August 6, 2009

Social Media for Introverts

flickr-social-web-introvert

Have you heard the hype about social media? Everyone’s doing it! It’s the new way! You have to get on the train before it leaves you behind!

And you know what? On a certain level, I believe it.

My new career has developed entirely through social media over the past year. For me, an introvert who prefers to keep to myself by default, I have felt entirely comfortable in getting to know thousands of new people over the past year.

I’ve thought a lot about why I’ve always had a small circle of close, local friends but now I enjoy knowing a much larger group of people all over the world. I think the difference is that the people I’m getting to know are self-selected, remarkable people. They’re interested in what I’m doing, which probably means they’re somewhat interested in world travel, entrepreneurship, unconventional ideas, or nonconformity in general.

In other encounters (AKA “real life”), much more filtering is required to find a good match. I get on airplanes to Chicago and sit next to corporate salespeople. Since we don’t usually have that much in common, I don’t worry if we each spend the flight absorbed in our own stuff. Sometimes we’ll talk and sometimes we won’t, and either way is fine with me.

With the online world, however, I can find all kinds of fun, similar people, and they can find me. So why doesn’t everyone do it? In all the conversations I’ve had over the past year about the use of social networking, I’ve noticed that some people who haven’t yet jumped on the train are frightened. They are worried about doing something wrong, feel overwhelmed with where to start, or they fear that no one will be interested in their thing.

Let’s be clear: I don’t mean to overhype the new media trend. The train isn’t really leaving the station – I mean, I just signed up for Facebook after a minor 5-year delay – so if you’re not into it, you don’t have to feel bad or anxious or anything. Despite all the hype, you won’t die if you don’t start sending @ messages everywhere.

But I also think that you don’t have to be afraid or overwhelmed.

Whatever it is you want to do, the good kind of social networking can help you. You can take things at your own pace, do it in your style. You can friend up who you want and stay from anyone you’re not interested in. The important thing is:

a) there are people out there who care about what you have to say, and

b) it’s not that hard to find them, and

c) if you want to, you can probably find a way to cultivate those relationships in a way that is beneficial to you AND them

Social Media Success Stories Needed

Together with co-conspirator Gwen Bell, I’m creating my next Unconventional Guide to help people use social media as a force for good – primarily individuals, small businesses, and small organizations who want to change the world.

This isn’t a pitch for anything – in a week or so I’ll start a more active pre-launch before the launch on August 18th. Right now I’m collecting stories of social media success, preferably the unconventional kind.

Here are a few stories I’ve heard so far:

  • The crusade of Romeo the Cat, a shelter cat who has raised $20,000 for animal rescue since joining Twitter in 2009 (Romeo now has his own blog and PayPal account)
  • The hard-working Susan Lewis, who decided to “hire a boss” through online relationships (she received multiple, credible offers and just made a decision)
  • The success of the burrito shack in Ohio that acquired 2,000 Twitter followers thanks to an eager employee who wanted to increase business (the boss didn’t even know what Twitter was until he was flooded with visitors glued to their iPhones)
  • A writer and editor who is deaf, but no longer feels that her lack of hearing is a handicap due to all of the work that comes in through online relationships

Important: these stories, and the other ones I’ve been collecting, are not the results of “social media experts” – in fact, I’m skeptical that such a thing really exists. They are all from regular people who had a project or idea they wanted to share with the world. In most cases, they had no idea how to get the message out, so they did it through trial and error.

If you’d like to participate, send me your success story in a couple of paragraphs. Include the metrics behind your success if possible – how many new customers came to the burrito shack? How many people joined your vegan glassblowing fan page? A number of the stories will be compiled into a PDF included with the next Unconventional Guide to the Social Web.

I’ve noticed that one holdup some people have about the social web is that they are worried about how to be authentic. I’ll have more to say about this next week, but for now, there’s really no need to worry about this.

Being authentic means being YOU.

You heard it first in kindergarten: there’s only one you, you are special, etc. Surprise! Everything else you learned may have been a ruse to keep you in line, but the special thing was right on.

***

Some people have asked how I use Twitter. The best answer is that I use it however I want, and hopefully in a way that is interesting to others. I ask for help with an Arabic translation of a letter for Saudi Arabia, and lots of people jump in to help. I ask for Chinese readers to help review a new translation of the World Domination manifesto, and I get several volunteers. (I still need a Polish reader to review that one – do let me know if that’s you.)

