social media for the socially awkward
A friend was recently commenting about how tragic it is that this “virtual world” of social media is replacing real human interaction. They were bemoaning the loss of face time with friends or written correspondence with distant relatives. Even the downfall of the hour-long phone conversation. As if such a thing could ever truly be missed.
They were having this conversation on Facebook and all sorts of folks were responding, mostly in support of this anti-social media sentiment. Bask in the irony of that.
Speaking as an ISTJ with a strong I (that means I’m a big-time introvert for you non-Myers Briggs folks), I can tolerate about one large social event per month. And generally those are either a family gathering or a staff happy hour. Being around large groups of people is exhausting. I dread the ringing of the phone, which coincidentally is usually turned off, misplaced, or has a dead battery. The phone, I have decided, is a vile tool designed solely for the purpose of interrupting my peace and quiet. And don’t even get me started on the traumatic memory of letter writing via snail mail with the returned letters from my grandmother with red ink correcting my spelling and grammar errors!!! I WAS 9!!!!
Here is what I LOVE. Hiding away at home in the quiet and engaging with friends and family on MY terms. In my SpongeBob pajamas, with the psychotic dog snorting in the background, and a glass of wine. I can browse baby pictures, comment on status updates, find new information through Twitter, and do whatever it is people do on Google+ (let me know if you figure out the purpose for this site).
The advent of social media has allowed me to feel engaged in people’s lives and connected to them without the torture of actually having to get together. It gives me something to talk about around the water cooler the next day. “Ooh, did you see the gooeyduck photo Maggie posted! Ewww!”
So to my “real world” preferring friends I say this. No one said Facebook had to replace face-to-face. There is no law against picking up the phone and talking instead of tweeting. You are not being forced to pin, post, blog, like, friend, or in any other way interact in this virtual space. But if you want to connect with me (or any of your other introverted friends), you’re going to have to suck it up and post a “hello” on my wall, poke me (does anyone even do that anymore), or tweet. I’ll probably reply a lot faster than if you leave a voice mail on my long-lost phone. Scratch the probably.