Monday, December 31, 2007
In the interim, here's yet another list of famous introverts. It seems that introversion is no great handicap to being successful in the entertainment businsess.
You know who surprised me by being on this list? Here's a few names:
Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Christina Aguilera, Johnny Carson, Barbara Walters (?!?)
Barbara Walters? An introvert? I would never have expected that.
Christina Aguilera? Really? Go figure! On the other hand, she hasn't gotten into the same hijinks as other young female pop stars whose names I won't mention... maybe introversion is good for you!
Johnny Carson?!? NO WAY!
These people certainly are mighty and successful in many ways, but would you have ever pictured them to be mighty introverts?
There are other names on that list that seem more likely to be introverts than the people that I listed above. Check them out.
Friday, December 28, 2007
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm most interested in writing, particularly writing that can be published on the Internet. One of the focuses of this blog is to examine the creative process, both from the point of view of the creator as well as the consumer/reader/scanner.
Despite my aspirations to make a living from my writing, I've spent most of my time during the past six months making user-generated content. My creative journey has following the following path to date:
1) Attempts at writing and publishing fiction - one story published at Aphelion
2) A lot of articles for Helium.com (over 100)
3) Eight articles at Triond.com family of websites
4) My two blogs
5) Guest posts at The Thinking Blog, The WWW Observer, Dumb Little Man, and SEO 2.0.
6) A bunch of social news/media/bookmarking stuff with StumbleUpon, Digg, Mixx, ShoutWire, and Sphinn which has led to me making a number of on-line contacts - great people, all of them.
7) Some participation in Blog Catalog and MyBlogLog communities, although I've been neglecting them of late.
8) I'm part of Maki's Team Marketing Network, which may lead to some interesting projects.
9) I'm writing a weekly column about the Web for one of my local newspapers
10) One other article for a print media trade publication which will hopefully be published in early 2008 (fingers crossed).
11) Ongoing Squidoo experiments
There's no doubt that I've been learning a great deal and that my writing has improved during the past year but I'm feeling... dissatisfied. I feel like I've been taking a shotgun approach to the Web and writing in general, but I haven't really been aiming consistently at any one thing. I'd like to make some income off of all of this (and I am making a tiny bit, probably close to $300 this year from a variety of sources), but I'm still looking for a least one significant income stream. Maybe in 2008. :)
If I'd been able to read the recent posts by Maki and Muhammed Saleem (Read Before You Play) on social media about three months before they came out, I would probably have done things quite differently this year. Would have I been any further ahead? I really don't know. Maybe it's just as well to learn things gradually through trial and error then to have the knowledge handed to you by some maven and then, just like opening up a faucet, money would gush out.
Oddly enough, this rather sparse article put me on the track to Digg and many other social media wonderment. This other article about promoting your own work at Digg caught my attention for awhile, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone knowing what I know now.
In fact, I was disgusted enough with these articles that I wrote my own, mainly because I didn't want people to get too disillusioned or waste too much time submitting huge volumes of their work at the social news sites and then having their @sses handed back to them. I hope it goes #1 in that Helium category so people read it first and get some realistic idea of what to expect from self-submitting rather than reading the current #1 article. But whatever.
I'd summarize 2007 as being a time of experimentation and getting grounded in various social media and user-generated content platforms.
I hope to find some better focus in 2008 and increasing my earnings, primarly through freelance or column writing gigs. I'd like to earn $ 2,000.00 (US or Canadian) by writing and on-line ventures in 2008. I don't know if that's acheivable, but it's certainly possible.
I'd like to establish The Uncanny Broadcasting Brain Blog as a solid, dependable read and a good source of information. I'd like to get the subscriber count to at least 150, we'll see how that goes.
I'd like to take The Mighty Introvert further by developing a community for introverted social media practioners (or, to be honest, anyone interested in social media) to share ideas and do great things.
Oh, and I'd like to win at least $10.0 million (but I have that same wish quite frequently.... :) )
Finally, I will make more use of graphics, images, and pictures in my posts in 2008.
So, here's to the fast-approaching end of 2007 and looking foward to 2008. Cheers!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Hope everyone is having a good holiday season!
Monday, December 24, 2007
P.S. If you like beef stroganoff, you might want to check this out (shameless plug, what can I say?)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The funny thing about introverts is that we can feel lonely despite our frequent need for solitude. Imagine that! Sometimes we can't stand to be around other people; other times, we are miserable because we have no one to talk to. Introverts still have a deep, human need for connection despite our personality orientation. However, we have another powerful need: to be understood and accepted for who and what we are.
