Can introverts win on social media?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve said this to yourself before:

“I’m not smart, business-savvy, or extroverted. Social media marketing isn’t for me.”

These are the real words that bounded my life for several years before discovering I could publish content without having to leave home or “break out of my shell” trying to network at live events.

It took a lot of time before I figured out I didn’t have to be:

  • smart (because there’s Google and Youtube),
  • business-savvy (to an extent, but again Google, Youtube, and maybe some smart friends),
  • or extroverted (because I am naturally a quiet and reserved person).

Rather than being as loud and obnoxious as I could in real life, I found something else that worked for me. 

Rather than be bound by my true quiet and reserved nature, I do this instead.

The trick? 

To be as extroverted and loud as possible in publishing content. 

What’s the difference?

Extroverts as I see them = life of the party, loud, talkative, energetic

Extroverted in content = posting content often, experimenting with new content often, posting content across several social media platforms, engaging with other users of a platform

The best part? 

I don’t have to leave home and talk IRL with other people.

And I use this trick today in our family business social media accounts that constantly brings in $$.

So can introverted, shy, quiet creatives win on social media? 

Yes. Yes they can.

I used to be so shy that I would talk in whispers. 

Reaching out to people felt near impossible because I felt uncomfortable initiating conversation.

I was young (and awkward). 

My reserved and shy nature made it hard for me to build my confidence. 

I didn’t want to share anything on social media. 

I hated the phrases “Go out there”, “Just talk to people”, and last but not least, “Don’t be shy!” 

Alas, there had to be another way. 

There had to be a way where shy, introverted people like me could succeed too.

But being shy and introverted didn’t mean I could stay comfortable and complacent in my own little bubble. 

So I got out of my chair and started attending events around the city that I found interesting. I just wanted to be an observer in the crowds. 

One night, I found myself at a lecture hall listening to an amazing photographer talk about her career. 

At the end of the presentation was Q&A. 

I desperately wanted to ask if I could work with her (something I almost never, ever, ever do at large presentations is ask questions because I’d be much more comfortable being hidden in the crowds). 

I was nervous. 

I was anxious. 

I was so shy that I let everyone else go in front of me so that I could prolong my waiting time in line. 

Finally, one of the event organizers realized I was silently waiting around while everyone went home. 

The crowd was now 4-5 people, much smaller than it was just half an hour ago. 

As soon as I checked the time on my phone, I felt 2 strong hands behind my back. 

A force so strong that it propelled me forward several steps until I was inches away from knocking over the presenter herself. 

I was pushed (literally) towards an opportunity in front of me. 

It was my turn to go out there, talk to people, and not be shy. 

So I did it. 

I asked my question, got a yes, and can now talk about that small but impactful moment in my life. 

In all of this, I realized that the antidote to my own shyness was the very thing I felt uncomfortable doing. 

AKA, going out there, talking to people, and trying to be less shy. 

I still hated it, but it did the trick for me. 

If you’re anything like me and want to shed your shyness, I hope you’ll do something that discomforts you. 

Dear Shy + Introverted Creatives

I remember growing up in Scarborough as a super quiet introverted kid with art and craft tendencies. 

You would occasionally find a C- in either science, math, or gym on my report card, but never when it came to art. 

Art was always my favourite subject in school. I always thought the more effort I put into my art projects, the better (most of the time) they turned out to be. I was a true believer in effort = results when it came to art class. 

However, effort = results wasn’t always the case when it came to other subjects in school. Maybe that’s why I eventually ditched all the other subjects and went all-in to study design. 

Fast forward to now, I’m still the super quiet introverted kid with art and craft tendencies deep down. What’s only grown stronger is my love for the creative field. 

I want to see other quiet, introverted kids with art and craft tendencies to succeed too. If you have a question you think I might be able to help you with, I’m just a LinkedIn connection away. 

