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Fact or Fiction? You Must Be an Extrovert to Succeed in Social Media
Posted on October 24th 2013
Your personality impacts the way you respond to different situations throughout your day. You may get nervous around new people, find yourself irritated when a task isn’t completed appropriately, or become extremely lonely after a few hours alone. These responses can be emotions, thoughts, or behaviour and are often categorized under 5 personality traits (known as the Big 5):
Our personality is so deeply rooted in us that it remains the same across all situations. Because of this, it’s extremely important to find a job that fits with your personality. Do you know your personality traits? You should. Here’s a great test to get you started from good ol’ Dr. Phil.
Why can’t we just "fake it ‘til we make it"?
Sure, you can fake a different personality and pretend to be someone you’re not, but at the end of the day, you’ll only end up hurting yourself. Doing a job for 8+ hours a day, day in and day out, that goes contrary to your personality will not only affect your performance on the job, but can also be detrimental to your well-being. Susan Cains, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts”, says it best:
“introversion and extroversion are at the heart of human nature. And when you make life choices that are congruent with your temperament, you unleash vast stores of energy. … when you spend too much time battling your own nature … you deplete yourself.”
So it’s important to (a) understand your own personality and (b) look for a job that suits you.
What personality drives success social media?
Working as a community or social media manager has you starting conversations all day long, seeking social interaction, and sharing updates. You’re a social media manager; a textbook extrovert. If you’re an introvert at heart, you’re just not going to flourish here, right? (Don’t know if you’re more introverted or extroverted? Take Susan Cain’s quiz here.) Just look at these common characteristics of social media managers compared to your typical extrovert and introvert:
Easy. Peasy. It’s perfectly reasonable to conclude that extroversion is the desired trait over introversion for being a social media manager.
Shoot. You’re an introvert you say? Well, unfortunately, it seems like you’re just a kitten playing with the heavyweights. Essentially, you’re doomed. Start your career shift now; this one is for the loud and boisterous.
Or is it?
Putting aside the fact that the line between extroversion and introversion is about as clear as your vision on a Friday night (in fact, it’s really more of a spectrum), there are many attributes of a textbook introvert that would, in fact, make them an excellent social media or community manager.
* consider causes here.
And the ones listed above in the first chart aren’t necessarily make or break, either. Many of these introverted characteristics can work well in a social media setting – personal happiness dependent less on social proof, developing great one-on-one relationship with community members, or ensuring shared content is of high value and not simply for the purpose of being in the spotlight.
So it turns out, even though the title and job description of the average social media manager leads us to believe you must be a social butterfly (and wrongly assume that introverts are out of the equation) introverts may flourish in this position after all.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Which of your introversion or extroversion qualities help you to be a better social media or community manager?
Photo by Kathryn Cairney, on Flickr