It can be difficult to be an introvert in the information age. I frequently struggle to balance the need to be alone with my thoughts, and the responsibility to manage my digital persona.
I think that most people who get to know me discover fairly quickly that I’m a relatively private person. That’s not to say that I am socially inept or isolated. I am, however, externally practical and inwardly rich. I’m at my depths an immensely spiritual person, which I think is reflected in the way I view social interaction. I have a very deep love for authentic originality, and a heartfelt appreciation for our natural right to be secure in ourselves; both physically and in our thought lives.
I’m very intentional about my alone time. It allows me the space I need to separate myself from the world around me; to become spiritually renewed, re-energized, and inwardly sure. It also prepares me to love more fully.
The irony is my digital persona tends to eclipse my real life self; at least in terms of exposure.
I find myself more willing to share online; although at times exhausted by the act. I’m a member of numerous social networks, and (obviously) I blog. However, I value my right to decide when and where to divulge my thoughts. Here is where my frustration begins.
Privacy, in our culture, has traditionally referred to the degree of access other people have to us; either in terms of physical proximity, or how we manage our lives (Quinn, 2013). As the information age progressed the application of privacy has swiftly changed. Groups of strangers are deciding the scope of public and private access to our lives. They are deciding the etiquette of the age we live.
In the digital world the threat of intrusion is very real. Be it online marketers mining data sold to them by private organizations, social networks sharing our content with individuals outside our networks, or the government legislating intrusion in the name of public safety. It is clear we are not in control of information specific to our persons.
I find the challenge of living in such a wide digital forum is that I feel an obligation to maintain a more diverse and larger presence than I do in real life. The impact of doing so is far more reaching than most of us realize. It seems as though we are bound by the requirements of a social contract that claims, if we have a digital persona, other people are entitled to have access to it. This is very similar to the way we’re drawn to believe owning a self phone requires us to be at the beckon call of the world.
How rude of you not to return that text.
So how is one to survive as an introvert facing the challenges of the digital world. The first step is intention. A commitment to the cause of retaining who you are, and taking the time to grow at your own pace. That is where true beauty lies, in the freedom of authenticity, and the journey it took to get there.
QUINN, MICHAEL J. Ethics for the information age-5th ed. Pearson Education, Inc. 2013