I am an introvert.
There a number of ways in which introverts and extroverts differ, some of which are fairly obvious day to day and others that are more subtle. One of the ones that shows up rather frequently is that introverts think about what they are going to say, and extroverts talk so that they know what they think. Each can be annoying to the other but being self aware about which camp you are in helps when navigating social situations.
So, for myself, my tendency is to not speak until I have something to say. This carries over to social media (something that I’ve discussed previously here).
But in the new year, I’m resolving to make a change: to speak up more often when it is necessary.
And necessary it is in 2021. Because we have learned that there are real-world consequences to giving free reign on social media to extroverts, those who lack impulse control or self-awareness, and people for whom belief is more important than thinking critically.
I know a lot of extroverts (who doesn’t? They are a dominant force in culture). Many of them are lovely people, warm and friendly, kind and loving.
But the danger comes when many act before they think–which as I said before is part of their nature. And on social media it is SO easy to act before thinking. You click the like button or shoot off a nasty reply before you even process what you’ve seen or read. (The person who coined the phrase that it’s better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission was an extrovert.)
This is how things “go viral” (a term I hate, by the way). But it is also how things become a shit storm. People pile on, one thing leads to another, and before you can say “Facebook” you have a flame war on your hands.
Voices of reason–badly needed right now–are drowned out, buried, lost in the flood. Calm dialog is shouted down. Mob mentality prevails.
So I don’t truly believe that my effort will make any difference, at least not right away. But I do need to defy my nature and speak up when warranted. And not be upset by the inevitable nasty responses. Or apologetic without reason.
If civility is actually what we want in this country (doubtful, but it’s a worthy goal), then somebody has to get the ball rolling, Might as well be me, and maybe you too.