~Note~ I wrote this one in September 2016, finally getting around to posting it. Oops.
I am not naturally a social person. I have a magnet on my fridge that says, “There are two kinds of people in the world, and I don’t like them”. The social environment is usually pretty exhausting for me, and I never thought that I would be spending so much time talking to people as a career; especially because I went to school to be a wildlife biologist. Sounds like a good career for someone who likes to spend a lot of alone time, out in the woods or desert, waiting and watching. But then…if you do an OK job, they ask you to manage a crew of biologist, then to write some grants, then to manage a program or department, and all of a sudden, you aren’t in the field any more. You spend all day looking at a computer or in meetings. Suddenly your job is to be social. Your job is to sell your research grant, or program to upper administration (or whoever allocates money) so that your program can keep going. Your job is to sell the mission of the organization, or department, or program or even the specific job that an employee has, so that THEY can be passionate about whatever it is that they do. And all you want to do is wander off into the woods, read a book, and just be alone. It is not the life you expect when you think of yourself as an introvert.
Introverts and Extroverts are not always as different as people think, in my mind, what it really comes down to is energy. An introvert gathers energy when they are alone; an extrovert gathers energy from being with others. An introvert is exhausted after a party; an extrovert is ready to hit the next one. But an introvert can give a speech, motivate people, be the life of the party, lead a group, just like an extrovert can. I am an introvert that has to work like an extrovert for my career. It is tiring.
So what about Marketing and Blogs?
I didn’t know it when I started my career, but everyone needs to understand marketing, and how to do it. At some point in your life, you will need to sell something, whether it is an idea, a research project, a car, yourself to a prospective employer. Everyone needs the basic skills to convince someone else. Now I think that everyone should take a marketing class so that they understand the basic concepts – It would help out a lot of people. Enjoying selling is different too – and I think I am reverting back to the In vs Ex discussion here. I can take satisfaction in a job well done once I have successfully made my pitch – but I don’t have a passion for it.
So what about blogs.
Blogs are a method of showing yourself to the world, of selling yourself. It isn’t the same as doing it in person, but it is still – to me- an extroverted activity. The assumption that others will care about whatever it is that you are writing about…and come back for more. The more you write, the more likely that you will get a following. I, clearly, am not very good at it. I have a number of blogs in draft form, waiting for pictures, I have others that are really just internal monologues that I don’t feel like exposing to my 3 active followers – or however many there are. My last posted one – at least as I write this, was nearly a year ago. Why would anyone follow a blogger that only posts once or twice or even 12 times a year? Not good marketing. I’d be very curious to know what percentage of bloggers consider themselves intro vs extra-verted. And if it is different that the twitter-ers (not the followers mind you, but the ones who actively post). My guess is that most active social media participants are extroverts, and that most of the followers are introverts – living vicariously through those they follow.