My university years helped me to understand some of the challenges of being an introvert. University was the best of times and the worst of times for me. University was a wonderful time for exploration, learning, and becoming more independent. The experience of living (somewhat) on my own for the first time was a crucial event in my life.
University was very difficult, on the other hand, because I found it hard to make meaningful friendships like I had when I was in high school and middle school. At the time I knew I was a shy and private person, but I really didn't understand what introversion was. As many of you may know, privacy quickly evaporates when you have a roommate at university, as well as dozens or hundreds of other young adults within walking distance. That was definitely a huge change for this young introvert.
University lifestyle had another element which was really hard for me to adjust to: the near-constant socializing and expectation to be out there partying and having fun with other people. University residences, especially the one that I lived in, cater to social activities. Unfortunately, it could be a very challenging environment for people who need quiet, alone time to recharge. Quite often I found myself thinking that I needed to be out with "the guys" doing things that did really seem to be that fun until you'd had a few beers. Or more than a few. However, most of these friendships had less depth than a wading pool.
I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy some of the times that I spent with my university neighbors (I'd be lying if I said that many of them became true friends, too) but overall I felt disconnected, insecure, and lonely a lot of the time because my introversion and my interests seemed to diverge so much from my fellow university residents. I felt very ungrounded and somewhat lost during those years. My need for "alone time" conflicted with the social dynamics of residence life.
I sometimes wonder if my university experience would have been easier if the Internet and the Web had been out there in its current form. E-mail was available in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it wasn't always easy to access, so I wound up relying more on handwritten letters in those days (I didn't get my first PC until after I graduated from university) or the very rare phone call. I wonder if I would have stayed in better contact with high school or university acquaintances if sites like Facebook and instant messaging were around in those days. It certainly would have been easier to keep in touch.
The other thing that Web 2.0 technologies have done is to help develop interest groups on every topic under the sun. Usenet newsgroups and computer BBSs (bulletin board system) were the main sources of mass communication in those days. Web 2.0 and its wired precursors have been instrumental in developing communities that did not and could not exist without those technologies. People who have hard times connecting face-to-face can today take part in different communities based on common thoughts and interests.
The point of this post isn't to whine about the problems that introversion introduced into my life. My life, even in its worst moments, is a very good life. I have learned to take pride in qualities that I used to believe were weaknesses. I am older and wiser and I learn more every day. However, if I had been eighteen years old today, I'd send myself a link to this blog and this post in particular. I'd share my social bookmarks and other assorted links that I've found on the topic of introversion. Most importantly, I'd use this knowledge and technology to help me understand myself better and to try to communicate with other introverts. I couldn't use this to create and maintain a permanent social life, but I could use it as a stepping stone to other things.
In summary, I think it's a better time to be an introvert than it ever has. The knowledge and tools are at your disposal to become better educated, learn more about others, and, most importantly, learn about yourself. That's the greatest gift of all.
My recurring theme in this blog is to talk about ways to become a mighty introvert. However, I think the best thing that I could ever help anyone to do is to become a self-aware, knowledgeable introvert who is comfortable with himself or herself. I think that would make them pretty darn mighty, too.
Friday, December 21, 2007
This link is an Amazon.com list which contains biographies of famous/and or successful introverts. One or two people on the list might surprise you. Check out the biographies of these amazing introverts!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Please check out this post at The Introverted Marketer when you get a chance. Looks like the start of something good!
Friday, December 14, 2007
This thought was a bit disturbing to me. Was I droning off into a void?
Then I remembered who my audience is: introverts. We're awesome thinkers and listeners, but we're not always motivated to communicate. That helped to put things into perspective.
Of course, you might be dazzled by my brilliance. Dazzled speechless, so to speak. That might be the reason.
It's this kind of thinking that leads me to buy a lottery ticket every now and then. I haven't won yet. But there's always the possibility.
Anyway, I'm going to keep writing here. If you want to read it, that's cool, too.
Happy Friday and remember to be kind to the extroverts out there. They have their own tendencies and needs, just like we do. It's the way they're wired.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Please have a look at this article from The Monster Blog. They talk a bit about the advantages that on-line social network tools can provide to the introvert.
Their article references a Boston.com article which describes how today's technologies are helping introverts get better at networking.
Looks like we're getting a bit of attention, introverts!