How I Let Go Of My Shy Side

I was a quiet, shy kid for the majority of my lifespan. I rarely raised my hand in class, didn’t really know how to talk to relatives or strangers, was pretty silent in many conversations, lacked the confidence in myself for a lot of topics in school, mostly STEM, because the other kids were so much better.

The only thing I knew I was pretty confident at was art (and definitely not the performing theatre kind).

On one hand, you could say that people like us “grow” out of our own shyness and general discomfort, but I think what happened instead was that I decided to go after my strengths rather than try to surround myself in an environment where I would need to work twice as hard to be in the same place as everybody else AND not enjoy the subject matter.

Letting go of my shyness and un-confidence was less of a shedding, and more of just directing my energy towards what I was actually good at instead of what I wasn’t good at.

Still Being Shy

I still consider myself a shy person.

It’s no fun when you’re always reminded about how self-conscious you are and *what other people are going to think of it*, but that’s what shyness does to you.

So, who is shyness for?

I realize that shyness is a thing for the self. Kind of like a shield for when you want to get out of something you’re too embarrassed to do. Like asking that classmate to hang out, or making small talk at the cash register, or putting yourself in front of a camera.

Shyness is an effective blocking tool, as it stops us from doing the things we actually wish we could be doing.

It sucks because it doesn’t serve anybody. Not yourself, not the people you want to be talking with, not your friends, not your family. It’s a fear.

One alternative is to try whatever it is, and see what happens anyways. 

Shyness As A Way In

I used to use shyness as a way out of things growing up. It was easy because most people understood boundaries and shyness made a very effective social barrier.

I used it as a tool to say no.

I never made it into a reason to try; Less pain to continue as is rather than to change the parts.

I realize that since shyness is such a big part of my identity, it would also be okay to use it as a way to be more of myself.

To love it and embrace it, rather than to push it away and be someone I’m not.

Shy Shell

Back when I was still deep into my own shell, I used to blame my parents or other authoritarian figures in my life for my lack of being socially comfortable, shy, and/or awkwardness. It was easy and passive to say, “Hey, it’s not my fault. I was raised like this.”

As I grew older, it became frustrating to have others speak on my behalf.

And so, when I finally began picking up the pieces to talk, I realized that there was nobody who would be able to represent me except for myself. It sounds plainly obvious, but I avoided it for years. There was nobody to blame for my social shortcomings except me.

Finding What’s Worth Talking About

We’ve all got something to say. 

Even if we feel like what we say doesn’t really matter, we still have something we want to share. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether if it comes out rough, rugged around the edges, or through bits and fragments at a time.

Everybody has something to say, everybody has something they want to share.

And, if it makes it any easier, there are unlimited chances to get it right so it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time.

Nothing to Say

We’re often not the first to speak out loud, mostly voicing personal opinions in a group when asked. And when we do, sometimes we’re quick to undermine ourselves so that we don’t risk the chance of offending others or coming off as unintentionally cocky.

In the midst of all the self-doubt, we forget that talking isn’t really a strength—communication is.

Communication means clarity in your message, and tact in your delivery. It’s not about the quantity of words, but how the message gets understood by other people.

So no, having nothing to say isn’t to be looked down on, because simply talking for the sake of filling up silence doesn’t earn you any points in anyone’s books.

What’s worth more is allowing people to understand the things you say when you do, and how you make them feel about it.

The Work Needs a Spokesperson

For reasons why you can’t give design work to a client without giving them a proper presentation of it first, a spokesperson is needed.

You’d be doing your hard work a disservice by avoiding showing how others can connect to it on a human level.

The audience wants to be told the journey, and how you got there. Surely that would be more important and captivating than a note that says, “Hey Cheryl, the first round of logos is attached to the latest email. Let me know which one clicks.”

Presenting is an art, and it often gets traded in for technical ability (both of which are important, but only one can build a relationship with a human audience).

The work needs a spokesperson. Finishing the work only brings us partially there, and the other part is how we make others connect with it.