Social Media and Introverts

If there’s one myth which I am perturbed by, it is the one that goes something like this.

Well, you know, getting technology in there is going to be great for those disengaged, behavioural boys…

There are so many things wrong with this stereotype of our metaphorical wild animals suddenly being tamed at the sight of a touchscreen, but I’m going to focus my attention on one in particular.

In my experience using social media and web 2.0 (SMW2.0) tools with students since basically their inception, I would say that if it favours or holds a bias towards any one identifiable student demographic at all, it would be our introverts.

Before writing this post, I had a glance back at what you might call my own data. In the past two years, I have introduced and guided nearly 200 adolescent students in the use of Google Apps for Education, Voicethread, Animoto, Bitstrips, Prezi, Today’s Meet, and other well known SMW2.0 tools. All of them have had the ability to not only complete assignments and projects mandated by myself as their teacher, but also to take initiative and create, post, respond at their leisure 24/7.

I went through my list of 184 and started by tagging each based on the results of a survey I had them complete from Susan Cain’s website:



Ambivert (difficult to identify as only one)

I then compared this information with another where I assessed their engagement with SMW2.0:

1 – Exhibiting little engagement, rarely posting even when teacher required them to do so.

2 – Exhibiting some engagement, usually when the teacher outlined a specific task to accomplish.

3 – Exhibiting significant engagement, posting frequently.

4 – Exhibiting a high level of engagement, posting most frequently, to the point where we learn about skills, ideas, and aspects of their personality that are rarely shown outwardly in class.

Here are the results of my mom ‘n’ pop research:

What do you think this says about social media and introverts?

Cross posted at Stephen Hurley‘s awesome blog Teaching Out Loud.

Also check out my conversation with Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts, as well as her take on Why Gadgets are Great for Introverts.



  1. I would describe myself as an introvert and social media has certainly been a refuge for me. I say things there that I would over-analyze if I were in a staff lounge. The same is true of my students. Some of my favorite articles written on our Social Voice blog are by introverts. Some of the best discussions from our class Twitter chats are led by introverts as well.

  2. I found it hard to interpret the pie chart so I normalised your (already rounded) figures. Of your Introverts and Ambiverts, 93% and 85% respectively are either very engaged or engaged with SMW2.0, c.f. only 24% of your Extroverts. The figures seem to show that, in terms of engagement, SMW does not favour your extroverts.
    int = 0,7,43,50
    ext = 32,44,16,8
    amb = 4,11,51,34

  3. Personally, I like the pie chart. It gives a good illustration of your point. I can say however, that these results do not surprise me. Mos introverts I know tend to open up more via social media.

  4. By the way, I am a current student at the University of South Alabama taking an Educational Media Class (EDM310). Just to give you a little “about me”! In my first comment the link is to our class blog. In this comment is a link to my individual blog.

  5. I do really like this breakdown in the pie chart. I did wonder what the colours related to, and I understand it’s based on your points 1-4. I wonder if perhaps you might include the colour breakdown as a key to the pie chart. Thanks!

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