Introverts are the New Extroverts

Most marketers covet the 20% influencers of any 80% inclusive hive. The belief is that they shape opinions of those who follow because they are outspoken "informed extroverts". If you understand the basics of human nature, you’ll also probably agree that it is true. We can all relate to the extroverted "cool" kids setting the trends in high school, so why shouldn’t it be true in real life?

Perhaps, but let’s think about those who truly influence the world today. Whose recommendation got you to buy that book? Whose review influenced you to see that movie? Whose outfit influenced your new wardrobe? Whose ideas are still spinning in your mind?

Chances are, these influencers are not the chest thumping glory seekers we’re used to looking up to, but people just like you and me who write reviews for Amazon, rate content on P2P networks, post life catching pics on their homepage and voice their insights in the blogosphere. They are often the introverted and introspective people who now have a voice and a forum for exchanging the passions that only flickered inside before. They are you and I and a whole bunch of others who express themselves through personalizeable media and their opinions are slowly but surely leading the pack.

As the connected world becomes interactive rather than unidirectional (from producer or broadcaster to the masses) in the way it communicates to the marketplace, the introverts are having it hands down. In fact, the trend is no new phenomena…the often overlooked and passed over have historically always sought ways to have their voices heard.

From monarchies to democracies, communication advances have always shifted the power from the bottom up, and the recent trends that influence the world are no different. We’ve seen the transition of influence from the jocks to the nerds who rule the world. Examples like the Dalai Lama and Bill Gates, make it abundantly clear that we give up our world to people who introspectively identify our innate desires over those who just act like they do.

It’s also interesting to me that when otherwise shy individuals are given a medium to be heard, they start to resemble the persona befitting their voice. From the mechanic who comments on geopolitics, to the maid who voices her expertise on psychology; people with access to the information and opportunities start becoming that which they can put out there and get feedback on. The mechanic who never had the confidence to talk geopolitics can now become more confident about it, because a noted social scientist and economist have reacted positively to his opinions on his social networking web forum.

That’s just the beginning of the changes the connection economy has in store for us. The people who influence our opinion now are nothing like those who influenced them before. They are informed about things we care about, their authority is real relevance over inflated pedigrees, and they are more real to us over institutional ratings. They become so because they can now speak more personally to us while being introverted and introspective than any extroverted orator ever could.

The introverts are the new extroverts.
Got any ideas of how to reach them? I might have a few, being one myself…

2 Responses to “Introverts are the New Extroverts”

  1. # Anonymous Annie

    so what is your opinion on traditional trendspotting services that employ coolhunters and the like? What is their relevance (or diminished relevance) in all of this?  

  2. # Blogger Ray Podder

    At the onset of any observation, one tends to think that the new insight is the only valid point of view. In retrospect, I now think both introverts and extroverts have their roles in proliferating information, however, how they do it is different and has differnt effects.

    I still hold my original point to be true in that, if you are an introvert, you don't have the social outlets in your daily life, so your desire to spread ideas across the Internet is more amplified. Extroverts spread their "in the know" as well, but they are satisfying their need for acknowledgement much earlier and thus they tend to be less prolific.

    In a connected world both points of view are true, it depends on context. Thanks for your comment.  

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