I help people too, whenever I can. If you want free wifi on American Airlines through September, the magic code is AAWiFi76194A1. If I’m flying domestic and get upgraded on a short flight, I’ll offer to exchange my First Class seat for an economy one to anyone I can find online when it happens. So far this week I’ve heard of at least $5,000 in confirmed Expedia bookings from people using the coupon code from Monday.

Impact and Actions

95% of what I use social networking for has nothing to do with product promotion, but when it comes time for a product launch, I learned with the last one that a lot of people will come forward to help out. Twitter is now the second or third biggest source of traffic to the site, and I finally joined Facebook because so many people over there kept dropping in.

Let’s go back to the intimidation factor. If you want to get on the train but don’t know where to start, here’s what I’d recommend:

  • Sign up for Facebook and Twitter. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. I don’t even answer my phone, but I have 15,000+ connections on Twitter I enjoy talking with every day.
  • If you’re up for it, you can also join LinkedIn. Most people find it’s not productive to spend a lot of time there, but you can set up an online resume in an hour and then be done with it.
  • Don’t worry about doing anything wrong. You’ll be fine.
  • Use your influence for good. Help people. Share information; make other people look good.
  • As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” This is good advice for all of life, but it certainly applies to the online world.
  • Start telling people about the thing you do. Yes, it’s OK to do that, and it’s not spamming. If it’s interesting, other people will want to be a part.

The beauty of the internet is that you can BE YOURSELF and somewhere you’ll find other people who are interested.

Contrary to what you may hear elsewhere, there aren’t really any rules about social media- which is another reason why I’ve come to love it. Oh, and if you don’t like what you’ve been doing, you can always reinvent yourself. That’s OK too.

A recession is an opportunity to look at what we’re doing and think about what has real value. New media is an opportunity to look beyond a small, local circle and find other like-minded people all over the world.

Upcoming: Product Launch! I’m really psyched.

On August 18th we’ll launch the Unconventional Guide to the Social Web. It’s like my other award-winning guides, except super-sized (you’ll see).

I know this project will help a lot of people, but I also know it’s not necessary for breathing. Just like Twitter, you won’t die if you’re not into it. More details will arrive in the next few posts.

Question: What are you up to with social media? Feel free to share your opinions or experiences.

If you have any questions, feel free to share those as well, and other smart readers will probably jump in with their $0.02. I usually try to keep the comments section free of outside links and self-promotion, but in this case, feel free to post your Twitter handle if you’d like. Now’s as good a time as any to come out of hiding.

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Comment on this article

59 Responses to “Social Media for Introverts”

  1. I just re-invited my blog and made the switch from the free Blogger to a legitimate site. I’ve been working on getting regular content up and was ready to start attracting visitors about a week ago. One thing I did was join a few Facebook groups that related to what I write about. Without being obnoxious, I’d find an active discussion thread, comment and leave my website address underneath my name. I’m definitely in the beginning stages of my blog, but found this simple method of getting it out there has increased traffic about 10% and is hopefully reaching a targetted audience.

  2. Shy Twitterer here! I really like the ideas in this post, and it helps as I am actively deciding how I want to use social media through my blog and Twitter to get out the information I want to. I’m workin’ on it!

    @HelpMeghanRun

  3. I love the idea of using social media to change the world than rather just as a marketing tool. At my job there has been a big push as of late to sell social media to our clients which is cool but I would much rather use it to make the world a better place and not just sell someone on some stupid product. I am currently in the process of creating a website/photolog to get more involved and you can always hit me up on Twitter.

    @meowsK

  4. Hey Chris

    I really respect the way you communicate through your site, emails, and twitter. I finally starting using twitter about a month ago, and I think I get it now. I’m striving to be helpful (or at least interesting!) in my use of all these social media sites, including facebook – where it’s really easy to goof off.

    Your work is really inspiring. “279 Days” and the “Art & Money” guide have given me a lot to think about/do lately. Thanks again!

    coming out of hiding now…

    @christinebougie

  5. There are big differences between Facebook and Twitter and the types of people that would enjoy using one vs. the other. For people who are social in real life, or have friends and family spread out across multiple cities, Facebook will be a natural fit.

