Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#wallflower

Social media. It's the way of the world these days. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram etc., etc., etc., Google +. If you're not online, are you even really alive? It's how everybody communicates with everybody about everything.

Except my in-laws. They had a bad experience with a Commodore 64 back in the day and decided that was a good time to exit the information super highway.

Anyway, there's this whole big world out there on the internet and we're all a part of it. And I love it. I really do. I'm an introvert with social anxiety issues, so being able to communicate with people on my own time and from the safety of my private space is wonderful.

Now if I could just get myself to communicate with people.

I realized the other day that I act exactly the same way on social media that I do at a giant party. I'm there surrounded by all these people and I hide in my own little corner eavesdropping on their conversations and thinking up responses I never quite get the nerve to make.

Don't get me wrong. I like sending my thoughts out into the world. I tweet all the darn time. I have several different accounts I tweet from all the darn time actually. I'm just full of 140-character nonsense and more than willing to share it with everyone. Plus, there's this blogging thing I try to do, for when I have nonsense of a somewhat lengthier form.

I think I'm fine doing that because I go into it assuming no one is listening. I'm not under the impression that anyone follows me religiously, and I keep odd, inconsistent hours. Plus I don't have that many followers to begin with and most of my blog readers are bots. So I suspect most of what I put out there just drifts by unnoticed.

Now, if I know someone at the party and am comfortable, I might cling to them like the last floating scrap of wreckage in the ocean strike up a conversation with that person. I might @-reply to something they say or tag them in something I want them to know about. You know, intentionally drawing their attention rather than just yammering into the void.

And occasionally, when I'm really tired and thinking I'm funnier than I am maybe or excited about something or I've gotten myself worked up into A State, I'll venture out and respond to a complete stranger. But generally I keep well away from the @ symbol where strangers are involved.

(I mean, I'm a stranger to them. I lurk on the internet a lot and so if I'm going to respond to someone, I probably follow their tweets and/or blogs like we're BFFs, but to them the only difference between me and a random egg is that I have a hat.)

I probably shouldn't do this. Logically I know that these people are people just like me. A number of them have interests similar to mine and our senses of humor align. Otherwise I wouldn't find them so interesting and/or entertaining. So it's entirely possible they might find what I have to say interesting and/or entertaining too.

What am I so afraid of? That they'll see my tweet pop up in their mentions and think, "who the hell is this crazy chick, walking in here talking at me like we're friends or something?" and then forward my tweet to all my friends so they can all get together online somewhere to point and laugh and then click the block button?

Actually, I suspect that is exactly what I am afraid of, but when I'm thinking about it without my anxiety meter cranked up to 1000, I'm really more worried they'll just ignore me.

Well no more. From now on, I'm going to be more social on the social media. I'm going to shut down my screaming neuroses and get out there and talk to people and make new friends and all that stuff.

(Good grief, this is exactly what I sounded like when I was starting high school and then again starting college. Third time's the charm hopefully.)

And not just so I can have more fun at the 24/7 social media party. As the Idea Salesman has pointed out, eventually I'm going to have books to sell and such and I'm going to have to be able to interact with people to do that. This is a skill I'm going to have to cultivate if I'm going to be a professional in today's environment.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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