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iSights – “An Introvert in an Overly Social (Media) World” by Janine Graf

“Florida Spring Break: Introvert Style” ©Janine Graf

She needed time alone.  Being the quintessential introvert, all the socializing quickly caught up to her. And besides, the giraffes were starting to get on her nerves, especially after the embarrassing photos they posted to Facebook without running them by her first.  If she had thumbs she would have changed her tagging permissions before leaving town, but she also assumed that what happens in Florida stays in Florida.  Certainly that’s an unwritten law?  Sure, the giraffes may be extroverts, but they’re also assholes.

I know how she feels, being an introvert myself . . . well, I know how she feels about needing alone time; the giraffes and I are still good, for now.  So before I go further, I want to give some clarification; being an introvert is not the same as being shy, or having Social Anxiety Disorder. I felt the need to clarify because recently while searching for information about introverts and social media, more times than not the authors were labeling themselves as introverts, but clearly what they were describing was debilitating shyness or Social Anxiety Disorder.  No, no, no, shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder are two different animals entirely.  Being an introvert simply means our energy source comes from being alone, as opposed to extroverts who garner energy from being around other people, sometimes the more people the better.  For introverts like me, I have a great time hanging out with a group of friends; I can be outgoing and goofy and plugged in.  I’m a terrific listener, which takes a lot of work on my part because my brain is kind of like a conga line formed by squirrels.  After several hours of socializing my energy takes a plunge and the need to disengage for some alone time becomes crucial to my mental well-being . . . nothing neurotic about that.

It’s not you, it’s me.

So in my research about introverts and social media, once I found articles written by actual introverts, I was surprised to learn that it doesn’t drain their energy reserves.  I suppose that does make sense; one can set the pace for how engaged or not engaged they’d like to be and for how long.  Not me.  Participating in social media (Facebook, specifically) is as draining to me as volunteering for a first grade class party, which happens to be sponsored by Mountain Dew.

Honestly, it’s not you, it’s me.  Ok, sure, the posts from the militant vegans don’t help, but really it’s just me.

Now, I understand that many of you have numerous social media accounts, so many you could fill both hands.  I can count mine with two fingers; that’s all my brain can handle.  So here’s the downside, this is when I struggle with being a social media introvert; due to not being consistently plugged in and actively networking, and across multiple platforms, I can’t help but wonder what opportunities have passed me by in regards to photography?  My guess is plenty; I’ve missed plenty (cue violin music). I admire fellow photographers who embrace social media, those who have the whole networking thing down to a fine science.   You know what I have down to a fine science; exactly how much tequila to put in a margarita without needing a shot glass for measuring . . . and it’s perfect every  single  time [pats self on back].

Well, my friends, I need some alone time now as thinking about situations that drain me has drained me. Remember, it’s not you, it’s me.  If anyone needs me, I’m NOT hiding out in the bathtub upstairs . . . oh, if someone could please pour my ratio perfect margarita, which was accidently left on the kitchen counter, into a Ziplock baggie and slide it under the bathroom door, I’d really appreciate it.


I’m not here©Janine Graf

Janine’s mobile photography has been exhibited in art galleries across the United States and in Europe, has been featured on various websites and in publication. She is currently a proud member of the traveling iPad photography exhibit called “Light Impressions” along with 40 very talented mobile photographers. In publishing news, Janine was honored and delighted to have participated in an upcoming book about creating surreal digital photography. This book is set to be released in the spring of 2013 by Ilex Press. Janine is a mobile photographer who enjoys belly dancing, bacon cheeseburgers, cappuccinos, the smell of old books, slapstick comedy, the color orange and movies about gladiators. Since discovering mobile photography in the early fall of 2010, Janine has set aside her professional DSLR and desktop editing programs in favor of the iPhone and its myriad of wonderful editing apps. In regards to subject matter, she tends to gravitate towards subjects that allow for a whimsy feeling or vibe; she likes to have fun!


  • Jo Sullivan

    Excellent and funny article that is spot on regarding the inner life of introverts (like me!). It takes me days to recover from social engagement and Janine has described the experience very well. Now, I’ll take my perfectly shaken dirty martini and shut the door behind me.

    • Janine Graf

      Thank you so much my INFJ sister! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I hope you enjoyed your martini and alone time. 😀 oxo

    • Janine Graf

      As you know I’m a huge fan of yours, Brendan, in both your photography and your writing, so thank you! 😀 oxo

  • Patricia Walker

    Oh, Janine, this is a wonderful article. What great distinctions you make here for us all to be aware of. And so grateful to have discovered your work years ago on one of those 2 social networks you delve into. I’ve always adored your animals of whimsy in your iPhoneography. Your work always inspires. And so do you!