    Twitter is a harder one for some people to see the benefits of. If you have something to promote, like a blog, website, etc., Twitter is really great. As a casual user, you may not feel the need to communicate in short text bursts with strangers, and that’s completely understandable. Join whatever networks you want to, and don’t feel pressured by all the hype if it doesn’t make sense.

  6. When I was taking my yoga teacher training I wanted a way to share my thoughts about yoga. I was apprehensive to unveil “the real me” to the world at first, but after writing almost 50 entries (so exciting!), the sharing is quite freeing!

    This journaling has helped me to process and reflect on my daily growth, and it’s a wonderful way to connect with others around the world.

    My yoga site is linked from my name. Choose love!

  7. This guide sounds like something right up my alley! I just recently started a blog, and overcoming my shyness and getting on social media has been a struggle.

    Thanks for reminding me that just being myself is the way to go. That’s something I tend to forget sometimes.

    I’m pretty new to twitter, and still learning the ropes.

    @AaronUlbricht

  8. I just love the idea of a guy who does not even answer his phone but who has zillions on “friends” on FB.

    I’m focussing on my blogs at present and doing a little on Twitter, FB I find seriously overwhelming with hypesters etc.

    I’d like to read more on Social media for introverts too.
    :-)

  9. Can’t wait for your new guide to come out, Chris. I’m in the process of building a website that will host my artwork and writing as well as feature the photography of my Uncle William who has Downs Syndrome. He has always wanted to be a photographer, and I am interested to read your guide on social media to help me help him connect with people who will enjoy his unique style.

    @JessaNaomi

  10. I’ve been on Twitter since mid-april, but didn’t really get comfortable with it until about a month or so ago. There’s lots of interesting people there, but it can take a while to find them. William Gibson (@GreatDismal) is one of the people I follow, and I find he’s a good example of twitter done well – he links to cool stuff he’s found on-line, talks about some of his ideas, occasionally asks for help – basically, anything a person would do if they were hanging out a big backyard party with a bunch of friends. You end up dropping into some converstation, or starting one yourself, or telling people about the funny thing that happened yesterday, or asking for help finding that thingamagig you need for the whatzit. And since you only have 140 characters – everyone tends to be on point (if they have one… :-)

    Hypsters I just block.

    @susanadsett

  11. I was “too tall” for the usual model-agencies. At least that was the excuse I got… until the year of 2003 when I joined Kaikura as Tall model where being very tall is a must! At the age other women retire from modeling I started! Since then more than 15 000 people have joined my Yahoo group and I have had many fun photo-sessions in several countries making photos for not only Kaikura but also American Tall Women webpages.

    Being 6’6 / 197cm tall I almost never meet women my own height, but thanks to the success of Kaikura I’ve got to meet many “Tall sisters”, several of them a lot taller than me! Knowing that you are not alone – that you share these special irritations and joys that we women – a head taller than average men – use to encounter during the weeks – gives me something in my backbone that I carry with me every day and that makes me literally – walk tall.

    The yahoo-group was my first “social media” place, today I’m also active on Facebook and Twitter and I love to connect with people from all over the world, tall and short!

    @Josephinea197

  12. Great article. I am also an introvert and find networking online much easier, for the exact reasons you describe. I can start my interaction online with people who I know already share interests, whereas in “real” life it is harder because many of the people I meet don’t share those mutual interests. And of course being the introvert, in those situations I’m perfectly comfortable with keeping to myself, or talking, and whichever one is ok, like you say.

    Even though I do use social media, I am still a bit apprehensive to use it as “promotion”. For me Facebook is a place for me to connect with friends, though Twitter does seem to be a bit more suited to business use. One of the reasons I most prefer online networking is that it is passive, and things can be done at whatever pace you want. In the real world, phone calls and meetings are at precise times and both people need to be present, but with social media you can do things as you wish, just a little bit or all the way in, and only when you want, without being obtrusive to someone else.

  13. I find it interesting that after five years you have finally jumped on the facebook bandwagon. I was the opposite, I have been on facebook since the beginning, but have just recently adopted Twitter. I am surprised at how different I have found them both to be. I use Twitter almost entirely for blog related activities, where as I hardly use Facebook at all to build my blog.

    I use Facebook much more to connect with people that I have already known, whereas Twitter is an easier place to meet new people. Very different dynamics. I will be interested to hear how Facebook works out for you, and if you find the time spent on your fan page to be worthwhile.

