The War Against Introverts Is Back On

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As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love social media.  I talk about it a lot.  I think it’s a great tool and I enjoy using it.

However, not everyone likes social media.  Some people choose to use some social media channels, but not others.  Either way, it’s okay.  To each his own.  I have no judgments about people who choose not to use it.  But if you’re looking for a job, beware.

An article in Monday’s Forbes suggests you’re on dangerous ground if you’re not using Facebook.   Apparently, hiring managers are starting to think something might be wrong with you if you don’t have a Facebook page.  The implication is that if you don’t use Facebook, you’re hiding something and that something is probably negative.  (And that’s a big deal because up to 92% of hiring managers use social media to investigate potential hires.) The article further quotes a German media outlet who suggested that lack of social media use indicates “a possibly dangerous level of withdrawal from society” referencing recent mass murderers Anders Breivik and James Holmes.

Great – so here we are again.    More evidence that to “fit in” you have to do what everybody else is doing.  It’s just another variation of the idea that you must conform to extrovert standards to be considered “normal.”  And that bugs the hell out of me.

Why are we so afraid of “different” in this country?  How did the great melting pot become a place where anyone who looks, acts or thinks differently than the “normal” masses has to be wrong somehow?  And when did we get to the point that not using a communications tool means you’re trying to hide something?

It seemed there was a great burst of good, positive press about introverts when Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (affil link) and TEDTalk came out.  And I’ve seen it slowly evaporating over the last several weeks.  This is just another nail in the coffin.  And it makes me very sad.








  1. says

    I’m not on Facebook because I only have so many hours in the day…. and because I’m an INFJ.

    Was chatting with a friend about extroverts/introverts, and which group rules the world. Most days it feels like the extroverts are in charge.

    He corrected me by saying, they’re fine with you thinking that, but in the end, it’s the introverts who get the job done.

    All I know is that if it weren’t for my extroverted son, my introverted daughter and I would never leave the house.

    Here’s to life made rich by both groups. 😉

    • Susan says

      I like your friend’s thinking — we do rule the world! But you’re right — a world of only one or the other wouldn’t work. :)

  2. Mary says

    This stuff about Facebook might have something to do with the idea that the internet is a forum where even “shy introverts” can be social. I do use social media, but it can sometimes be just as much a drain on my energy as actual socializing (all that stuff to read and process and think about!). But since mainstream wisdom holds that introverts are just scared of people, that means if we don’t even like socializing from the safety of a computer screen, we must be really screwed up…. right? Sigh.

    • says

      So? Don’t read it all. You don;t have to read it all. Unlike a cocktail party or a networking event, the online world is Under Your Control. Repeat that to yourself.

  3. says

    I don’t have Facebook anymore.

    It’s important to realize that people choose not to belong to particular social medias for different reasons. Some feel that Facebook makes their personal lives too public, others just don’t have the time to use the service.

    If an employer tosses your resume into the trash bin because he thinks there’s something wrong with you because you don’t have Facebook.. So be it.

    I’d rather not work under a person like that anyways.

    I think it’s more important that your Google search shows good data about yourself.

    • says

      I’m very tired of anyone who suggests that “Facebook makes their private lives too public”. No one can make your private life public but you (or possibly members of your family who sare that life). Not Facebook. Not Google. Not Twitter. _YOU_ control how much you make public. Stop blaming the technology.

      Now, if you say “There are 24 hours in a day and I chose to use mine elsewise”, I will agree wholeheartedly. And yes, if that menas an employer rejects me (or you), it’s no different from rejecting me because I didn’t go to an Ivy League University, or because I’ve never wanted to be a manager, or because I have some gaps in my resume, or because I don’t know (or care) how many barbers there are in the state of Michigan.

  4. says

    Totally agree with this post. I feel far too much in society that there is a ridiculous checklist of inconsequential things that you have to do, in order to be normal and fit in. As it happens, I enjoy using social media. But I’ll use it in the way that feels right for me.

  5. says

    I agree with you that it’s silly to think that there is “something wrong” with someone who doesn’t have a FB page.*. But I disagree that it’s an Introvert/Extravert thing. A LOT of introverts are on FB, Twitter, Google+… Social Media is a great place for Introverts – conversation on our own terms!

    * On the other hand, in certain job areas – social media, web programming, pretty much anything in the Silicon Valley – not being online is a sign that you’re not involved in what we do here. We _do_ online in the Tech workplace. In those jobs, yes, I think it’s important to show that you understand that world, just as I think it’s equally important that you have a computer at home, that you have an email address, that you can tell the difference between spam and a real offer…

    In a car dealership, or a hospital, a law firm or a department store? Not so much.

    • Susan says

      If you’re in the digital media business, yes, you need to use those profiles and show activity.

      But the original article wasn’t specific as to the social media industry; it was making a blanket statement that not being on Facebook implies there’s something wrong with you. Which is a completely false assessment.

  6. Forestman says

    There is definitely a war against introverts. (I know I am deviating from the part about Facebook, but I wanted to add these things.)

    1. As a child many of us are forced to play sports by our parents. And the educational system discourages independent thought, and instead tries to instill within us a belief in collectivist values.
    2. While in hight school you are required to work in groups.
    3. To go to college you have to play sports and join clubs.
    4. To attend college you have to live in a commune. At least for the first year.
    5. To avoid being bullied in school you have to conform to a certain degree, or be tuff as nails.
    6. While growing up you are pressured to watch TV by your peers. The media is toxic, and is one of the main reasons why young people are losing their ability to feel empathy.
    7. To work at almost any job you have to be a team player. People should do their job and be civil, but they should not have to act like everyone else.
    8. Once Agenda 21 is fully enforced no one will be allowed to have free time to do their own thing anymore, instead people will be forced to participate in community activities. Nor will people be allowed to live away form everyone in rural areas, but will be forced to live in the city. And in very cramped conditions at that.

    As long as the individual is not harming anyone, and is doing their best to take care of themselves, then it is not the obligation of the individual to conform to the group, but the groups obligation to be tolerant of the individual.

    • Susan Steele says

      I’m not sure my view is quite as pessimistic as yours, but it’s true that introverts tend to have a tougher time. America is a very extrovert-centric culture and if you don’t seem to fit that mold, you’re odd man out.

      We should be more tolerant of perceived differences, especially in terms of socializing and group activities. They don’t work for everyone, yet we insist that they should.

      I continue to go my own way and as I get older, I am far less concerned with what people think about me. The people I care about know the real me and that’s what matters.

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