Introverts and social media addiction

Introverts and social media addiction

Social media has created an addiction for introverts: anonymity; power of weak ties; and indirect communication. Every time I hear the word social media whore I’m reminded that the majority of any social media interaction is “just watching“. Lurking. Voyeurism.

Armies of 1%ers who keep connected to the rest of humanity through a pixelated screen of safe browsing. There are really two sides to this: those who think social media is making us less social.  And those who think social media is making the world smaller.

But what’s social? I can remember clinging to chat rooms from the age of eight trying to sort out things in my head that I couldn’t or wouldn’t ask my friends and parents.  Surely that’s a good thing?  Every awkward teenage friend I’ve had – unable or unwanting to speak up in the clique at school, but finding a world of friends and connections through a World of Warcraft server.

Surely that’s social.  Not everyone can host a conversation in a pub, have the best parties, network like the jerks at SxSW, or even be able to ask someone on a date.

For any introvert, or for anyone who is introverted about some things, the internet, and more specifically social media (in all its forms) has opened a gateway for inclusion, interaction and connectedness – we as humans are driven by instinct to connect with others.  We’re all here just to reproduce.

So is it total bullshit social media is making us less social? Not quite. Just learn to put your phone away for a few hours a day, or like me and other agency dickheads, disconnect for a week and see the world with the person or people you care about.  Write a letter to your parents or grandparents.   Learn mindful meditation. Go out and make something.

For someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression: the internet is a gateway to possibility and hope. Technology has more than once, talked me off a psychological edge. But honestly, I just want to find the next group of people I can cosplay with as a Hobbit.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.