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22 August 2006


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Ski Tremblant

I noticed that people are so shy they won't comment on this post!


I see two possible explanations:

1. All my readers are introverts. Except you -- but you're new here, aren't you?

2. I have no readers.


I'm introverted and prefer the net. I can communicate when and how I want, while doing whatever else I want to do, and am definitely more open online since my audience is actually more "select". Idon't have to worry about who I'm speaking to or what they know; the very fact that they are online means at least they are somewhat computer-literate and will tend to be more technologically oriented, although that is less and less true as the Internet usage has become more widespread. I much preferred the Internet of 5 or even 10 years ago as far as social networking, and the fact that spam was so much less of a problem then. But I love the visual communication we can do now, and find it ironic that people are going back to things like RSS feeds that remove the visual elements, when those are the elements that make the web what it is today.

I'm not good with phones or making the effort to communicate with people "in real life", mostly because I'm quite content to be by myself. I don't mind socializing but usually others have to be the ones to suggest doing something, as whatever I'm doing I will just go and do and don't need someone to do it with.

I'm also much more comfortable with online cohorts since I can find people whose political views match my own, while in San Diego I live in a very conservative area. Here I find myself being careful what I'll say depending on who is around.

And yes, I'd say a lot of netizens are introverted types who are comfortable online. Not as much as it used to be, but there is still a large componenet of techies and geeks who lean towards introversion. Believe me though, we're very social among our cohorts!


I have the privilege of traveling in three overlapping circles of introversion:

1. twenty-something
2. poet
3. geek

I was social networking before social networking existed -- as a fifteen-year-old on bulletin board systems and IRC. I think the allure for so many young people is that they can try on different personae at at time when they are developing their identity. For geeks, it is the opportunity to be smart and interesting without appearing socially awkward. For poets? Perhaps the opportunity to be vulnerable (the mainstay of a poet's life -- exposing one's innermost to opinionated readers & critics) in a medium you can keep at arms length (-- don't like the feedback? Shut down the computer.)

Yet in all these circles I think online connections are a double-edged sword. Doesn't the spotty teenager want a real date? The geek want real friends? The poet want live readings and workshops, and print publication? For all the allure of online connections, there is also a caveat: IRL is always richer.


Techies -- geeks -- poets -- introverts ~ there does seem to be some overlap...

I'm not sure, Robert, that I wouldn't qualify at least some of my online friendships as 'real' -- and, though I do get asked about putting something in print, I am 'published' -- right here, no?

Podcasting is something like doing a reading, except one needn't look the part.

But a real date, ah -- that's something else again.


SB, your two possibilities, that all your readers are introverts ... or that you have no readers ... hmmm, how about a third possibility, which you pointed out yourself? Social software is mediated communication
... it means avenues of communication are only as open as I want them to be...

That one makes sense to me. But then I'm an introvert. I think that's what operates for me most of the time with Flickr, my blog, the other couple of blog-groups I am (loosely) part of... It's like a window or door I open only when I feel like it. Or have "time" for.

I'm such an introvert that when a "small" online social group grows beyond a certain size (variable size depending on my mood) I don't feel comfortable commenting or speaking up anymore. Yours isn't like that. I'm not around much to comment -- but if I were I'd jump right in. To yours.

sorry this is disjointed. I think I'd better stop before I demonstrate my true space-ball qualities. :-D


When you said, "I feel more comfortable being personal, being who-I-am, online, than off. Generally, not universally, speaking" I nodded my head in agreement. It continually surprises me when other folks don't get that.

Then again, I wrote that post (thanks for the link back) and I live with a poet, so my perspective is different from that of the average bear.


Bud and I have actually been having a somewhat extended conversation about the "realness" (legitimacy) of the online versus meatware world:



Well, this was an interesting set of comments!

I guess us, or is it we, introverts like time to think before we blurt things out.

Then, there is that other question, are there other fields that introverts like. Can you imagine an introvert used car salesman?



Ken -- not a successful one. :)

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