Mandy Brown’s thoughts on writers and talkers—which, weirdly, I only seem to have mentioned before in a post about my Social Security debacle—came to mind again recently. In this case, it was Jake LaCaze posting about introverts.
Late last month, Jake wrote about introverts and extroverts in the context of how people are expected to perform themselves online.
And those questions of quality and frequency have led to my questioning online interactions, mostly via social media. This extroverted world expects us to be everywhere online at all times. Digital tools are available to help us scale, to be present at many places at once. But operating this way leads to the problems of the quality and the frequency of conversation. We’re told to keep the conversation going so that the algorithms favor us and push our content to more viewers in the name of promoting the conversation—conversation we may not even want to be part of.
It got me thinking about the differences between blogging and social media, and whether or not a case could be made of the former as introverted and the latter as extroverted—and, further, the former as the venue of writers and the latter as that of talkers.
“Are you a writer or a talker?” writes Mandy. “That is, when you need to think about something, do you generally reach for something to write with, or look for someone to talk to?”
She emphasizes that there’s no qualitative distinction necessary here but rather one of cognition and one of context: talkers sometimes need to write, and writers sometimes need to talk.
When I think about it now, I feel like my decade of virtually non-stop tweeting was a kind of derailment, although for much of that time I also was blogging (as eventually will be clear as I slowly work through restoring two decades of it here). Even so, I must have been getting something out of it, else I surrender to the idea that I simply succumbed to its deliberate addictiveness much as I once had to that of smoking cigarettes.
Although, thinking further (here, in writing) it seems that as social media became more relentless in its drive for addiction, that’s precisely when I began to pull myself away from it.
I’m without question an introvert, but as I remind incessantly introversion is not unsociability. It’s simply resource management. I’m certainly far and away more a writer than a talker, although like many autistic people if you get me going on a topic of interest I can chatter on with the best of them.
“The extroverted web says you’re missing out on the endless firehouse of content that will be outdated and irrelevant by the time you learn about it,” Jake writes.
For the introverts (and writers?), though: “We can try the parties every once in a while when we feel up to it, but the rest of the time you can find us at our websites and email addresses.”
- It’s besides the above point but this is as good a place as any to mention that both Winnie Lim and Kev Quirk recently posted about having microblogs on one’s blog. Winnie is doing it “so I can write stream-of-consciousness short notes and publish them freely and frequently” while Kev is not lest it “run the risk of muddying the waters here, and I already have a perfectly good platform that’s designed for these thoughts”.
For my part, I’ve more or less landed on the idea that my microblogging, which currently happens on Bluesky, is meant to be ephemeral even if technically speaking it persists on that service until and unless I delete it all. I’m glad I downloaded my Twitter archive a few months before I finally just deleted my account, for personal perusal if necessary.
Mostly anything I find of value that I say in passing on social media will just end up over here in some more considered form.