Thoughts on introversion and online communities

This evening I was meeting with a group of #hcsmca members to plan our next meet-up (details will be coming soon – I’m looking forward to it). As the meeting went on, I got the sense that majority of people in the room were introverts. True, it was the first time many of us met each other in real life, and group dynamics play a part in how these things happen too – those people with higher status (social or otherwise) tend to lead the group whether they intend to or not – but even taking those factors into account I was surprised by how many people came across as introverts.

Or am I? When I think about my own experience and reflecting on who I know online, I’d say the majority of those people are introverts too. A bunch of members from an online community I’ve been on for nearly a decade did the Myers-Briggs test and members overwhelmingly ended up an “I” instead of an “E”. And true, this could be because “like attracts like” when it comes to friendships, but I think it’s more than just that.

It makes sense to me that those who thrive online, who build strong relationships facilitated by computer screens, are likely more introverted than extroverted. When I compare the “online life” of the extroverts and introverts I know, the introverts seem to embrace social media and connecting with others online while the extroverts have more difficulty getting into it. Internet conversations don’t allow for the instant gratification and the same kind of connections that extroverts often thrive on. But they do give introverts the ability to think, rethink, edit, and re-edit any and everything they share. It also gives introverts the unique ability to connect with others and open up when they feel like it, on their own terms. And although large groups can participate in online conversations, it is easy to hone in on a few specific people rather than pay attention to everyone in the “room”.

Not to say that extroverts can’t excel too; I certainly know some extroverts (or, at least, people I’d consider to be extroverts) who have built up a strong following and a solid online presence. They just seem to be a rarer breed.

In case there are any questions on my position on the introvert-extrovert scale, I am definitely an introvert and proud of it. How about you?

2 responses to “Thoughts on introversion and online communities”

  1. Introvert. No question. People bother me.

    1. haha, well I don’t know if being bothered by other people is the exact definition of an introvert. The way I understand it is that introverts get their energy from within while extroverts get their energy from without.

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