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The Internet’s Making Us Shy?

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I’m not really willing yet to use the phrase "worldwide epidemic," it’s only a few percentage points, and well, I haven’t seen the methodology. But that is the phrase the Daily Telegraph used, so, if you’re worried about pandemics of technology-induced shyness, be prepared to hold your face and run away screaming.

The Internet's Making Us Shy?
The Internet’s Making Us Shy?

But they did talk to ah, um…hang on, I have to look at it again…a psychologist, Harvard Business School researcher, and etiquette columnist. What, no chemist/librarian/TV chef to talk to?

Just joshing, I’m sure Ms. Robin Abrahams is more qualified than I am, and is much, much more familiar with the topic. She says the increasingly internal and textual world thrust upon society by the Internet and associated technologies is making people shyer, as the percentage of people that report being shy increased from 40 percent to about half.

From the Daily Telegraph‘s report:

"People shop online, they listen to their iPods rather than the radio  — and they e-mail or text each other rather than talk.

"What we have is an increasingly complex social environment, combined with less practice at dealing with it because of technology.”

And that’s causing everybody to be put on meds, rah rah Prozac.

TechDirt CEO Mike Masnick, ever the cynic, says, "It would be nice to see this backed up with a little more than just the fact that more people self-report being shy — though, it’s certainly possible that these gadgets do put up a shield that prevents people from getting over shyness."

Or maybe it’s just overcompensation, a silent apology, for all the times they’ve been jerks in comment sections. Oh no, is that Sunshine1289? Shoot, shoot, shoot! You think she knows I’m the dude that said she looked like a horse kicked her?

The Internet’s Making Us Shy?
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