Technology helps the introverts


Illustration by Eric Rannestad

Rina Cakrani, Columnist

Illustration by Eric Rannestad

We usually hear the old generation (or our parents) complain about how young people are always on their phones–that they live in a virtual world. Even in school when we were kids, we were frequently told that technology has made our lives easier, but at the same time has decreased our communicative and social abilities. We have lost our skills at creating relationships with different people and participating actively in the social scene of the community or school we are a part of. However, although the excessive use of technology has some drawbacks, I don’t believe that it should be villainized, because it can prove to be useful and beneficial in ways that many of us don’t usually think about.

The truth is that for some of us, the ability to initiate a conversation with a stranger or the willingness to go to every school party and be part of the ‘cool kids’ group has never been part of our personalities. Technology, then, has not been a negative factor of our lives, but has affected us positively. There are simple instances, such as using your phone in a social gathering in which you feel very uncomfortable and uneasy at the idea of socializing with strangers. People are often quick to judge and think it is offensive to use your phone and not focus on engaging with the environment around you, but they don’t actually think why that person is acting that way.

Introverts might use technology as a form of expression, as a platform in which they can have the freedom to show another side of them that people wouldn’t have the chance to see otherwise. Apps like Instagram or Snapchat can make introverts more confident in posting pictures, and give the encouragement to post even more when they receive pleasing comments by others. Such everyday experiences make one feel better about themselves and perhaps even enhance the motivation to talk more to people around them.

But technology is not just useful to introverts in terms of social relations. Someone might use it to share their creative work or thoughts they wouldn’t share with people they know. There is an advantage in being an unknown person on the Internet; one feels more comfortable in sharing things with people they don’t know in the real world. Also, introverts don’t feel pressured to immediately articulate themselves in a well-spoken manner like in a sudden formal face-to-face encounter with somebody new. A phone gives them the chance to think well beforehand and construct their thoughts the best way possible. They don’t feel the pressure to constantly talk either; they could just enjoy reading or hearing other people’s opinions.

This kind of freedom is something they might not have access to, especially in a college classroom setting where there is an implicit demand for verbal participation as part of the participation grade. Unfortunately, the education system and contemporary society as a whole values extroversion and the ability to talk loudly, while the introverted are always  criticized and told to change their communication habits. Social media gives introverts a voice and helps them connect with people that match their personalities and interests.

Therefore, it is wrong to always demonize the social effects of technology. It can provide emotional support to an introverted person who truly cannot find comfort in the world around them, or help them spend time with themselves and not be forced to interact with people they don’t like.