Is Facebook Just for Extroverts?

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Stephen Marche's Atlantic cover story about whether Facebook makes people lonely includes this sentence: "It's a lonely business, wandering the labyrinths of our friends' and pseudo-friends' projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear."

Is it a bad sign that this rings true to me? I don't mean that spending five minutes on Facebook leaves me despondent and alienated. But with both Facebook and Twitter, there's something weird about the experience that keeps me from diving in wholeheartedly.

Obviously, lots of people don't have this problem. I've always assumed that's because they're more extroverted than I am. But this theory has run into resistance from someone who should know--Susan Cain, author of the bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Here Cain, a self-described introvert, argues that things like Facebook and Twitter are in some ways friendlier territory for introverts than the actual physical world:


But if Cain doesn't think Facebook and Twitter are anti-introvert, she does think college admissions policies work against introverts, and she thinks this is bad for the world:

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Robert Wright is the author of, most recently, the New York Times bestseller The Evolution of God and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic. More

Wright is also a fellow at the New America Foundation and editor in chief of Bloggingheads.tv. His other books include Nonzero, which was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book in 2000 and included on Fortune magazine's list of the top 75 business books of all-time. Wright's best-selling book The Moral Animal was selected as one of the ten best books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review.Wright has contributed to The Atlantic for more than 20 years. He has also contributed to a number of the country's other leading magazines and newspapers, including: The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Time, and Slate, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. He is the recipient of a National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism and his books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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