I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile and something happened today that reminded me that I wanted to write this so here we go. MarketingProfs published an article about our behavior on the social web and questioned if we act badly. It was interesting to me that a majority of the survey participants shared that social media actually improves their self-esteem and makes a person feel better about themselves. Their bonds are stronger with other because of social media.

Over on Ken Mueller’s blog Inkling Media, he wrote about Social Media and our Shared Experiences. He too was sharing the fact the social media has enabled us to become closer and to share experiences that we otherwise would not have shared. I couldn’t help but think about the night of the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony which I spent alone (or rather, with Tini) on my couch with phone in hand and Tweetdeck open. Hours flew by in which I watched the ceremony and shared my experience with others. I didn’t even consider the fact that I was technically alone until I made the comment today on Ken’s blog. And then he replied ‘It makes me sad that you were alone, but glad we could all share those experiences! You need to make some friends!’ Haha Ken. But then I got sad (I’m not mad at you Ken – I promise). Did social media make me happier? Am I not as ‘alone’ when I have Tweetdeck ready and armed?

Does social media make you feel good about yourself?

Let’s consider this for a moment. Introverts have thrived as a result of the world wide web. The internet has provided an outlet to make funny remarks, reach out to people, engage, strike up a conversation with a stranger, publish your thoughts and any other number of things. We request connections from people we don’t know just because we like how they described themselves in their profile. We follow and re-tweet people because they said something smart. And you know what? Other people respond. They want to connect with us, and tweet us back and comment on our thoughts. They want to meet us in real life and hug us and tell us we are awesome.

Of course it makes us feel good! Why wouldn’t it?

While a majority of people that have met me will argue I am not an introvert, I have a very hard time at events in which I know nobody. You want to meet me for dinner? I am a bubbly, non-stop talking, very loud person. But I don’t know you and I’m stag at an event? I’m drinking wine and hanging by the food table hoping someone will talk to me first. Just being honest here. That does not make me feel good. That makes me feel bad.

But online, because of social media, I don’t have this fear. I reach out without hesitation. I tell someone I think they are great and sometimes they say it back. I share my thoughts on topics and ideas and give my opinion freely. I want to be here and participate and it’s less nerve-racking for me. You don’t get to see how nervous I am. You don’t get to hear the shake in my voice. You don’t get to see my hand shake so hard my wine nearly tips over. And thankfully, you don’t know how much I am sweating when I hit that send button.

I’ll leave you with this. My self-esteem has not improved because of social media but it does make me feel good but I think it has a lot to do with what Ken says and that’s really about the connections and shared experiences. Sharing a laugh with a friend or a good conversation – even in 140 characters – is never going to be a bad thing.