An addicted insider’s account of our real lives in the era of the realtime, social web.

An Introvert Goes Online

Jonathan Rauch has an extremely interesting piece in The Atlantic called Caring for Your Introvert.

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

… If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren’t caring for him properly. Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (I am not making this up). If you are behind the curve on this important matter, be reassured that you are not alone. Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world.

I wonder how this plays out as more of our social interactions move online.

Is there such a thing as an online introvert? And does that behavioristic necessarily jibe with one’s offline personality?

I know plenty people with whom I find it almost impossible to have a clear and relaxed conversation. But that’s in person. Those same folks are often my favorite people to talk with over instant messenger or email.

Have you ever been totally shocked to see a little smiley emoticon from someone who absolutely never smiles in real life?

Rauch refers to introverts as a little-understood group. Every group is little-understood when it comes to the relatively new online world.

Maybe the emergence of an online society will cause a realignment in the way each of us is perceived. At least that’s my take for this blog. Ask me in real life and I might not answer at all.


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My name is Dave Pell, internet superhero. This blog provides an addicted insider's account of what's happening to us in the era of the realtime, social web. You can read more about the site, grab the rss feed, follow me on twitter, join the Facebook page, or get email updates.