Shyness Online

I recently read a post on Andy Wibbels’ blog about shyness, and I find myself often returning to it to the extent that I had to process it in writing. Taken originally from Zen Habits, they are:

    1. Introduce Yourself
    2. Don’t Feel the Need to Qualify Yourself
    3. Ask More, Talk Less
    4. Be Generous
    5. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover
    6. Remember a Detail
    7. Compliment Others
    8. Think of Others

Are these factors applicable both online as well as off? Tara on Andy’s site claims they are applicable online, while Zen Habit is somewhat silent about shyness online. While I think shy behavior is shy behavior, I think the medium affects how it is manifest.

Take for example #2 above. When there is a F2F conversation, I find the need to qualify myself and “be as good or better” than others (for the sake of confidence) to be very different than if I am communicating in an online class or discussion board. I feel an awkwardness with people F2F I do not know well when there is silence, but when this occurs online I find it easier to move on (to another website, discussion, research, entertainment, etc.) while not getting so intimidated. Perhaps silence online is expected? Safe? Disengaging?

I wonder if there are not many of the same underlying causes with different ways of expressing them based on the situation? Hmm, I smell a research project here, perhaps one fitting media psychology?

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