Here’s a first—a post I wrote on Google+ first and am crossposting here instead of the other way around. Just some musings about my love of meta-discussion and about introverts vs. extroverts. (The fact that I can write a 600-word post there is one of the many reasons I am loving it.)
A Twitter conversation yesterday got me thinking about why I’ve had such an urge to write about Google+ both [there] and elsewhere—both how-to kinds of posts and meta-discussion about the nature and uses of [that] platform vs. others. Two reasons struck me:
1) Some people, and I’m one of them, enjoy puzzles. When I dive into a new app, platform, or network, I get a charge out of poking around, trying to figure out the tricks, puzzling out the easiest way to do things. I enjoy reading other people’s puzzle solutions; I like the challenge of putting my own hacks into words. The puzzle itself is part of what attracts the early-adopter in me.
But I have plenty of friends who don’t enjoy the puzzle stage. My husband—a brilliant guy; this isn’t about brains—will be the first to tell you he gets irritated when faced with a new platform to figure out. Change energizes me; it annoys him. And if he clicks onto a new site and discovers it’s going to take a little time to find his way around, meh, who has time for that? He’s a busy guy.
He’s not alone; I have many friends who are turned off by the baffled-newbie stage that I myself find so exhilarating. (Of course you know this means THEY are the folks who stick things out, who finish what they start. Some of us are explorers and some of us are homesteaders. Both kinds of people help build a civilization.)
Well, here I am in love with this new terrain, and I want my friends to settle in here and help build a culture. If I can help make it more appealing to them by helping other explorers make clear paths, I stand to benefit by the arrival of excellent neighbors.
2) Thinking about this, it hit me that for me, liking something is a social act. I enjoy everything more when I can talk about it with others. I don’t think all people are wired that way—actually, I think this may be a chief distinction between introverts and extroverts. For some people (again I hold +Scott Peterson up as an example), liking something is a private, inner experience, not at all dependent on the involvement of others. In fact, if too many other people start enthusing over the thing too, that can actually diminish the introvert’s enjoyment. For the extrovert, it’s the more, the merrier.
(Let me make it clear that I LOVE and admire introverts. I married one, didn’t I! And my passel of vert offspring is pretty evenly divided between intro and extro. I have shared Jonathan Rauch’s Atlantic Monthly article, “Caring for Your Introvert,” far and wide.)
For years I have looked at the introvert/extrovert distinction as having mostly to do with what drains you & recharges your batteries (as described in Raising Your Spirited Child). Some people get recharged by social contact with others; some people get recharged by time alone. In the past I have described myself as an extrovert with a strong introvert streak because I do need a fair amount of time alone to read and think and write.
But what struck me yesterday, pondering the G+ meta-urge, was that even in my alone time, what I do is social. I read—but even as I’m reading I’m thinking about talking about the book, blogging about it, putting my experience of the book into words to share with others. I write—for readers, for sharing stories, for dialogue, for an exchange of ideas. I happily spend my free time communicating with other people on social networks. And for me, a huge part of the fun of a new discovery is TALKING about the new discovery.
All of which is why I’ve never met a Meta I didn’t like. 🙂