  14. Chris, I was just thinking about this very topic today. I am not an introvert by any means but I am a very private person (I know, they sound the same, but are actually very different) and was worried about the universe knowing everything about me. I absolutely love Twitter now mainly because, through it, I can find other people incredibly passionate about my passions (travel and food). I think that social media can help make the world a better place so I look forward to reading your new guide.

  15. Chris, something I really appreciate about you and your readers (from what I’ve seen) is the desire to tell the truth, to do something that has a lasting impact. As you refer to it, we’re creating “legacy material.” I know how fleeting each tweet is – so I don’t hold on to it. Like you, I put it out there hoping to help where I can. And I think that’s our real work in the world, helping others. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted (I hang at the extremes of extroversion and yet find pockets of solitude and peace in a very motion-intensive social web world) your work is to do your work to the max.

    I’m not sure that social media is “for everyone” but I do think there’s a place on the social web for everyone. And if that place doesn’t exist, the beauty of the social web is that we have an opportunity each day to create it for ourselves.

    I’ve loved working on this project with you. I think we’ve found an extro/intro balance that will be of benefit to folks. That’s my wish, anyway. – @gwenbell

  16. I’m an introvert and that is definitely one reason I have so enjoyed blogging, Facebook and twitter. I’m also surrounded by people I have little in common with, so these have been channels for finding people whose values I share. Someone I know compared twitter to a cocktail party – a party I can feel comfortable attending. I find twitter amusing, and I generally look for humorous tweeters, but I’ve also encountered a number of interesting writers and artists. Facebook has been more about connecting with old friends and contacts, although twitter is starting to spill over into Facebook.

    @2tired2move

  17. Hi Chris,

    I’m a relatively new visitor to your site, but have been inspired in so many ways! (Particularly from your 279 Days to Overnight Success manifesto.)

    I’ve only been on Twitter for a few months but have found it to be a valuable source of information from like-minded people. I try to share tweets that I feel are of interest to friends and strangers alike. I’m a runner, a writer, a photographer, and someone who is looking to more fully embrace my unconventional side.

    Thanks for another great article!

    @daisygirl_30

  18. Hi Chris,

    Excellent topic. One many can relate too!

    I’m a middlevert, a constantly shifting mix of introvert & extrovert). Been on Twitter for maybe three months and really like it. Again, I try to “middle” it up, some shameless self promotion with a lot of musing about life & the planet. I also pose questions to get folks thinking in new ways. It’s fun …

    Wish you & Gwen the best with your new co-guide.

    @giuliettaspeaks

  19. Great article Chris; love the tone and helpful advice. For me, Twitter almost instantly delivered a new client, which was great, but since that time, the value has been far beyond that. I’ve found people that I’m interested in, that are interested in me, and as a result, I’m using social media to start a movement here in Cincinnati to redefine what coworking can be.

    @blecount
    @HabitatCoworking

  20. Ack! Wrong twitter name. Do social media tools teach us to do everything too fast?!?!!

    @HabitatCowork

  21. After reading “279 Days…” I decided to take another stab at blogging about marketing and entrepreneurship. Been dedicated to the site for over four months now, and enjoying the journey.

    Thanks for providing the nudge I needed, in ebook form.

    @markcwebster

  22. Chris, I really enjoy and value the content you share and appreciate the nonconformist principles you’ve put out into the world. Now I’m looking forward to the new social media guide from you and Gwen. Keep it up.

    @rmcunard

  23. I’m just the opposite in some respects — while I am fully plugged in to the social world, I find that when I go off the grid for a few days I find much more productive opportunities. Having said that, follow me on Twitter :-D

    @shotgunconcepts

  24. August 6, 2009

    Rich de Rossi

    I’m glad you’re coming up with a guide. I’ve had facebook for awhile and it’s easy to connect with college friends and family

    Twitter is a bit tougher. It’s had a slightly steep learning curve so far to figure out how to find interesting people and share great info. Hopefuly your guide will fix that.

    @richderossi

  25. I use social media in different ways…facebook is really where I stay connected with friends and family who live far away from me. Equal parts watching and sharing, it brings joy to me to see what my friends, family and former coworkers/schoolmates are up to and what they post. Most folks I know aren’t too great at keeping good yet somewhat casual relationships going when distance or new jobs get in the way, so facebook to me offers a great way to stay connected. And I love to share things I discover on there and get comments back from my community.

