How social media empowers the introvert

Shane Stewart discusses how social media empowers introverts, enabling them to communicate and express themselves in ways previously unavailable.

You know that friend of yours whose eyes glaze over in small talk but gives a killer presentation? Yeah, that one. There is a chance you have an introvert on your hands.

I know this, because I am one.

Although these behaviours seem to oppose each other, they are actually quite consistent with the normal expectations of introversion due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.

Myers and Briggs: “Perception involves all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings, or ideas. Judgment involves all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived. If people differ systematically in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ correspondingly in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills.” 

The first and major pair of psychological preferences is extraversion and introversion (extraverts and introverts). These indicators help you understand where you put your attention to and get your energy from.

Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (extravert), or in your inner world of ideas and images (introvert)? According to the Myer Briggs Type Indicator, there are 16 personality combinations.

Rapid technological progression and enhanced accessibility of social media has changed the way introverts and extraverts interact with the online environment. But in what way?

The online city of social media that never sleeps is making it easier for introverts to communicate with extraverted friends. Technology has handed them a mask on a silver platter to conceal their identity and allude others into thinking they are someone they’re not.

Technology has changed the way introverts engage with new communication methods. First with the telephone, then voicemail, then mobile phones, and now the always-on social media.

Who said you’ve got to leave the house to be social?


The illusion of social presence

So you take the perfect selfie and make the move to upload it on Instagram. Just when you’re about to hit upload, your finger freezes over the screen. ‘Take another photo!’ ‘Use this black and white filter’ ‘Just touch up that pimple and you’ll be set.’

Introverts are now able to portray a lifestyle they don’t even have. Over extending themselves on social platforms is now a regular occurrence. Are they to blame for a superficial society made up of selfies and over exaggerated reality? Apps like Instagram and Snapchat propel this behaviour with filters, lighting adjustments and the ability to re-take photos until you get the ‘perfect one.’

Beme, an app launched in the last few weeks, is attempting to combat this by encouraging social media to generate more authentic content. It’s empowering users to share raw video without the ability to review it by sending it straight to your social media account.


24/7 communication

Technology and social media platforms have empowered the introvert; allowing them to connect and communicate their thoughts without face-to-face confrontation. It is now the social norm to interact with people online because it’s easier to send a message to a friend on Facebook than to call. Online engagement also allows an introvert to construct a well thought out response without the pressure of thinking on the spot like they would in a face to face discussion.

But is there a downside to empowering introverts with technology? Are introverts more likely to become online trolls?

Hiding behind a screen allows an introvert to release their inner ambition and feel more comfortable and confident in what they have to say without the pressure of confrontation.

Are introverts utilising social media as an indirect way of communicating? Or do they feel overwhelmed being connected online 24/7?

Some people hide behind the screen and others blossom, or at the very least, are more comfortable. The advantages of technology are numerous, which I’m sure we all enjoy. It’s just a question of balance.

How do you use social media differently? I’d love to hear which personality type you are.



Shane Stewart is a marketing professional with over six years’ experience across the not-for- profit, financial services and commercial real estate sector. Currently working with Colliers International as the national marketing manager for retail properties, Shane empowers a network of over 65 agents and support staff with direction on marketing strategies, initiatives and developing market leading commercial real estate campaigns.