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A Hitchhiking Introvert's Guide to the Social Media Galaxy

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia

HitchhikersguideMany of you may know that thanks in LARGE part to Natalie MacNeil, last week, I was named by Forbes as one of the top 30 women to follow on Twitter. You also may know that I'm not big into "lists", however I am always humbled to be mentioned on any list with other women who are doing remarkable work in the world.

I've always been successful in business, but being the introvert that I am has kept me very low profile and "behind the scenes" with many wondering who I am and what the heck I actually do. This worked out well for me. I could do great work, get paid well for it and disappear into the sunset. Not so much anymore. :)

Two of my favorite quotes are:

from the Bible, "For of those to whom much is given, much is required."

and

one by Sidney Poitier, "You're different from - not better than - everyone else."

Ahhh, therein lies the rub. One would think if those are my two FAVORITE quotes, I would be...

prepared for visiblity. Not. Many people who meet me coming off stage from one of my speaking engagements around the country are stunned at my need for solitude and absolute privacy.

For example, if an event is held at a hotel, I'm the one who 95% of the time stays at an off-site hotel usually under an pseudonym. (Yes, people have called my room LATE at night wanting me to come out for drinks or whatever.)

And, yes for the record, I used to think I was nuts, too; until I took the time to learn more about ME and who I am. Then, I also started to meet other so-called "social introverts" and I started to make more sense to me.

So what's all this got to do with social media?

I meet many, many women over the course of a year. Some of them are very much like me. They are absolutely nerve-wracked about what they would share on Twitter or Facebook and how they could keep people out of their personal lives without being rude or stand-offish (funny how most guys don't care about crap like this). They also know that you need to have SOME personality in order for people to even pay attention to you on social networks. And, they also get that the fastest way to "show some personality" is to share something personal - whether it's a feeling, a life occurence or a particular topic about which they are passionate.

To my introvert sisters who want to use social media to market their businesses, I always offer the same advice:

be personable without being personal.

People don't have to know where you live, how many kids you have and whether you and your husband are fighting about where to spend the hollidays to engage with you.

The easiest way to be personable without being personal is to "reveal" three things about yourself (obviously, tidbits that you feel comfortable revealing) and talk about those three things a lot. For me it's the fact that I love art, travel and Judge Judy. For you, it could be that you like needlepoint, sailing and DWTS.

Whatever your three things are, make sure you really do LOVE them and make sure you're comfortable sharing details about them because you'll be relying on those details alot. And, who knows, when those tidbits of information get told, perhaps you'll select another three nuggets to share, but by then you'll be so comfortable with social media, you'll know what works for you online and what doesn't.

Are there any other introverts out there using social media? What are your secrets to staying sane? C'mon, I can't be the only one...

Comments

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Jerry

Very encouraging words for the introvert. I guess it is a matter of understanding our strengths and utilizing them in the business scenario. We don't need to be the "life of the party" or the ''center of attention" in order to get what we need from the networking or business experience. We just need to know how to use the tools we already have. I found some other good tips for the introvert your readers also might benefit from at: http://relationshipcapital.co/op/?utm_src=bl

@LenaWest

@Mitzi:

I'm really glad that social media has provided an outlet for you and you've felt so well-received by the blogging community. Aren't bloggers just GREAT!?

The medium is doing some great work for both business and people and I'm glad I've been a part of the progress so far.

Keep up the great work.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Mitzi Curi

I am an introvert who has struggled all of my life with social anxiety. I have found that communicating through social media is perfect for me! I don't have to talk to strange people face-to-face and it gives me time to compose my thoughts and say what I really want to say. The blogging community is so friendly and supportive, though, that I feel a kinship with these women and would love to meet many of them in person someday.

@LenaWest

@Kit:

You're welcome and thanks for your kind words.

No, it doesn't come easy, but as long as it being a social introvert doesn't become s tressor for you and you give yourself enough downtime to "recover", you'll be good to go.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Kit Stookey

So, I'm a social introvert working hard to expand my comfort level. Doesn't come easy, but I believe so worth it in the longrun. Thanks for your blog post and ideas for making it easier...Soooo good to find that I'm not out there alone with all the extroverts!

@LenaWest

@Gretchen:

Props to @eric_andersen for spreading the word about this post.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing that replaces a face-to-face, in-person connection with people, however, social media definitely makes it less taxing for us introverts.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Gretchen Kinder

@lenawest A friend (@eric_andersen) forwarded me the link to this post when I posted one of my tidbits, which is the fact that I am a social introvert! Part of what I love about maintaining social connections (and starting new ones) through social media is that it is far less exhausting, w/o sacrificing the social intimacy, than traditional face-to-face connections. I also appreciate that I can both share my inner thoughts (e.g. by announcing a new blog post is up at hermys.blogspot.com) and read others w/o having to spend 2 hours at a party getting to that deep, personal place.

I am very judicious about what TweetUps I attend (I think I've been to three in the last year while my sweetheart has been to three every week for the last year), and I don't feel compelled to get into collecting followers as a way of measuring my social net worth.

@LenaWest

@Kim

Yes, there are quite a few of us social introverts out there! Glad to have you on board! :)

Thanks for the kind words and for reading and commenting.

Kim

Social Introvert. LOVE IT. I knew I was not alone. Great article. Great suggestions that I intend to use.

And how can anyone not love Judge Judy?

@LenaWest

@Sara:

I'm glad you liked the content. Thank you for your kind words.

You'll come up with your three things in no time!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

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