    Twitter is something I follow more than participate in. I’ve enjoyed “discovering” some new folks through their tweets, and while I post my views on twitter, I don’t have many followers myself. I’m still trying to figure out how to connect with people I don’t already know through twitter…probably keywords are required but so far, I’ve not worked hard enough to figure out how to get followed and not just be the follower. But I’ll post my twitter handle, just in case!

    @amys_view

  26. Great article!

    I love the message that though there is only one “you” … there are many people like you – people with similar interests/concerns/goals and with whom you can connect.

    @S2acy

  27. These are great suggestions. I have found out a lot in the past three years being online with several social networking sites. The first thing is, things and people are not always as they present themselves. I was quite naive in the beginning assuming everyone else was honest, forthright and had good intentions. Beware the poser and phony profiler.

    Other than that, I feel it is important to be connected in this time of great change. So have and be wary and safe. I am a lot more educated now. :) I love sharing ideas and info with others. People are so very interesting, aren’t they?

  28. I can totally relate to the fear of getting started. I enjoy Science Fiction and Fantasy books, and since there wasn’t a spot to get the kind of UK related genre news that I wanted and I spent hours trawling the web for it every day I decided to start posting it to twitter too. The decision was easy, but being more than a month in and only having 15 followers is the scary bit. I constantly wonder why I bother, but then I remember I was doing it anyhow, the only difference is now I’m posting it too.

    Everyone always seems to say the way forward is to be authentic, but I can’t figure out how to do that without talking so much about my private life that it makes me uncomfortable. ?) Any ideas?

    @iylliana

  29. Good that you’re doing this – it’s funny, I’m definitely an extrovert in social situations but a little hesitant re: what to message in the social media setting to get my blog exposed, etc. Really looking forward to the guide, Chris. Thanks!

  30. Another spot on article Chris! I have recently revived my personal blog and was amazed by the results. By simply linking to Facebook and using Twitter to spread the word my audience is growing day by day.

    When i started i was also asking myself whether or not to start. Who would be interested in what i have to say? Every day i am amazed about the reactions i get. So don’t hesitate! Go spread your message (and visit my blog while you’re at it!)

    @subtielman

  31. Hi Chris,

    I love the title of this… I definitely lean to the side of introvert, and I have found a passion in connecting with like minded people ever since I started my blog a couple months ago. The incredible thing about Twitter is that like minded people sort of gravitate to each other, from all across the world, and have interesting discussions based on common interests, not geography. It just amazes me everyday. And, the popularity of how every one signs comments with their twitter name…. just shows how it dominates everywhere! I love the magic of it all.

    @Dreaminthelife

  32. Thanks for this article Chris! I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, and with old acquaintances such as high school friends. I don’t generally accept Facebook requests from people I don’t know.

    But for Twitter, I still haven’t found much of a use for it, other than to update the status of my Facebook and Myspace. The people I follow and that follow me are a mishmash of people who like quilting, recording music, engineering, and travel, and a few friends.

    I use Myspace to promote my bands, and I use Linked In for professional stuff, although I still haven’t found much use for that yet.

    @9patch

  33. I can’t wait for this guide. It’s a compelling topic and one I’m interested to see how you work your magic on!

    I’m also passionately awaiting the facebook page “that doesn’t suck.” That might take some true Guillebeau-magic!

    @ManVsDebt

  34. OK, I’ll come out of the woodwork. This post really speaks to me, as an introvert who’s trying to get more of a handle on social media. I’ve had an online presence for years, but now I’m trying to reinvent myself, as you mention. Starting a crafts blog under my real name (oh em eff gee) has been a major step. No big success story yet, but come back to me in a year, maybe.

    I’ve been reading AONC for around a month now, as I begin to take my dreams more or less by the throat. Your writings, as well as those of Havi Brooks and Mark Silver, have helped a lot. (I think of you as a sort of Portland Cabal of Awesomeness – hope you don’t mind!) The bit that I keep coming back to – the bit that made me laugh out loud when it finally sank in – is this revolutionary notion that I can just be who I am anyway, and find the people who are into that, rather than trying to “position” myself as something I’m not.

    Thanks, for that and more.

