With the plethora of social networking sites, it is interesting to monitor people’s behavior on those sites. People seem to be different online from how they are in real life. Thus, it was interesting to read a study that looked into the personalities of people who use Twitter and contrasted their personality types’ prevalence on Twitter with their prevalence in real life.
For instance, they looked at the percentage of introverts on Twitter and compared it to the percentage of introverts in society at large. It came as no surprise to me at all that the study revealed that introverted personalities were over-represented on the social networking site.
As an introvert, I could relate to those statistics quite a bit.
I have always found it interesting how people who are socially outgoing consider mingling with people and making friends the easiest thing in the world. Actually, some even consider it a requirement for their livelihood; for without people to interact with, they would just lose their mind! To me it has always been the most frustrating and annoying of experiences.
Some people consider the experience of interacting with others to be quite tiring and they genuinely lack the interest to put on the shenanigans that are required of a social person. Those people tend be tucked away from the society and are only visible to a select number of people, and in general tend to be overlooked as oddities.
However, with the advent of the internet, they started to realize and discover something new and started coming out of their shells.
The Internet to the rescue…
The internet, since its inception and with the creation of the first BBS, proved to be the philosopher’s stone to geekdoms social awkwardness; it allowed them to mask the precious extra seconds they took to think during conversations that made them look like fools in real life.
That slight disconnect allowed them to adjust comfortably into an equal playing field with others. As innovation on the internet accelerated and we moved on from BBS’s into forums, online chatting and now into the worlds of WoW, Facebook, and the slew of other social mediums, it ceased to be a geeks only domain. Now, people of all walks of life are present on those social networks and this allowed antisocial people to blossom in real life and make real connections with others.
Understandably, some people start worrying about those who spend a huge chunk of their life online, and what some are starting to call internet addiction.
But to me there is a silver lining in this discussion that is rarely, if ever considered, when they paint all those who spend more than a certain chunk of time as internet addicts.
To those who spent their time in the pre-internet era stuck in the world of books, or locked in their garages and rooms doing their own little projects are some of the people that found the internet to be the perfect social outlet for them. Reasonably enough, while some rather go out and have a cocktail on Saturday night others find doing a raid with their guild on WoW the perfect way to unwind.
So in no way would I see that as being harmful, since to some people having a social life on the internet is not about having a virtual social life over that in real life, rather, it is having a social life or having nothing at all. That can’t be that bad!
Does everyone get the same out thing out of the internet? Is internet the Valhalla of the socially inept? Let us hear your thoughts.