Friday, August 10, 2012

An Introvert in Social Media

Well, how do I start?

It has been a good two months since work started and what I had always presumed turned out to be true - that is, no amount of thinking and contemplating, will ever beat being there and doing it and seeing for yourself. You need to live it to really know it.

I was a bundle of confusions (err.. almost always have been) regarding my 'calling' or career (however you chose to look at that aspect of life). After doing two degrees, each as related to the other as a bat is to a cow, I was feeling the itch to finally spend what I rightfully earned. Yes, spend - perhaps the most hedonistic pleasure of life...something I have never allowed myself to wallow myself in.

 For some reason, despite having the best parents in the world (according to me, duh), I have, ever since I can remember, been ridden with huge guilt when it came to spending. So I thought it was high time I stopped forming theories of personality matches with profession and just get my ass up there into the work force. 

I bet anyone who even remotely knew me would have laughed their hearts out on seeing the title - 'Social Media Strategist'. Well, that is how 'social' I have been all my life. For the college farewell, every student was given a title. Mine was 'Ms.Missed Call'. For every 10 calls one made to my phone, I would attend just one or two - well, that is how social I was. 

For some reason, nothing was more distressing to my existence than hearing that cursed ringtone and picking it to be greeted with a "Heeeeeeeeyyyyyy, whatsaaaaaaaaap?". Well, because inevitably I have never been successful at finding the answer to that question. What is up? Nothing. I mean, yes, a thousand things are up in my head right now but none that I could be able to share with you. 

If 'social' meant being kind, courteous, supportive and empathetic, yes, I have had no problems with it and thank god for that. But if 'social' meant being gregarious, high-spirited, funny, loud and bubbling with high powered energy all the time, I was definitely anti-social. Thankfully, my job keeps a good distance from the latter terms. 

Still, why social media? I could have readily been a lab researcher, data analyst or science editor and also made a huge success out of it since they are tailor made for the introvert's need for space. Simple - because despite all the resistance to company, it feels so satisfying to be able to reach out to people.  Despite all the resistance to participating in crowds, I have always been interested in understanding crowds. 

Perhaps they are two different things altogether. The person who always skips the late night parties, might still be extremely interested in reaching out to people through other means...or maybe, it transcends choice and becomes a necessity to reach out to others by alternate means in order to balance himself. I think social media has provided me with that kind of a balance and I love the fact that thanks to it, I CAN reach out to them, interact with them, support them, communicate with them - all the while, maintaining a comfortable distance and having the choice to switch off anytime it gets overwhelming. 

I think I love my job and for a long time, I imagined that I would never be able to say this sentence - ever. 


karthick r said...

// I think I love my job and for a long time, I imagined that I would never be able to say this sentence - ever.
Super. Good for you. :)
//On "What's up?"
Very difficult question to answer. Agreed. This fellow here even performed a jig on 'whats up'

~ cheers.!

Tangled up in blue... said...

Now this is a very, very interesting post, Sinduja. I completely agree. It's often people who don't really fit those definitions of being 'social' who often wonder about how social interactions really work.

And social media, atleast for me, makes communication more convenient and more comfortable even.

I'm so glad for you. To have the satisfaction of truly loving what you do, finding your calling, it's amazing. It feels so damn good. :)

And yes, I really hate the hey, what's up? bit too. I always reply with 'nothing much. what's up with you?' just so I get the satisfaction of turning the tables on the asker of the question becoming the askee. :D

And I know what you mean about the guilt. I think it's a consumerist thing - it's not something which was encouraged in my family, which is why even now earning as much as I do, I feel very disinclined to spend it. I still feel weird shopping for a ton of clothes and if I don't save enough, I just feel terribly extravagant. :D

sumitra said...

"If 'social' meant being kind, courteous, supportive and empathetic, yes, I have had no problems with it and thank god for that. But if 'social' meant being gregarious, high-spirited, funny, loud and bubbling with high powered energy all the time, I was definitely anti-social. "

These lines are like music to my ears. I couldn't have said it better myself!

I can so relate to your post. I'm just as 'anti-social' as you are, and yet I loved my first job in tech support. Talking to people for 8 hours a day, everyday was something so amazing, just reaching out to them, a kind word, a helpful gesture. Yes, there are all sorts of socializing. Not all of them have to be loud.

Red Handed said...

heheheheeh!!! I love social media just for the same reason and that is the same reason why i blog with this anonymous name. i like the distance..

kudos on being part of the few chosen ones who actually love what they do :P

Karthick said...

Dude, you are almost there, good luck on the job :)

ganeshputtu said...

i think its a perfect fit for you...because you get to interact with people from the other side of a computer with a thousand miles of fibre-optic cable to separate you from them...and you also get to think things through, formulate them into sentences and then pronounce (type) them you and the "new job" fit like hand in glove...

Arumugam said...