    @leannich

  35. I’ve actually found myself working as a ‘social media consultant’ from time to time (in addition to my normal design and development work), and most of my clients are the people who barely understand email, much less the intricacies of Twitter hashtags.

    That being said, I agree that there isn’t really any such thing as a social media expert…just people who have weaponized the same processes that the rest of us use every day. They’ve been able to apply metrics to your friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing (or even a valuable thing) is up for each individual to figure out, but yeah…kind of makes you re-think the whole ‘expert’ thing, doesn’t it?

  36. Chris,
    I just want to thank you for your inspirings words and insights. I love the manifesto and the 279 days. Great stuff!

    As for the social media, I have found Twitter to be a fun and great way for me to connect with like-minded locals in the Oklahoma City area. The best thing about it is that I would have never met these people in person just because we are all so busy. I’ve met some great people and I hope to continue this trend.

    @safeandgreen

  37. I’ve been blogging for over 4 years but only recently joined Facebook and Twitter. For the moment, I’m using FB for people I know in real life while Twitter has become an adjunct of my blog.

    Though I’m less introverted online than in person, seeking out like-minded folks on twitter is still not my forte.

    @claireofttat

  38. I, too, am introverted. Especially with anyone outside my inner circle, or feel a strong kinship. I’ve been on twitter for a couple years, under a couple different names. I finally just started over one day several months ago, and while I haven’t tweeted often (could go weeks at a time with nothing out of me – trying to change that, though) I do like to talk to people there. As @havi puts it, Twitter is like the local bar/cafe.

    I can be found there as @mmobrien.

  39. Dare I say that some of the people I originally met online have become some of my best friends in real life? And this coming from someone who used to say, “I hate people.”

    And you crack me up – “I don’t answer my phone but I have 15,000+ connections on Twitter”. I hear that.

  40. Hi Chris!
    I’m making my way through your ‘ Unconventional Guide to Art & Money’ and am loving it. I’m looking forward to the Unconventional guide to The Social Web!
    Thank You for all the great information!
    Debbie

    @artistgirlsmuse

  41. you rock Chris – I really appreciate your energy and efforts. I actually refer clients to your blog all the time when they are looking for someone to be inspired by. Thanks for the assist.

    @larrynicholas09

  42. Fellow introvert. Your article is inspiring and, I must say, mood-lifting.

    I have noticed, however, after years of being in the online social sphere in one way or another, whether via Xanga (is that still around?!), Facebook, or Twitter, or even MetaFilter (great community, by the way), that the online social sphere is indeed very fun. But some people, like me some years ago, became too engrossed in that joy, and their view of the real world became more and more distorted. Yes, you can be yourself online, you can put your real name out fearlessly. But carry that honesty out in the real world. When you do meet in-person the people you meet online, and you should always leave even a remote possibility of that happening, you better be what you say you are.

    Anyways, my Twitter handle is @curagea. Thanks so much again for the article. It rocks!

  43. As my introverted boyfriend once put it -

    “It’s not that I don’t like being around people, it’s just that I prefer to be around the ones that I like.”

    That pretty much sums up social media.

    @jmibetter

  44. I am looking forward to the guide. I am really not comfortable with social media (yet).

    These points were great:

    “There are people out there who care about what you have to say, it’s not that hard to find them, and if you want to, you can probably find a way to cultivate those relationships in a way that is beneficial to you and them.”

    I hope you can explain how to do that in the guide.

    @realgradschool

  45. Chris – although it’s not something that I’ve noticed you advocate too often, a lot of productivity/lifestyle blogs which operate in the same sphere as yours seem to mention removing ourselves from distractions, particularly email (Zen Habits, 4HWW, Study Hacks) – I took these sort of suggestions as a means of simplifying our lives by unplugging from a culture where we are constantly innundated with information. From what I can see, Twitter keeps you permanently conencted – what’s your take on this?

  46. It bugs me a little when people question whether there can be ‘experts’ in the social media field. Sure, a lot of people claim to be and aren’t, but some people just really are. There can be experts in most fields, it doesn’t mean others can’t reach the stage, but there is a stage to reach.

    I’ve been the social media manager for multiple Fortune 100 companies, newspapers, and even helped the South African 2010 World Cup site launch. I’ve seen small business’ turned into brands, all through the work I’ve done in social media as they were my clients.

