Most people who know me, would never classify me as an introvert.
If you saw me at a dinner party or a conference, you'd probably never guess it, because I'm usually the guy telling stories, laughing loudly, and entertaining the crowd. What most people don't know, however, is that I am a hardcore introvert, which doesn't mean that I can't engage groups of people, it just means that it takes a lot more energy for me to engage than it would for an extrovert.
The difficulty with being an introvert in the world of social media is that I tend to engage best when my energy levels are up. You'll find me working on my blog, twitter, and Facebook early in the morning and late at night when my energy stores are highest. In the morning, before everyone else is in the office, I have extra energy to engage. I'm a night owl, so after everyone else has gone to be and the house is quiet, my energy levels increase and I unleash status updates, posts, and tweets on my social media friends/followers/colleagues (this post was published at 11:39 pm). While that works well for the online world, it wreaks havoc with the IRL (In Real Life) engagement opportunities that are the real value of social media.
For me, the point of all this great engagement isn't about making online friends (no disrespect to my great online peeps). If my goal were to only have online friends, I'd be happy on Facebook and would simply ignore Twitter and LinkedIn and would certainly never blog. While online friendships are fine, I'm really interested in developing meaningful connections and building an information network, and that means face-to-face interactions, whenever possible.
So, here's the confession part.
With the exception of a couple of professional conferences, I have sorely neglected the IRL opportunities in my local community. Mostly because the thought of expending the massive amounts of energy it takes me to meet new people isn't very appealing. I could just a soon expend that energy landscaping my yard or cleaning my garage. But my recent assessment of my IRL activities has left me with the understanding that participating in social media only when it's convenient for me is not only not social, it's downright anti-social. It presumes that IRL activities aren't worth the energy, which just isn't true.
Since I'm a pretty self-actualized kinda guy, and now I know the issue exists, I'm going to start doing more about it. You'll be seeing me at the Social Media Club of Kansas City (SMCKC) and Mobile Meetup events more frequently. Who knows, I might even start answering some calls for presentations. Believe it or not, I am a pretty good presenter, I just have to really work my energy levels up to do it. Basically, I'm going to start do a lot more to be a truly "social" social media strategist in real life.
So...I have a request from my readers. If you are a fellow social media introvert, share with me how you address the energy issues. If you're a social media extrovert, let me know what meetups, conferences, and IRL activities you enjoy the most.
I look forward to hearing from you and hope you have some great suggestions for me via comments and Tweets!