Social Media is for the Quiet Ones

I absolutely love Twitter. It’s a front door to industry leaders, brilliant minds and smart brands. Through Twitter I get to write, build relationships and engage in thoughtful conversations. What more could I ask for?

I’ve always gravitated to online platforms, even before social media was all the rage. AIM was my preferred method of communication over phone; Xanga (remember that?) kept friends up-to-date on my college experience; and blogger was there when I chronicled a very personal journey of loss.

It’s never been hard for me to divulge personal information online. I had no problem chronicling my emotions as I left for college, and when I lost my dad, writing about the journey online was actually very therapeutic for me.

While I always thought the online world would have a place for me personally, I never realized what an impact social media would have on me professionally.

Building new relationships is important in your career, but I’ve never been overly confident when it comes to networking. The idea of striking up conversations with stranger after stranger is exhausting to me. Don’t get me wrong… I love to meet new people and engage in thoughtful conversation, but I don’t like the small talk huge networking events often lend themselves to. I prefer to grab a cup of coffee with someone new, get to know them one-on-one and really dive in.

Here is where social media comes in.

Twitter has helped bridge that gap for me. It has allowed me to reach out to people in a way that I’m comfortable. I can participate in conversations that are meaningful to me. I can share interests I am passionate about. I don’t have to speak just to speak; but instead, can be thoughtful about what I Tweet. With Twitter, I can build relationships before I get to a networking event so I’m not in a room full of strangers. I can build relationships online, and then take them offline.

I never quite understood why I loved Twitter so much or why it was so easy for me to write such personal anecdotes online… it’s just always been natural and easy for me.

A friend recommended that I read Quiet by Susan Cain and it was in reading this passage that I had my “ah-ha” moment:

Studies have shown that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the “real me” online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally. The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world.

Yes, I’m an introvert. But, here’s the beauty in that: Social media isn’t just for the extroverts. Social media is for the quiet ones who like to think, analyze and then speak (or in this case, Tweet).

So to everyone who has ever been told that they need to talk more, keep on rocking who you are. Harness the strengths you have. Leverage social media as a way to connect with people in your industry and those you admire. Use it to showcase your thoughtful, analytical side and writing skills. Remember, sometimes perceived weaknesses are actually your biggest strengths. It’s up to you to know yourself best and find a way to leverage what you bring to the table, both in your personal and professional life.

I love connecting with others, so please, tweet at me: @WarJessEagle.

Photo courtesy of unsplash & Luke Chesser.

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