    There definitely are experts out there, if you’re willing to find them.

  47. Yay Chris and Gwen! I greatly look forward to the new guide.

    And Chris, since you’re always so generous sharing the “how” of how you’ve been growing The Art of Non-Conformity- I’d love to hear a bit about how you work your collaborations with others on the guides…

  48. Chris,

    Your writing, unconventional guides and posts like this one are some of the main reasons why we created SocialMediaBook.net. There are many people out there who hold back from participating in social media due to nervousness or feeling inadequate, when in reality, they should and could be thriving within it. I can’t wait for your guide and will be linking to it as soon as it comes out.

  49. one of my favorite posts to date – enjoyed the angle and simplicity here, the “just get out and do it if you want” tone. good reminders, good stuff.

  50. I’ve avoided social media mainly because:
    1. It appears to take up a lot of people’s time. I’m currently working more than full time, and studying too, so am reluctant to add another activity with time-draining potential.
    2. Maintaining a flow of conversation ideally requires being online frequently, which I’m not. It’s hard to be “interactive” when you’re offline for three days at a time.

    If you only get to go online a couple of times a week, and only for brief periods, then you need to spend this limited time wisely. Any time spent on social media obviously means less time to spend on other things – like your own blog, or living life.

    I’ve reasoned that if I can barely find time to update my own blogs, then trying to twitter/facebook as well as blog isn’t likely to achieve anything positive.

    However … it’s good to be open minded, so I look forward to the next unconventional guide. Maybe I’ll be convinced to take the plunge, even if something else had to give.

  51. Hi Chris! Just to say, its been a pleasure to meet you and find you threw this social – internet – medium. I´ts like you said, you find the people and feel an instant bound.

  52. I’m definitely in the introvert category myself, although as a techie, I do get into most of the ‘new social’ sites relatively early. I don’t generally do a lot of participating, but that’s probably okay as long as I’m just being myself.

    Lately, I’ve tried taking Twitter a bit more seriously with a couple of accounts dedicated to two of my websites. I like to keep my personal account more for conversation and friends.

  53. Great post, Chris! I used to be exactly the shy and scared person you are talking about when it comes to social media…but good news, I discovered there is no harm to be on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. While I use Facebook mainly to stay in touch with friends all over the world, I use Twitter as a communications hub – exchanging ideas, getting inspiration, discovering great content, posting thoughts, news and cool blog posts or websites I stumble upon.
    I see social media as a tool for self-expression, not so much marketing, and as long as you RESPECT other people, there are no rules – just be yourself.
    Looking forward to your Unconventional Guide to Social Media!
    @ninagrenningloh

  54. Hi Chris! I love your great energy and the hopeful spirit that resonates from your blog! I believe-I believe! Every one of us has so much unharnessed potential and we can all make a difference in our own way. I’m not a TWEETER, but last week I did start my own blog. I am a newlywed struggling through the journey of life, love and IVF. I thought putting it out there- with a little salty humor- might make a difference to another woman (or man) going through a similar experience. It helps to connect me to people I may never otherwise meet. Please let me know your thoughts.

    The one small thing I did for the world this week was to join a CSA farm-share in Boston.A company called Metro Pedal Power (a tricycle delivery service) will deliver local produce right to your home. I chose a small farm in Mass. because they service the community year round. It was a bit of an expense up front, but well worth it. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  56. August 15, 2009

    Debbie Ferm

    I just finished 279 days and really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to the social media guide.

    Thanks for what you are doing.

    Debbie Ferm

  57. Some folks might want to think long and hard about getting overly involved in social networks. Unfortunately potential employers are now paying HR staff to search these sites for anything about you that might not fit their “corporate” image before they hire and to check on current employees. Please! Besides that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon using twitter and other sites to advertise their business, blog, whatever. Overkill. Personally I don’t have the attention span or time to tweet or write on walls etc. I’d rather live my life in real life – the virtual stuff is too….virtual!

  58. Chris – It’s been almost an year since you posted this.

    Some of the social media terrain has changed during the last 12 months, but the rules of thriving in social media for introverts hasn’t changed a lot.

    I took a fresh look at the shyness factor – and the five rules to jump in and thrive for introverts – on my blog Social Media Notebook tonight.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

  59. Pingback: Day 2: Why Most Bloggers are Introverts – Crossroads of the Heart