In the middle of my enthusiastic bubbling-over about IBM’s social software offerings, Hossam Ali-Hassan asked me, “Do bloggers tend to be extroverts?” Do you have to be an extrovert to blog, to enjoy the baring of soul in front of an audience?
His question made me stop and think. A lot of people are afraid to blog because it’s like getting to know people. Those of us who remember how painful that was in high school will probably run away screaming now. It was hard enough talking to a few friends one at a time… Imagine getting on a soapbox and talking to the whole Internet! The thought would scare the most confident of extroverts.
But blogging isn’t like that at all. I think that blogging is a natural fit for introverts. I blog because it’s such a convenient way for me to connect with people. I blog when I want to. I read when I want to. I choose whom to read and whom to respond to. I can withdraw and re-join without anyone noticing. Real-life conversations are immediate and sometimes more than a little scary. On my blog, I can spend some time thinking about things and drafting a response. And I don’t even have to pretend interest in other people if I’m not in the mood for connecting with people!
For me, blogging is a low-risk way to get to know myself and to get to know others. I don’t know what I think until I read it or hear myself say it. Writing a blog entry at one in the morning is easier than calling someone up at eight in the evening. I don’t have to worry about imposing on anyone, and I can ramble as much as I need to. *And* I still get the benefits of conversation when good friends talk to me about what I’ve written about. I can keep up on their blogs, too. We can skip all the small talk!
Blogging’s definitely good for introverts. Write an anonymous blog if you want to, but write—if only so that you can discover your voice and find out what you’re passionate about. Who knows, you might make good friends along the way.
So I told Hossam (who seemed like a fairly quiet sort) that being an introvert probably meant he’d get even more out of blogging. “Besides,” I told Hossam, “extroverts wouldn’t have time to blog because they’re always out partying.”
He smiled at that. Maybe I’ll get him to blog yet…