Do you need to be an Extrovert to be in Social Media Marketing?

Do you need to be an Extrovert to be in Social Media MarketingGreat question which I found myself asking last night after I reviewed my recent Myers Briggs score. I found it interesting that my score came in as ENTJ.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the Myers Briggs test it asks you a bunch of questions from multiple angles to rate you on 4 basic scales: your Favorite World (Introvert/Extrovert), Information (Sensing/Intuition), Decisions (Thinking/Feeling) and Structure (Judging or Perceiving). The result is a 4 letter score such as mine – ENTJ – which means a person who prefers being an Extrovert rather than an Introvert who prefers Institutional Information over Sensing, that prefers Thinking rather than Feeling when it comes to making Decisions and prefer to Judge Structure rather than perceiving it.

But focusing on the Extrovert angle for a second, I began to wonder if you need to be an extrovert to be in social media. Certainly internally in your organization you need to be an extrovert if you want to organize a Tribe or movement in your company to take on social media. And for sure you need to be an extrovert if you plan on becoming a proclaimed social media expert or guru. But I never thought of myself as an Extrovert, even though I know the test is very consistent (yes I have taken it before and gotten the same score – even before Social Media existed).

I wonder if this spectrum from Introvert to Extrovert will play it’s way out on Social Media. Meaning if the 1-9-90 rule (see link to my post) will actually change over time. The 1-9-90 theory that says out of every hundred people who join a community or network – 1% actively contribute – 9% contribute from time to time – and 90% are lurkers. Perhaps as more people get comfortable being extroverted and live completely transparently then we will see a shift in that law to a ratio that resembles more of the online population.

18 comments to Do you need to be an Extrovert to be in Social Media Marketing?

  • Paul, I think being an extrovert certainly helps in sharing using social media. Though I believe there are a number of introverts that have found social media a comfortable way to engage and have developed extrovert traits, even though their personality type doesn’t change.

    I know I’ve developed a more open and engaging skillset than I otherwise would have being an introvert. I think some portion of the population has found social media an easier way to expand their networking base and be more outgoing.

  • Paul,

    I found your post and question to be extremely relevant as I just debated this exact topic with a former colleague. She informed me their most recent hire at her company was as a social media specialist in addition to an introvert. My argument relied on the contradiction of the words themselves – social and introvert. This combination cannot produce a successful outcome. I also am a social media specialist/community manager and “introvert” would never be a word used to describe my personality.

    However I must agree with and make mention to Rick’s comment that interacting in social media may help or encourage introverts to develop extrovert traits. But is it a catch 22? The more introverts interact with individuals through social media networking sites and communities, do they continue to lose their face-to-face interaction skills and any “real life” social skills they may have developed without social media?

    It is a question to most likely go unanswered, but we also have to recognize that using social media or interacting with it versus conducting social media activities and engaging in conversation on behalf of an organization or brand, are entirely different. Maybe the brand evangelists should remain with the extroverts as we all try to crack the code of the customers and introverts who are buying the products.

  • @Rick – thanks for sharing!

  • @ Kalyn, fundamentally, I have to disagree with you blog that being introverted makes a person incapable of being a professional communicator. I’ve known many professional communicators who were slightly introverted, aware of their personality type and worked with it or used it to their advantage in their jobs. Perhaps, personally they were held back, but they just channeled even more effort into their work.

  • Your information is help me lot to understand the social media marketing. Thanks a lot for posting this. Keep blogging.

  • Erik Bartz

    This is nothing more than typical, small-minded extrovert thinking. Being an extrovert or introvert has nothing to do with being social or not. I might be an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I can’t or am unable to socialize. It just means I enjoy quiet time to myself on occasional.

    Introverts can form a movement or a tribe just as well as anyone, and they do all the time. Some of the top CEO’s in American history have been introverts. Did you know we can even be good at giving presentations in front of large audiences?! You bet!

  • However I must agree with and make mention to Rick’s comment that interacting in social media may help or encourage introverts to develop extrovert traits.