Maybe yesterday's article about using social bookmarking to become a social media powerhouse is both timely and relevant!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Use social bookmarking to become a social media powerhouse
Be warned - this is a simple idea but it can take a lot of hard work and a lot of elapsed time to achieve. However, you can use social bookmarking to build your own network of contacts and a good reputation without meeting anyone face-to-face and you can do it at your own pace.
This is a very simple idea. It's so simple that it might seem incredibly obvious to many readers, but sometimes it's important to state the obvious over and over again.
So, here it is.
Here we go.
1) Get a social bookmarking site account - almost any site will do. StumbleUpon is particularly good for this. Del.icio.us might be good for this purpose as well. Other sites are worth a try, but these two are the biggest.
2) Learn how to use the social bookmarking site. Read any or all documentation about the site and its functions. Search through the Web for user-written guides and learn the secrets.
3) Scour the Web for good content. Use any/all resources, like search engines, social news websites, on-line newspapers and magazines, anything. Find good content. I mean REALLY good content. You want to find the kind of content, regardless of subject or field, that meets your own discriminating tastes.
4) Start bookmarking this content with smart, informative bookmarks. Use social bookmarking to its fullest advantage, including valuable notes, smart keywords or tags, and ratings.
5) Find out who else is bookmarking this content. Both Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon will tell you which users saved the same bookmarks.
6) Add these other users to your Friends list within the application.
7) Review your new Friend's bookmarks and bookmark the good ones yourself. If you find good content that they've saved with bookmarks, you need to bookmark it as well, taking all of the same care and steps that you followed in step 4.
8) If the user has public contact information as part of their user profile (both Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon have this functionality), contact them. No personal contact or phone calls are required here! Send them a short note saying that you've Friended them and you like their bookmarks. Ask them if you can send them information about websites that you think they might be interested in viewing. Offer to review and bookmark anything they send to you. You must be sincere and honestly commit to doing this or else it won't work.
9) Respect the wishes of your fellow bookmarker when they respond back to you. If they accept your offer, you're in business and your network is now starting to expand. If they don't accept, just move on to the next person and don't bother this person again. If they contact you in the future when you're famous and powerful, you can decide whether to accept their offer or not!
10) Keep repeating steps 3 - 9 at a rate that you are comfortable maintaining. Don't kid yourself - this can involve a lot of time and effort because you're going to have to maintain existing contacts while building new ones.
Now, here's the not-so-secret 11th step that really provides power.
Are you ready?
Here it is:
11) Be prepared for the magnifying effect of social bookmarking. People will eventually start approaching you as you establish yourself as a connoiseur and maven of good content.
I haven't followed all of these rules with great diligence, but in my five months of putting some effort into StumbleUpon, I'm starting to find that people are starting to add me to their Friends list. Right now it probably averages one new person a day. I expect this to grow over time.
I'll report on my progress on a regular basis. However, I'm convinced that following these ten steps is virtually foolproof.
You should give it a try. Tell me and the rest of the readers of The Mighty Introvert about your successes, failure, or questions. Feel free to send a copy of this post, and its source (http://www.themightyintrovert.blogspot.com), to anyone who you think could take advantage of this method.
If you want to test this method out on me, you'll find my user profile at the following locations:
markdykeman at Del.icio.us
markdykeman at StumbleUpon
Good luck and best wishes!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The good news is that it's getting easier to tell the world what you are doing. And... you don't need to spend lots of time in crowded rooms of people, either.
This post provides an example of this new technology. I've just signed up for a service called TwitterFeed which will sent a link to my blog posts to Twitter. Twitter is a microblogging system that's very good for sending quick messages (max 140 characters).
If you'd like to learn more about Twitter, Caroline Middlebrook has written a great guide that you should check out. Twitter is a relatively painless way for introverts to tell the world what they are doing.
Every Dot Connects mentioned a previous TMI post, inspired by this post at Every Dot Connects, which helped me find some focus here in trying to link introverts and social media more closely together.
David at Virginia Breeze wrote a wonderful little review of this TMI post. It's articles like this that help keep me going!
I'm referring back to some of my older posts in this post. A few months ago, I would have found that distasteful. As an introvert, I really don't like to repeat myself. Now I think it's necessary. Later this week, I'll share my thoughts on why I changed my opinion on repetition.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
One of the most commonly used tests to determine your personality type is called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The test checks for four different personality preferences or dichotomies, where you can be scored at anywhere between the two extremes of the dichotomy:(I)ntroversion or (E)xtroversion
(S)ensing or i(N)tuition
(T)hinking or (F)eeling
(P)erceiving or (J)udging
This is the Wikipedia entry about MBTI.
