What Social Networking means to the Introvert

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My younger brother has finally convinced me to try the one thing I didn't think I would ever do: play World of Warcraft. Yes, I finally gave in and used a 10 day free trial to see what the hype is all about. Keep in mind that in the mean time I have been checking out Eteral Lands, a free MMORPG, and I have been playing around a little bit in Second Life.

Well, 7 days later, and one angry wife feeling neglected, I am ready to report. I finally got bored with it. How's that, you ask? How is it possible that someone could be bored with World of Warcraft when everyone else and their dog seems addicted to it? To answer that, you have to know something about me. I am, by nature, an introvert. That is, I prefer to go things alone, or only with those within my close circle.

The Introvert's Dilemma
I started to think about this, and wondered if there might be others out there like me that are so introverted that they also feel bored or uncomfortable in a social networking environment. So I tried a search on Google. and the results were geared to helping introverts feel comfortable with the networking software, or making fun of their inability to use such software.

Feeling a little insulted, I asked myself the question: Why would I need to use social networking software anyway? What do I get from it, apart from isolating those around me currently, as I spend all my time in the social environment. After all, most of my associates, friends, and even my wife are introverts. If I don't pay attention to them in real life, they wouldn't interact at all (as they don't use social networking software either). So, what's the benefit?

Why Social Networking Works for People
I have to admit, there is a benefit to social networking, in that you can meet new people you wouldn't normally see anywhere else. For instance, while in WoW, I met a fellow from Heidelberg Germany. Nice guy, joined the same Guild that my brother invited me to, and we had a nice chat. That would never have happened anywhere else. Also, today I met a nice fellow and helped him with his quest. It was nice to have another druid that had a lower rating than I did there to help, even though he had been working in WoW for far longer than I had.

So it's all about connections. I constantly have people contacting me on my My Space account I set up for my class (and haven't visited since). These are people I would never have met before, and probably will never meet in the future. It is all because of Social Networking that makes this possible.

Why Social Networking Doesn't work for Introverts (or at least me)
I am, by nature, shy. Those who knew me in high School may not agree with this statement, but I am actually a very shy person. And because I am a shy person, when I go into a social networking world (like WoW or Second Life), I spend all my time doing things on my own. Sometimes I will ignore someone if I don't know who they are, even if they initialize the conversation. That's just how I am.

Now that you understand that concept, you may begin to see why I could get bored of WoW so quickly. The challenges are best tackled by a group, and I don't do groups. I don't go on quests with other people (unless it's my brother), and I don't like to talk to people while I am concentrating on my quest.

So, if you are a big World of Warcraft fan, I hope I didn't insult you. The game is very well done, it's just not something that can keep me interested for long. Also, if you are an introvert with roughly the same problem, I hope that you can feel comfort in the fact that at least one of us out there feels your pain. ^_^