Tales of a Social Extrovert – Pros and Cons

For 10-12 hours a day (sometimes more), social media strategists spend our time going meeting to meeting. Then, we work. Then, we rush to another meeting whether it’s for a networking function, a professional organization, or an organization we volunteer for. Then, we get home and we frantically check out Twitter accounts, news alerts and email. I don’t want to count the hours I spent “working,” but I can tell you that the time I don’t spend at the office, in a meeting, at an event or sleeping is getting pretty sparse.

A few weeks ago, my colleague did a post on “Confessions of a Social Media Introvert,” and he challenged me to do one on being a social media extrovert and what I get out of it. The truth? I’m an introvert who likes extrovert activities. I like being social. I like volunteering. I like challenging myself and I like being part of a team. But mostly, I like feeling like I’m contributing to something bigger than myself. Sometimes work gives me that. Sometimes it doesn’t.

There’s probably a lot of you like me out there (I hope). The folks who raise their hands for everything and have an addiction to the word, “yes.” Maybe we should start a support group? Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a closeted introvert, wannabe extrovert, yes-aholic. The thing is – there are pros and cons to being us. So I compiled a list of the pros/cons. Check them out!

Cons:

  • Burn Out: This is the biggest fear for companies, right? Run us until we’re on empty. Well, what happens when we run ourselves on empty? Who is at fault? For me – it doesn’t matter. We have to make the choice to make a change. For some people, that means finding time for yourself like working out, drawing, or taking a class. I still need to find that thing. Any ideas?
  • Over Commit, Underachieve: Stretching ourselves too thin is a common mistake. My calendar has been triple booked, but for some reason I still think that I can make it to three different events in different parts of the city in one night. What happens? You’re thinking about the next thing and never focused on that person, that conversation or the task at hand. Sometimes, it’s bad to be 3 steps ahead.
  • It Costs More: From a financial perspective and also from a personal, relationship perspective. After the memberships, event admission tickets, $4/gallon gas, and drinks/food – your wallet can hurt. I’ve had to consult my handy dandy annual budget to see if I can take on another volunteering activity. Also, I spend less and less time with my partner, hanging out with my brother and parents, talking to my cousins and spoiling my godson. And all of a sudden, this self-less thing starts to feel really selfish.
Pros: After reading these three negatives, there have to be positives, right? You will have your reasons, but here are my top three.
  • People-First: I’ve met incredible people and expanded my network for the activities I’ve taken part in. I’m smarter and more inspired for having met them. When I’m having a rough day and I’m anxious about the time it takes me to get back to the office after a luncheon program, I walk into an IABC event and everything changes. I remember the reason why I came in the first place. Social media is about learning and sharing and that’s the beauty of being a social media extrovert – online and IRL. You learn, you grow and you share. Knowledge is addictive.
  • Practice Makes Perfect:  One of my mentors always stressed the importance of volunteering on boards because the skills learn help you advance in your career. Serving on committees and boards gives you the leadership skills you need in the office – from presenting to pitching, to coaching and leading, to following direction. You can practice your management skills without the risk of a formal performance evaluation. Also, you learn the importance of a team and the dynamics that makes for a successful one. Plus, I can plan an event like a mad wo
  • New Doors: Being a social media extrovert builds your brand. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for my volunteering roles, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Your volunteering roles can give a company a glimpse of who you are as a person, what you value and where your priorities lie. It gives you an interesting story to tell on your resume, but it also gives you experience you may not get in  your day-to-day job. For example, I had done some social media work in my previous role, but it was my board position that opened my eyes to social media and then opened doors to my current position. man. Also, for some companies, these are new business opportunities (and although it sounds a little sneaky, it was pretty smart).

What do you think about the pros/cons to being a social media extrovert? Did I miss anything?

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Posted on April 27, 2011, in Leadership/Management, Marketing, Personal, Professional, social media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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