You'll find the following links to external sources about MBTI in this part of the Wikipedia entry.
Much of the underlying theory behind personality types came from the work of Carl Jung and his book Psychological Types.
I've taken the MBTI test twice: once in 1989 and again in 2000. I don't have a copy of the 1989 score, but I was classified as an introvert at that time. I was classified as type ISTJ in 2000.
Anyone else out there want to share their MBTI classications?
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Why do we assume that you have to be a boisterous go-getter to succeed in marketing and the media business? Simple: these are the people who get most of the contacts, the deals and the glory. Extroverts, often thought of as “people people” with the “gift of gab”, seem to have an exclusive lock on this craft. Don’t rule out the introvert, though, because social media websites are leveling the playing field.
What is an introvert?
Here’s what the Merriam Webster Dictionary has to say about introversion:
the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life
We introverts tend to enjoy having solitary time for thought and reflection. We are not as dependent on other people as extroverts are. Introverts are often quite happy to spend time alone.
Putting an extrovert in an empty room, on the other hand, is a cruel thing to do. The extrovert thrives within a crowd, which is why they can be very successful marketers, sales people, and public relations professions. These three career paths often depend on successful interpersonal relations, where personal contact and soft-skills are key success factors.
An introvert can function well in the presence of other people, but, quite frankly, after awhile we feel drained and frail like Superman does after being exposed to Kryptonite, his great weakness. Personal interaction can be exhausting to an introvert; we need quiet time by ourselves to recuperate. This tendency to minimize social contact can make us seem cold, aloof, shy, or even arrogant.
Introverts - unlikely social agents?
On the surface, introverts can find social situations very challenging. In fact, many of us would rather hide in an underground bunker than deal with other people: consequently, introversion can be a career-limiting personality orientation when you have to work frequently with extroverts.
Times are changing, however. The growth of the Internet and new Web technologies are making social interaction possible from a distance. This “breathing space” can help us avoid much of the emotional stress and strain that can result from spending too much time with other people.
The mighty introvert
Assuming that Web technologies will allow introverts to compete on a roughly even footing with extroverts, let’s look at the strengths that introverts can bring to a role:
- Strong analytical skills (numeric, written, logical, symbolic, pattern recognition)
- Imaginative and creative (one name: Albert Einstein)
- Self-awareness (we are often horribly conscious of our own faults, but we are good at spotting flaws in other people)
- Strength of conviction: we won’t succumb easily to peer-pressure – we can be kind and encouraging, but we tend to stand our ground when we don’t agree with something or else, at a minimum, we remain silent when the rest of the crowd says “ditto”
To summarize, many introverts are superb analyzers and critics. We also tend to care less about public opinion and therefore we are more likely to be honest and candid about situations that we observe, particularly when face-to-face contact is minimized.
Web 2.0 and Social Media – the new enablers
New methods to communicate effectively at long distance are being churned out on an ongoing basis. Technology has evolved past E-Mail and message boards to include:
- instant messaging (Microsoft Live, GTalk, AIM, IRC)
- social networking sites (e.g. Facebook and MySpace)
- social bookmarking sites (del.icio.us, StumbleUpon)
- social news sites (Digg, Reddit, Mixx, etc.)
Blogs and forums allow groups of people to read about and debate ideas. All kinds of new and different social communities are spawning across the World Wide Web because new technologies make it easier to collaborate. Cell phones and digital pagers provide increasingly important mobility and flexibility to those of us who travel a lot.
Technology has evolved to the point that meaningful, real-time communication can occur anywhere, anytime over the Web. The importance of face-to-face communication as a medium for real-time information exchange is now reserved for the most intimate, confidential conversations. The introvert can quickly and easily communicate with almost anyone in a safe, comfortable environment. Suddenly things that seemed impossible can now happen when we become active participants on social media websites.
The virtual “you” – as real as necessary
New media can add a touch of humanity and personalization to electronic interaction through user profiles, avatars, and homepages. Careful and consistent use of these tools can us establish ourselves as a dependable and talented contact in the virtual world. A distinctive, yet tasteful avatar is as powerful a branding tool as a world class logo. User profiles can provide important information to curious visitors. Yes, people do look at user profile pages!