Reminds me of something I read about Craig Newmark,of whom it is said "If you sat next to him on a plane,he'd probably keep his nose buried in a book":)

A born introvert,he is also the founder of Craiglist,the website that..... connects people with each other:)and the 7th most visited in the world.

Social media and networking has rewritten many rules of the game.
The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of 200 people might blog to two thousand or two million without thinking twice,says Susan Cain.Quite true.

CHIBI said...

I remember, when we met in chennai. you were still contemplating about the new job, if you would like it or not.

I am glad you love your job. as i had said before.. It's a really cool job from my perspective. a modern approach to journalism/advertising or reaching out to the public.. to top it off, you get to do stuff on FaceBook and twitter, and get paid for it.. :P :P

CHIBI said...

you are right.. you do not need to be an extrovert to actively participate in social media. if that is a criteria, then you are no doubt, an extrovert.. you are very much active online, with blogs, Facebook and more recently twitter..!

as Arumugam had mentioned in the comment above, you don't have to think twice before expressing your voice online.whereas in person, there's the 4 unknown people of society who always keep judging you.. :P

The Visitor said...

Liked this post very much - seemed straight from the heart. :)

Looking at the comments here, it seems that "birds of a feather flock together".

All the best in your job.


. said...

Wow im jealous.Sounds like you are from the lucky few who enjoys your job!

Sinduja said...

@Karthick: Ah, you led me to his FB page? I thought I was linked to a video of the performance... well, never mind, smart looking guy indeed! :D

Thanks for writing in Karthick!

Sinduja said...

@K: Ha ha, 'Nothing much, whats up with you?' - yes, I have done it too but the fact that I was turning that bland question to the other person was drowned in the noise of my own failure and irritation to come up with an interesting one for that. But yes, this is a good way of looking at it! :)

And thanks for connecting with the 'guilt' part. Though it was just a small part of the entire post, I wish I could have highlighted it. Yes, I understand what you say...I thought, the day I start earning, I would go on a spending spree. Well, things definitely felt better but I understood that some things are too hard wired to change and that I was never going to get broke shopping! :)

Sinduja said...

@sumitra: You know, somehow your picture and the tone of your blog kinda made me believe that you were very extraverted. :) And tech-support? Yes, I get it - customer service is more often than not, done extremely well by and very satisfying for the introverts. :)

Sinduja said...

@Red Handed: Ha ha...LOL; liked the grin at the beginning of your comment! :D

And wow, I had actually never thought of the anonymity that one is conferred with, with a name like that. Interesting. :) Thank you so much for the comment.

Sinduja said...

@Karthick: Hey, thanks a ton Karthick! :)

Sinduja said...

@Ganesh Puttu: Okaaaay, I actually couldn't get the context of this statement - "and you also get to think things through, formulate them into sentences and then pronounce (type) them out". Huh? Hello, I CAN also speak spontaneously, wokay? At least, I manage well. ;)

Sinduja said...

@Arumugam: Hey, that was really a very interesting fact. Thank you! Can always bank on you for coming up with a really valuable piece of information to ponder and think about, in your comments.

Yes, the print medium, whether the paper or the white screen is indeed a special tool in the hands of an introvert, an empowering one. I think the problem then, is not so much about the hesitation of expressing himself or reaching out but only that of doing it with pairs of eyes staring back. And just to remember, it is not synonymous with shyness.

Sinduja said...

@CHIBI: Ha ha, thanks for that one Chibi. You just made me feel good about my job all over again! :)

In social media too, people are judging you. Actually in many ways, we have simply carried forward the patterns of the offline world to the online world too, forming pseudo communities that quite reflect similar patterns and counterparts in the real world too. We have used the cyber space to fulfil the same needs, desires and aspirations which drive us in real life.

However, the fact that these judgmental people are, as Ganesh said, separated by thousands of kilometers of fibre optic, is an immensely gratifying situation! :)

Sinduja said...

@V: :) Thanks V. I doubt if all the people who have commented here are similar in nature, birds of the 'same' feather as you have mentioned. But yes, there must have been some common link points and always trust the web to connect the dots. :)

Sinduja said...

@. - That is an interesting profile name you have got. Lucky few? Really? Hmmmm. Not that I mind being called that but this is just my theory - any job, i.e., this 'work-for-a-wage-from-9-to-5' is kinda against the whims of the free spirit and somehow very unnatural and repelling. We all simply need to invent our own goals and inspirational constructs from time to time to keep it going, no matter how appealing the field or subject is.

As for the other category where it completely is incompatible to their interests, well, I find it hard to believe that they carry it on for years together!

And hey, welcome to the blog! :) Thanks for taking the time to write!

R-A-J said...

Wow, that's some super cool sounding fancy title u hv there - Social Media Strategist.. sounds super cool :)

Congrats on ur new job Sinduja :)

So u must b on facebook, you-tubing n bloggng all the while on ur job then, eh? Wow, now tht IS a job :)

Srinidhi said...

I think I have always wished my blog was anonymous. Somewhere, I never really thought that one through.

I am glad you are loving your job. :)