As an introvert, I’ve had my fair share of people who were so surprised to find that I’m quiet in person.
I totally understand why, though. It’s because I’m very expressive online, and that may have given them the idea that I’m the same way when we’re face to face.
They usually say something like, “But you’re so active on social media!”
I don’t know if they’re very disappointed with the real me, but what can I do?
I don’t mean to mislead with my outgoing, chatty online persona. It’s simply because for introverts like me, social media is a playground. It’s a space where all of us can express ourselves exactly how we want to.
Here are 8 reasons why we seem to shine brighter on social media than in real life:
1) Online interactions are more controlled
To understand why this is important, you have to first understand that one of the effects of face-to-face interactions on introverts is that they get drained.
It’s not that they don’t enjoy socializing. Personally, I love connecting with people. But I also can’t deny that I need some recharging on my own afterwards.
But with social media, we have more control. We can respond when we want to. We can post a statement, then if someone comments, we can think about what we want to say back.
It’s a real luxury for people like us to have that chance, that freedom to think and choose our words. We don’t always get that in a personal interaction, where there’s some pressure to respond right away.
In fact, even if we don’t know what to say, it’s okay because…
2) Not knowing what to say isn’t awkward
Imagine being in a real-life conversation and sitting there awkwardly while everyone else talks about something you know nothing about.
How would you excuse yourself? Forget suddenly walking away – that would be rude. For the introvert, that is a real conundrum.
Compare these two scenarios:
Face-to-face: You’re stuck between two people talking about the latest football game, and you continue nodding and smiling along while your non-sporty self is dying a little bit inside.
Social media: If people suddenly talk about sports, hey, you can just stay quiet and do your thing while they chat or exchange comments on a post…go ahead and watch cute dog videos if that’s your thing! No one would know because they can’t see you.
I guess you can tell which one introverts like me would prefer.
3) No need for small talk
Another thing I love about social media is that there’s no need for small talk. I can jump right into the topics I’m passionate about without the usual pleasantries.
For instance, if I want to express my thoughts on art or spark a conversation about it, all I need to do is share an article.
In the same way, if a friend (or a random page) posts something I find interesting, I can simply comment on their post.
And I often end up having deeper and more meaningful conversations than if I stood at a party and said, “How about that weather we’re having?”
Aside from that, it saves so much time and energy, which as we all know, are very precious resources for introverts.
4) Introverts can take their time
In real-life settings, to be considered brilliant, you’d need to be able to react quickly, to keep up with the conversation and be witty while you’re at it.
That’s kind of a tough job for an introvert like me because we like mulling things over first.
(Or, we can be witty too, but we’d feel confident to show that side in real life only to people we’re truly comfortable with.)
But give us a blank caption space or a tweet to craft, and suddenly we’re brilliant (or so we’d like to think).
There’s no rush, no judgment, and no awkward silences. No foot-in-mouth episodes, unless you’re a careless tweeter or poster (which introverts generally aren’t).
5) Introverts can be as creative as they want online
Are you an introvert who actually likes writing longform posts? Would you rather speak in haikus?
Well, on social media, there’s no one to stop you!
That’s what I really appreciate about it – it caters to different communication styles.
I myself have days when I feel like going in-depth on a certain topic; I’d write paragraphs and paragraphs about it.
Then I have days when I like to do quick and witty tweets, pun-ny posts, and whatnot.
I also have the odd express-yourself-in-a-poem day. And the simple “IG-photo-says-it-all” urge.
My point is, the online world literally becomes our oyster, self-expression-wise. If you’re an introvert, whatever your communication style is, there’s a platform for you. There’s an audience for you.
This flexibility makes you shine in your own special way and brings out your unique voice, which would otherwise be quiet (sometimes even forgotten) in real-life settings.
6) Social media provides varied opportunities to connect with others
When we’re not naturally the life of the party or the center of attention, we find other ways to build meaningful connections. Social media offers us a lot of avenues to do that.
For example, when I want to connect with a new friend, I can tag them in a post that I think they’d find interesting or funny. It’s a low-pressure way to initiate a conversation and find common ground.
Alternatively, I can slide into their DMs with a thoughtful question or comment related to something they’ve posted.
I’ve noticed that fellow introverts do this with me, too. Here are some ways we connect with one another on social media:
- Sharing memes or articles to kickstart a discussion
- Commenting on other people’s posts to show interest and engagement
- Collaborating on something of mutual interest, like a community event or online challenge
- Joining a group where we can contribute to the conversation on our own terms
And the best part? We can do it all from the comfort of our own spaces, at our own paces.
As the introvert mantra goes, “Let’s all unite together! Separately!”
7) It’s easier to fit in on social media
So, because social media offers more opportunities to connect, introverts have a better chance of finding their tribe.
The variety of online communities, forums, and groups dedicated to specific interests means that they’re more likely to encounter like-minded individuals.
And when they do, oh boy, you can count on them to shine. Without the pressures of immediate, face-to-face interaction, introverts feel more free to be themselves.
Case in point: I once joined an online group of urban sketchers. The funny thing is, most of us in the group are, by nature, introverts.
But you’d never know it from all the noisy online exchanges we have, whether it’s through the group chat or through comments on one another’s posts.
Then, when we’re all together to sketch in person, we’re quiet. Sketching and doing our own thing. Anybody watching would think that we’re all boring people.
Be that as it may, we feel safe because there’s a sense of belonging. Aside from our common interests, we all know we’re alike in another way – brilliant online, but low-key in person.
8) Safety in anonymity
Lastly, for many introverts, social media can provide a layer of anonymity that can be incredibly liberating.
It’s a little ironic, actually, the fact that this distance makes it easier for them to connect. Does that make sense?
You see, unlike face-to-face interactions, where social pressures and judgments are immediate and palpable, online platforms offer a buffer.
You can choose a username that doesn’t disclose your full identity, or join groups where no one knows you in the “real world” (like what I did with my sketch group).
I don’t mean to sound like introverts are online trolls or like catfishing. What I’m saying is that being online creates some distance, even if you use your real name.
There’s a degree of separation that feels comforting to the introvert. Even if someone does post something negative, it doesn’t deliver as harsh a blow as it would’ve if it was said to their face.
In a way, it makes the introvert more confident. Their statements sound bolder and they ask questions without fear (or at least less fear than they would in real life). So, they come across as sparkling and brilliant.
For introverts, social media evens out the playing field. In the online world, they can be just as sparkling as any extrovert.
What others need to realize is that, generally, the version of an introvert they see online is probably more authentic than the version they meet in person.
In face-to-face interactions, an introvert might hold back due to social pressures, anxieties, or the simple overwhelming nature of real-time conversation.
But online, they find the space and time to carefully craft their words and share more of themselves. To be themselves, period.
And because introverts have a rich inner world, their social media presence can be truly powerful and inspiring. Imagine all of that imagination and depth coming out in full display!
So, if you’re an introvert, don’t be afraid to be your vibrant self online, no matter how other people say you’re so different in person.