  • […] Do you need to be an Extrovert to be in Social Media Marketing? Buzz Marketing for Technology – Jun ’10 […]

  • […] shock that he turned out to be an extrovert on the Myers-Briggs personality test and wonders if you need to be an extrovert to be in social media. Then David Weinberger, big thinker, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto (and nice guy) proposed an […]

  • John Traynor

    While there is merit to the discussion regarding the skills it takes to be a social media maven, a personality preference is NOT a skill. It is bad management to confuse the two. This is EXACTLY the type of thing MBTI is NOT to be used for!

    Imagine writing that introverts would make better accountants simply BECAUSE they are introverts…nonsense!

  • Interesting topic…I’ve seen many I’s over the past few years actually “find” and use their voice more through social media. These people may be a bit quieter or in some cases quirky or maybe even awkward in face-to-face social settings (this may be what @kayln was speaking about). But they shine online via twitter, facebook, blogging, etc. It’s a different form of self expression(perhaps using that channel is a stage of sorts where they feel more empowered??) Just an observation.

    Personally, I’m an ENTJ as well. And based on the premise of your post, one might expect I’d be more active in SM circles. I do my fair share and enjoy it – but give me an oppty to meet f2f, and I’d choose that any day.

  • […] shock that he turned out to be an extrovert on the Myers-Briggs personality test and wonders if you need to be an extrovert to be in social media. Then David Weinberger, big thinker, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto (and nice guy) proposed an […]

  • I really like this topic.
    I think that there are a few different facebook personalities.
    There are those that passively read and barely ever post.
    There are those that post on occasion only, which makes their posts valuable for others to read (among the lines of, “Oh, I wonder what kind of wisdoms this guy has to say, since this must be serious, he never speaks up. Must be an interesting post to read”)
    There are those that post information that is overwhelming and repeated too often. These typically get ignored and not given as much value.
    I don’t think that being an introvert or an extrovert has an influence on quality and sufficiency of posts or tweets. There are a lot of nerds out there that are quiet and not sociable in person, while they can talk it up online just fine.

  • Great post again..although im still not quite sure if you need to be an extrovert

  • Enjoyed this discussion.

    I think Erik hit on a key point.

    As an out-of-the-closet introvert, I never understood why I would be classified as not being a “people person.” I like people.

    Then, a facilitor at a Meyers Briggs session summed it up this way:

    The core issue is not whether you like people.

    The core issue is how you gain and lose energy. Introverts gain energy from solitude and find energy sapped from being around people. Extroverts are wired for the opposite effect.

    This made sense to me and explained why I would get off a 12-hour international flight feeling refreshed (essentially putting a cocoon around myself on the flight so it provided a version of solitude).

    Back to the original premise-

    I would argue that social media is actually introvert friendly.

    Because the virtual world is not nearly as taxing on an introvert as the physical world.

  • Donovan Colbert

    Take an extroverted person and put them far enough out of their comfort zone, and they either become an introvert, or terribly annoying.

    My point is that for most people, the concepts of introverted/extroverted behavior are highly relative and conditional. For those who are always either highly introverted or extroverted, there is a strong argument that there is a deeper psychosis at work.

    I’m an active blogger, I find it hard to pass by the opportunity to provide my input on a subject, and most of my circle of associates would claim I am extroverted.

    In fact, I have always suffered terrible social anxiety and prefer introspection to extrospection.

    I have a strong aversion to giving presentations or otherwise being the center of focus for a crowd – on the other hand, when I’ve given presentations or otherwise been in the spotlight and I was incredibly well prepared or in my comfort zone for knowledge, it has been exhilarating. My mood, my physical comfort, environment, the topic at hand, the group I am with – all will affect my desire to be introverted or extroverted. I think there is danger in applying basic personality types too broadly in trying to come to conclusions over what kind of personality is best suited to one role or another.

  • An Introvert

    I found many of the comments left insulting. As an introvert I don’t need social skills. I have them. I choose when and where I want to use them. I don’t need, nor want to become an extrovert. For me it is too exhausting. I am though a lover of social media and have been an active participant for years now!

  • Can I simply say what a comfort to find somebody that truly knows what they’re talking
    about on the net. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people have to check this out and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised that you’re not more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>