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Maureen Kelly
writer/MBTI® practitioner, yoga & meditation teacher
Blaine, Washington

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Personality & Social Media

Do you think your personality affects how and why you use social media? Here is a rundown of 'different strokes for different folks' in the arena of online networking.
Written Nov 16, 2009, read 1806 times since then.
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As a twenty-year long Myers-Briggs® consultant in the business as well as personal arena, I recently pondered the effect of our personality characteristics on the use of social media.

Here are the results of that reflection...

EXTRAVERTS: Because Extraverts enjoy sharing ideas and experiences with others (and depending on the strength of that preference, possibly ANYTHING with ANYONE within earshot), they probably also enjoy the social aspect of connecting with others through social media. What may be lacking is the face-to-face contact that provides them with more intimate feedback on whatever it is that they have shared. Many probably also enjoy watching the number of friends, followers, and associates grow as they meet new people from various locations. So all in all, a definite plus in the life of the Extravert. The danger zone may be that they spend way too much time conversing with friends, colleagues, and whoever else is out there at the time and work becomes an ever lower priority. Maybe not on purpose, "But, oh boy.... how did it get to be 2pm and I haven't gotten a darn thing done?!"

INTROVERTS: It may take the Introverted type more time to become comfortable with building a profile that says anything more than a name (possibly even just a first initial and last name...) as they are not as apt to reveal personal things about themselves. Perhaps prodded by friends and family members, they may sign up for a Facebook account. More likely to join media that is business oriented for networking purposes, they will still most often share only that which is necessary. You probably wont find them telling you what they had for dinner last night or whining about the fact that their car broke down. On the other hand, one thing that may indeed appeal to them is the 'faceless' nature of the correspondence along with the fact that one need not immediately reply. This gives the Introvert time to go within and consider all sides of an issue prior to responding. Now once they make a connection with someone with whom they feel a special bond, the amount of information could indeed flourish. This could actually be a good thing as far as communication is concerned, as many relationships between two introverts have been known to explode unexpectedly as each party held their feelings inside themselves until they could no longer contain them.

SENSORS: The 'what you see is what you get' nature of social media is probably very appealing to most sensors. Whether they are writing, sending a photo or a video or joining a group, it's all right there in two-dimensional format. As Sensors are most concerned with the present and short-term future, they are also probably quite enamored with Twitter because it's short, simple and 'in the moment'. For the Sensor, there is typically no drastic need to explore beyond the 'what is.'

INTUITIVES: The global aspect of social media is what might intrigue the Intuitive, the ability to connect with diverse groups of people from every imaginable walk of life. As the Intuitive sees reality in big picture terms and lives in the world of possibility, the whole nature of a world wide network to delve into is quite exciting. Now Twitter may not be the media of choice, again due to it's choppy, minute-by-minute delivery. Intuitives will be more drawn into conversations that cover more than what one can say in 140 characters. Another area that will intrigue the Intuitive is the unlimited number of groups one can join that could lead to unlimited amounts of information. The turn-off here could lie in the actuality that most Intuitives abhor detail........

THINKERS: Thinkers, like Introverts, may not be as attracted to Facebook type media where the more touchy-feely conversations and interactions are going on. I mean, where's the logic here? Again, if invited or coerced by family and friends, they may sign up and occasionally let the world know that they played golf that morning. Business apps such as LinkedIn and Biznik will be more engaging for this preference type as they look to network and expand their professional arenas.

FEELERS: Feelers will be very drawn to the connection aspect of social media, where they can maintain close ties to friends and family. Depending on whether they are Extraverted or introverted, that information exchange may be short and to the point or rambling... Discovering friends they haven't corresponded with in eons can be of particular delight to the Feeler. Professionally, joining groups of like-minded individuals will also give them a sense of belonging, which is paramount in the life of a Feeler. Also, the need to help (or save) whomever they can has now increased exponentially... Here comes Joan of Arc.

JUDGERS: One of the most important elements in the world of the Judger is structure. As most social media platforms are based on quite well-defined rules, this will appeal to them. Should conversations get out of hand, though, or lines be crossed, it will almost certainly be a Judger who will throw the red flag. Closure is also of great importance in their life. The potential for networking through on-and off-line business meetings and ventures will keep the Judger smiling. (Just stick to the agenda.)

PERCEIVERS: Key components in the galaxy of the Perceiver are flexibility and openness. "Well, that looks like a fun group. I may sign up tomorrow or the next day. (Or not.)" "Oh, look. My neighbor wrote to tell me about their boating trip. Maybe I should think about getting a boat..." And because there is nothing prodding them to actually follow through with any of these fleeting ideas, they will see social media as yet another area to expand their daydreams, which if ever implemented, could actually lead to some wonderful opportunities. If you are dealing with an Extraverted Perceiver, that time thing I mentioned earlier on can become a REAL issue. (Better keep a Judger with a stopwatch somewhere in the vicinity.)

All in all, every type will find benefits to the ever-growing world of social media. From a business perspective, my suggestion is to make the most of your own innate strengths, and then learn from the areas that the other types are finding beneficial.

Diversity in any situation is a catalyst for growth. And communication - whether face-to-face or through your computer screen or iPhone, is the key to continued personal development and successful networking.

Learn more about the author, Maureen Kelly.

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