Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy New Year and From Left to Write Book Club: Quiet

There is that commercial that starts with the tagline, "A body at rest tends to stay at rest." I feel like that is the story of every human action. It is difficult for us to get over the hurdle of taking the first step. I vowed to start blogging away when I got our new iMac but the mental hurdle of figuring out how to use Blogger just kept me from actually doing it. Even as I write this, I don't know how to do so many of the things that I had painstakingly learned on the PC. All the shortcuts, ctlr-this and that, those are all gone. My many years of computer-based employment required me to learn those shortcuts in order to save my wrists from carpel tunnel, but now I have to learn new mac ones. The mind is lazy and doesn't want to do new things, yet something inside me can't accept this and thus I create situations in which I have to grow myself. So Happy New Year my Random Mommy friends, albeit 17 days into it!

I don't know what inside me compels me to challenge [torment] myself, but it was the same thing that prompted me to sign up for this month's From Left to Write book club selection. I don't usually read non-fiction books that aren't work-related in some way, but I felt like my mind needed something other than the young adult science fiction that I've been devouring lately. The title of the book contains many ideas itself--Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. It suggests that introverts like quiet, introverts are [actually] powerful and that extroverts are blabbermouths. I think it could offend a lot of people who are extreme extroverts because it makes it seem like they are somehow oppressing the introverts. Of course, it's probably better interpreted as a good idea on the part of the publisher to get the book noticed.

I was thinking about the ideas of introvert and extrovert a lot in the context of the blogger world. It can't possibly be that all bloggers are extroverts. But when we go to conventions and events, it seems like everyone is or that they are at least pretending to be because that is how you make connections and get noticed by sponsors. I just want to put this out there that just because a blogger may not be in your face and talking it up with you a mile a minute doesn't mean that s/he isn't going to be an effective part of the message that you are trying to spread. That blogger could be an introvert that doesn't necessarily like to talk to people, but is taking in all the information and thinking deeply on how to make your brand a success. Her/his online persona may be totally different, s/he may be one of those bloggers that is able to write really well and appeal to thousands of people across the country who are also introverts like her/him and prefer to connect that way. S/he may not have a hundred thousand Twitter followers but she may have five hundred who really follow her advice and take action as a result of her blog posts. She may not even have a big online presence at all but be president of her local moms club that has 300 active members and a word from her can get them to tell five of their friends who will tell five of their friends and so on.

I'm not talking about myself, according to the book I'm an ambivert. I have been to enough blogging events, though, to notice that not every blogger is bubbly and wanting to meet everyone in the room. It would be interesting to see if some of these events can be changed so that the dynamic shifts from "fiesta" to "tete-a-tete" with real conversations so that everyone can be heard. To me that is why From Left to Write is such a great book club; everyone can get their views across because everyone is on an equal footing, introverts and extroverts (our internal conversations are always interesting!). The world needs all kinds of people in order to function. So please PR reps and fellow bloggers, the logical approach would be to treat everyone with respect and consideration. Let's aim for both in 2012!

Are you an introvert or extrovert? Author Susan Cain explores how introverts can be powerful in a world where being an extrovert is highly valued. Join From Left to Write on January 19 as we discuss Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. We'll also be chatting live with Susan Cain at 1PM Eastern on January 26. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

I just previewed this post and for some reason the text is highlighted white. Yay, another thing for me figure out!


Thien-Kim aka Kim said...

I agree with you. I think many bloggers are introverts and it's easy to look extroverted through the mask of a computer screen.

Taylor said...

I *wish* more conventions were geared towards introverts!!

Marianne Thomas said...

I attended BlogHer '09 in Chicago and while it was a lot of fun to finally meet up with so many great bloggers, I found myself heading back to my room for 30 min or so every day just to get some alone time. Or walking outside after lunch for the same reason.

It is funny, isn't it, how blogging events are set up to be so face-to-face, go-go-go, and most bloggers aren't necessarily compatible with that format.

Best to you!

Alicia said...

One great example in my mind of what you are saying in your post is Ree Drummond from the food blog The Pioneer Woman. On the blog she sounds like an extrovert and funny and quirky and lovingly weird. On her new cooking show though she seems uncomfortable and not quite as interesting and quippy. Of course I love her to death online and on the Food Network, don't get me wrong. But she's a good example of what you are saying.

Karen said...

While the large blogging conventions always sound like a lot of fun, great to meet the people I've been chatting with, and a way to explore opportunities, they also sound mentally exhausting! And so many posts make it sound like they are filled to the brim with super bubbly people, so good to know that's not always the case. :>

Janin said...

I agree, it is so much easier to blog, where you have time to organize your thoughts, than it is to quip in person. And it amazes me the number of people who may act like extroverts and actually identify with being introverts.

Lisa Hanneman said...

I like your spin on this book! Your observation is right on.

Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony said...

I hadn't heard of ambiverts! I'm definitely an introvert. And it doesn't surprise me that many bloggers are actually introverts, because if they were true extroverts they probably wouldn't be blogging and would rather go out and meet people! Blogging conferences sound pretty terrifying to me, haha.

Portugal said...

As an introvert myself, this book drew me in just from the title, and I can truly say this is a fascinating study of what being an introvert means.
With a mixture of anecdotes and scientific research, Cain explores how introverts function, what makes us act the way we do, and why in this day and age it is such a difficult thing to be respected as someone who is different. Most of us have faced all of the things she mentions, from teachers who think that there is something wrong with children who prefer to read than play, to the minutia like making small talk that can drain some of us of all energy. She does a fantastic job of explaining why we function in this manner, and she manages to show us that we are not wrong in the way we act; we are just different.