trouble bouncing back after the drama ends.

  47. Thank you for explaining the difference between introverts and extroverts. I’ve always known I was an introvert, but I’m also not the “serial killer with my family buried in the basement” type either. Being in crowds drains me, and I totally cannot get the verbal brainstorming thing down, but I love performing. This has always confused me, but the way you explained it really makes sense.

    I love social networking for giving me a chance to converse with people and gain outside input without having to find a group of people in the real world.

  48. Kristen, have you chekced out the HBDI – google it, it comes up at the top. Better than the BMTI, in my opinion. About preferred thinking styles. I’m yellow quadrant, if you are familiar with it already. My MBTI is ENFP.

    Interesting question about ruling social media – heavens I’m still learning it – RULING is a long way off for me!

  49. I have a friend who has a very profound speech impediment. Even for the most patient, conversations with him are hard work for him and his listeners. So he says very little. I love that I am now his facebook friend. He has insights and a funny quick wit, something I never knew before I knew him online. I think the introvert argument is like this on some levels. A lot of us extroverts miss out on the introverts wisdom because they are introverts. Online the playing field is leveled in this respect.

      • Anne M. Beggs on March 2, 2012 at 11:27 am
      • Reply

      @ Cnicolewhite, absolutely, what a great opportunity for your friend. Social media is a great equalizer in that regard. We can all have a chance to express our ourselves. Although I now find myself pondering the difference between being truly introverted vs. being withdrawn because of age, gender, speech, audio…

      @ Kristen, I’ll have to look up the HBDI and MBTI as well…???…

      This keeps my brain snapping 😀

  50. Speaking of Social Media, there are moves afoot in Australia to designate any blog with over 15,000 hits per annum a media outlet, subject to proposed to regulations.

    I’m not writing an article about it as it doens’t fit my niche, but there is discussion in the WordPress forums and links.


    1. Sorry about the typos – need more coffee

  51. Hi Kristen:

    Last month I did everything you requested but I received no acknowledgment that my name went into a hat… Did it?

    1. Yes, I don’t send out acknowledgements. No way I know of for doing that that wouldn’t eat up too much time. I also haven’t announced last month’s winners from Feb. Am behind due to my son’s accident.

  52. I’m way behind in your blogs (and everything else). Better late than never, right? I’m so glad you’re doing vlogs (can’t wait to see the other one). Your personality is adorable! I LOVE your vlog, love your humor and how animated your are. So much fun, plus your message gets through loud and clear. So sorry to hear Spawn had an accident, but I’m glad he’s doing better. Poor little guy. Poor Mom and Dad. Take care and I hope you all catch up on your rest.

    1. Thanks Lynn and i am enjoying the vlogging. It is making me stretch in new ways. And Spawn is doing great. Back at nursery school today. He is certainly more resilient than I would have been, ha ha ha ha. *hugs* Thanks for the warm wishes and thoughts.

  53. You hit the nail on the head in the last little bit…sometimes, Social Media can be a little overwhelming for an introvert like myself with its urgency factor, but once you get over the sense that you have to respond NOW and not miss ANYTHING, OMG, OMG TWEET FACEBOOK OVERLOAD, it’s actually quite nice. You get little bursts of energy where you get a lot accomplished and, you know what, if you decide you need to take the day off, you know what? It’s still there the next day. It’s a great tool, and I’m constantly discovering new ways to use it.

    Another great vlog, too! Keep up the great work.

  54. I would describe myself as a confident introvert.
    I am usually confident but sometimes feel overwhelmed in a crowd.
    Its nice to know that there is a place for everybody.

    • Melissa on March 7, 2012 at 7:06 am
    • Reply

    No such thing as being an extrovert with strong introversive qualities darling (and vice versa). Basically you are an AMBIVERT! Most people are ambiverts, that’s the norm. Then you have the outliers – moderate & extreme extroverts & moderate & extreme introverts. People need to get acquainted with the term ‘Ambiversion’.

    1. Ambivert, I LOVE new words, and ambiversion. Ty for sharing 😀

  1. […] Who Will Rule Social Media? Introverts vs Extroverts                      (Kristen Lamb’s Blog) Share this:TwitterTumblrStumbleUponRedditLinkedInFacebookDiggEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Are You an Introvert? […]

  2. […] Who Will Rule Social Media? Introverts vs. Extroverts (warriorwriters.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] Pema Chodron’s book Start Where You Are. Instead, I got distracted by Kristen Lamb’s recent post on introversion versus extroversion. I just had to follow a bunch of the links, and then take and retake the personality test that […]

  4. […] herself, with three fantastic posts that you don’t want to miss: We Are Not Alone, Vol. 1, Who Will Rule Social Media? Introverts vs Extroverts (includes a cool vlog) & T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves […]

I LOVE hearing your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.