Working in social media is a bit of a paradigm shift for me. The fact is, I’m one of those people who can go a very long time without talking. I worried that my children would not learn how to talk, because no matter how good my intention, I would stop vocalizing. My internal dialogue would be going full steam, however.
I’m not much for small talk; I’m capable, but it’s not an enjoyable exercise. One of the primary goals of a social media strategy is to engage people in conversation. Now, one might think that the 140 character tweet could circumvent the small talk issue. Um. No. Not for me.
For example, the pundits advise not merely tweeting the link to an article you’ve found interesting, illuminating, or otherwise noteworthy, but adding a few words to say why you found it noteworthy. My inner voice says, well, I wouldn’t have forwarded it if I didn’t find it of interest, now would I? Then I sigh and remind myself that ESP is not an ability shared by very many people, and someone else may not find said article as enthralling. Save the time of the reader, whispers Ranganathan.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to say: I do. My internal dialogue is very busy, and can be very opinionated. Perhaps I censor that inner voice a little harshly.
By this time, if you’ve stayed with me this long, and you haven’t been living under the rock next to my cave, you might suggest I have the classic symptoms of an introvert. And you would be right.
But here’s the paradox. A social media platform can be a wonderful mouthpiece for the clown behind the curtain. “I am the great and powerful Oz!”, one could bellow, and no one (except that confounded little dog Toto) would know that the voice comes from someone who dreads the prospect of going to a gathering of more than five and having to exchange small talk.
A Google search for “social media introverts” results in a wealth of hits– 1.4 million. Who knew there were so many introverts out there expressing themselves through Twitter, blogging, and curating content?
I had one of those Chatty Cathy dolls. The novelty wore off with astonishing speed. It was a small talk nightmare. Those eleven sentences were not at all entertaining after the third or fourth repetition.
And that just might be the cause for my silence.