Let your words do the talking
Most of all, your words are your strongest asset. If verbal communication stymies you, you have the time and ability to choose your words, shape your message, and tell your stories with deft writing. Social media and blogs provide many ways to build solid contacts, and a credible reputation, through your words. Speak plainly, thoughtfully, and smartly through your writing. Over time, people will start to notice you and judge you not by your interpersonal skills, but on the quality of your ideas.
You can introduce yourself into multiple on-line social circles with ease using Web 2.0 apps. Start with one site, preferably a niche site that matches your existing knowledge. Learn the rules of conduct inside and out. Study successful contributors and research the medium. Carefully, but with spark and enthusiasm, contribute good analysis and new ideas to these networks. Do not overload or “spam” these networks, but steadily contribute. Read the contributions of other users, publicly acknowledge them, and build upon them. You will start to make online contacts who will respect you, encourage you, and promote you if you do the same for them. With patience and hard work, you will insert yourself into this network and become a vital part. Once you master one network, you can work on others. Best of all, you can contribute remotely without the draining need for personal contact.
The introvert’s new playing field
Web 2.0 is turning out to be a blessing for the introvert. This new frontier is not perfect. Buffoons and louts are present on-line and in person, but they can be shut down by software or by ignoring them. The Web allows you to strip out less efficient layers of socialization and communication so you can operate on a more cerebral level.
By skillful use of skills, knowledge, and on-line communication tools, you can handle most of the things that an extroverted marketer can do in person. It’s a liberating paradigm shift for the inwardly focused person and it’s about time. Introverts, our time has come and we can master the new media to our best advantage – without having to “press the flesh”.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
You can read the full article at the link above (just click on the article title).
Here's an excerpt:
If you are looking for a symbol of strength and power, just think of Superman, survivor of the destruction of the planet Krypton. In the old days, he was outracing bullets, stopping trains, and jumping over skyscrapers. The more powerful versions of Superman can outrace both light and time; bench-press the planet Earth; and withstand a nuclear explosion without a scratch. His mighty abilities come from two sources: Earth's yellow sun and its lighter gravity (Krypton's gravity was apparently so powerful that human beings would never be able to get out of bed in the morning; it would be like having a mountain on your chest).
In spite of his mighty powers, there are two things that can turn the man of steel into a man of paper towel. The first weakness is Kryptonite, radioactive remnants of his home planet. It can weaken or kill him after prolonged exposure. His second weakness is magic. He might be able to stop bullets, but your standard magic fireball or lightning bolt would probably turn him into charcoal. Or you could transform him into a newt - that would fix him.
If you really want to get an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of both Superman and the stereotypical introvert, let's compare them.
Do you agree with this analogy? What do you think? Please share your thoughts.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Here’s what the Merriam Webster Dictionary has to say about introversion:
the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life
Here's a few points to consider:
(a) Introverts think. We think a lot. We like to think. Sometimes we like thinking more than talking or socializing. Sometimes we like to think to much.
(b) Introverts can be entertained by their own thoughts. You might think of this as "intertainment".
(c) Introverts are not dependent on having other people around to keep themselves amused.
Now let's add a couple of other characteristics related to the definition of introversion:
(d) Introverts find interaction with other people to be tiring or draining after a period of time. Extroverts generally feel happy and energized around other people and they "wilt" without interaction with other people.
(e) Introverts usually need time to "recharge" their internal batteries after being around other people. Time alone watching TV, reading a book, listening to music, or otherwise contemplating things in solitude will refresh the introvert.
Finally, let's address a few misconceptions about introverts:
(f) Introverts do like other people, usually in moderation.
(g) Introverts do have feelings. In many cases they have very powerful feelings, but they may tend to process them in solitude.
(h) Introversion is not the same thing as shyness. Shy people are afraid of interacting with other people, probably due to a lack of self-confidence and comfort, but at the same time they crave love and affection. Introverts aren't afraid of interacting with other people and they aren't afraid to speak their mind when needed. As a general tendency, however, introverts tend to prefer small groups.
(i) Introverts are not all alike. Extroverts are not all alike. It's possible to have a mix of introverted and extroverted personality traits. It's possible to have a slight tendency towards one or the other. It's also possible to be strongly oriented toward introversion or extroversion.
Hopefully this article will give you a better idea of the characteristics of the introvert.
My challenge is to show you how introverted people can function effectively in society, the business world, and in roles that you would normally associate with an extrovert.
Time to go sharpen my pencil and start thinking. I'll need some time alone now...