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This article was published on July 20, 2010

    Is social media unfair on shy people?

    Is social media unfair on shy people?
    Martin Bryant
    Story by

    Martin Bryant

    Founder

    Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

    Shyness isn’t something that comes up much in talk about social media but it could be more important than you might think.

    Some people are naturally shy about revealing much about themselves and with services like Facebook becoming increasingly important parts of everyday life, they may be at a disadvantage.

    A group of academics at the University of Sussex, UK are planning to investigate this problem in a new study. Dr Dan Chalmers, leader of the project says in a press release to launch it: “Most people feel shy in some situations and lack of control over how we present ourselves, when we choose to engage and what we choose to reveal, contribute to this”.

    Dr Susie Scott expands on this, explaining that the study will investigate “Whether it is ethical and appropriate for new technologies to be forcing people to interact and perform more, and whether these new devices are a good thing.” The study will examine how new technologies create social anxiety in many people.

    The researchers believe that shyness shouldn’t be seen as a ‘problem’ and the study will look at ways shyness could be overcome by using new technology. The research will use computers to identify situations that evoke shyness for particular users. Researchers hope to build tools that can help people either avoid such situations, or help them cope better.

    As a rampant self-exhibitionist, shyness has never been much of a problem for me but it’s easy to see how many people may feel excluded from engaging with the online social world because of shyness. It will be interesting to see what conclusions to the study comes to.