Saturday, 10 January 2015

Keeping it in while letting it all hang out

I've been reading a really interesting book lately. It's called Quiet and it's all about introverts and introversion.

"What, me an introvert?" I hear you ask in amazement. After all, I'm all over the joint when it comes to social media. You can find me hanging out on Facebook and cavorting on Twitter, not to mention Goodreads and of course this blog. How could someone so utterly social-media-ised consider themselves to be an introvert?

Well, hard as it is to believe, it's actually true. Even though I appear to be Mr Social Media Party Animal, that's really not the true me at all. To be honest, I'd sooner pack the whole thing in, lock myself in a room, and read a book. Actually, to be truly accurate, I'd rather be writing that book instead of reading it.

The fact that introverts like myself find ourselves out in the noisy world of social media is just one more of the kinds of challenges we face (and exactly the sort of thing that is covered in Quiet). And I can tell you that from my perspective, it's not always easy. How does someone with an inward focus force themselves outward? How does someone who likes to keep things private deal with a world in which over-sharing is the norm? How does someone who finds any sort of social interaction overwhelming cope with the pure social-ness of it all?

Truth is, I have no idea. I just bumble along, from one post/update/tweet to the next. Have I said too much? Have I said too little? Have I interacted enough? Have I not interacted enough? Do the people out there know the true me? Do I even want the people out there to know the true me? These are the kinds of questions that go through my head on a daily basis.

In the meantime, I somehow force myself to keep going. Every week, I get my blog out, trying to reveal just a little bit about myself while still feeling that I haven't given too much away. My Twitter and Facebook continue to fill with my regular random comments. For better or worse, I seem to have figured out a way to get myself out their, while maintaining my desire to keep myself as private as I possibly can.

After all, that's the modern way. I just have to figure out the right set of rules that will work for me.

1 comment:

  1. I reviewed Quiet a while back. Not a book I would’ve gone out and bought—the publisher sent me a copy—but one I enjoyed more than I expected. That you’re an introvert comes as no big surprise. There’re a lot of us online faking it. There’re a lot of extroverts online faking it too. Methinks most people online really don’t have much of a clue how effective what they do is. When you’re trying to promote a book there’re things they tell you to do and we do them and nothing happens, nothing much, because the people telling you what to do only know what has worked for some in a few, rare occasions and if there’s one thing you cannot predict it’s the next big thing. Who’d thought that books about wizards would’ve been popular or novels about sadomasochism? Wizards and BDSM have been around for ages. There’s nothing new there but something piqued the public’s interest. But, that aside (we’ve whinged about that enough in the past), we do what we hope will work, sell the odd book, make the odd (as in occasional, not peculiar, but sometimes peculiar too) friend and live in hope that we might be one of the lucky ones.

    Online is unnatural. We tend to forget that. Because most everyone is doing it we pretend it’s natural but it really isn’t. It has its good points though and one of them is that it is a halfway house for introverts. We don’t have to go outside. We don’t have to think on our feet, say the wrong thing, get embarrassed. We can spend three hours perfecting the perfect comment and that’s pretty much how I cope. I present a fabrication to the world, a carefully crafted one. I’m a lie. Which is fine as I’m a writer and we’re all liars masquerading as artists. Of course the best lies are the ones based on truth and so online me is not terribly dissimilar to real life me; he’s a smarter, more polished version, a considered version. I think both are pretty decent chaps actually.

    The problem with presenting the world with online me is that when they meet real life me he’s a bit more reserved than they probably expected, quiet, possibly shy even, clearly uncomfortable in a crowd and not one to overstay his welcome or even stay longer than he feels he absolutely has to. Online is safer. You can control much online. But not nearly as much as they’d have you believe.