Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why Facebook is Painful for Introverts

I know this is not really a writing-related post, but I'm in the mood for a rant.

I'm "traumatised" by Facebook. Let's say bored and frustrated are better words.

I'm an introvert. Yeah, sure, I'm quite verbal with my close friends and family and lay it out there, but Facebook is increasingly becoming a scary place to navigate as a writer and person.

I have a theory which may not even be true, but I think most writers are introverts. Writers are often sensitive, analytical, and detailed people. Those personality traits usually apply to introverts.

The best way to work out if you're an extrovert or introvert is this: when you're tired, do you prefer to be alone or with people?

I love this post about introverts. Although it's related to the paleo diet which I follow, any introverts would be able to relate to what she says: PaleoNonPaleo

Okay, I do have a few extrovert tendencies. I tend to spout personal stuff but then I regret it afterwards. But when I'm tired, I like to be alone, or with close family. Definitely not with a crowd of people.

The reason I'm almost sure most writers are introverts is that we love being alone with our writing. We thrive on it. Most extroverts would hate spending hours behind a screen with their characters being their only companions.

Facebook is a crowd. My friends list doesn't stop growing. I don't want to turn anyone away and hurt them so I keep on welcoming people into my circle. I work at home so I get lonely sometimes. So, I lay my personal stuff out there but then I wait in fear for criticism, lack of interest, and all those things that sting. Sigh! I sometimes feel like this huge crowd is staring at me, waiting for me to mess up. A totally misguided concept but the blindness of Facebook does that.

You can't see the expressions of people, you can't hear their tone of voice. They aren't flesh and blood people but just words on a page. As much as I like stories and words, to build a living relationship, I prefer to have someone sitting in front of me. You at least know what they're thinking. The silence of Facebook rings very loud sometimes. So Facebook doesn't do well for introverts who prefer a handful of loyal friends and not a whole crowd partaking of their personal lives. Yet, in this busy and lonely career, we want to connect somehow.

As a writer, we need to connect with our readers and put personal things up. I sometimes find it easier with people who are complete strangers but at times it's hard.

I suppose the introverts amongst us must just continue to be strong and lay our personal selves out on the altar of promo sacrifice. It's all part of the business and making the connection. And we do actually enjoy it when we're not overcome by the feeling of being lost in a crowd.

The other rant I have about Facebook is that it has become so cluttered and commercialised. I remember the excitement when I first joined - how I could connect with people I hadn't seen in years. Now, I hardly ever speak to those people but I'm grateful to have the access to connect with them if I need to. What annoys me are all the adverts (sponsored, they say) which pop up on my news feed without my permission, and the groups I follow can get a bit overwhelming. I belong to close to twelve different groups. I keep on embarrassing myself by posting a personal status in a group. I think I've done it about five times and have had to delete it. You must make sure you're on your home page before you post your personal statuses.

So, how do we as introverts navigate the very scary world of social networking?

Be careful what you post. Don't aim for controversial or sensational. I'm speaking to myself here as I love controversial especially when it comes to religion as I question the status quo quite a bit. You will get a response and it may upset you. Unless you're looking for a response. Go ahead then.

Try to spend more time responding to your friends than going on about your own life.

Don't complain about other people at all. You'll regret it.

Don't grumble a lot. Save that for your poor partner to bear the brunt of.

Don't share too many blog posts and You Tube videos. I'm very guilty of sharing stuff that I've enjoyed but I bore my friends way too much. Sharing jokes always seems to build a report with friends.

Spend less time on Facebook and more time connecting with real people or reading a good book.

I keep a separate Facebook account now for my writing friends and groups. It helps me to not miss out on important writing news and it eliminates the crowd factor a little bit.

Any ideas for an introvert to navigate the scary world of Facebook?


  1. Kathy,
    At least you have the guts to post on facebook. I refuse to put out personal information about myself, and when I have to, I keep it to a minimum and try to post that same stuff. With that said, I write about my own personal sexual abuse experiences, and am currently under contract to put it all in a book. However, I do so to help other people who have been victimized, to show them what I have done to overcome my fears and self-imposed roadblocks, and to help them move forward in their own lives. I completely agree with most all you have said about facebook, and I hope that by my writing lots of books, I can avoid having to rely on online media until I can hire someone to handle that for me! God bless us writers, introvert or not. (By the way, I’m an introvert and love spending hours with my characters!)

  2. Thanks, Carole, for your honesty. Congrats on your non-fiction book contract. Sounds like a much-needed book. Yes, I also want to use my books to sell my books. Writing is the fun part.