Tuesday, January 26, 2010

To FB or Not to FB? That is the Question.

An INTJ perspective on Facebook & Social Media

I recently wrote an article for my company on Social Media about how it’s being used in business and it got me thinking about how I personally participated in Social Media and how that might be influenced by my Myers-Brigg (MBTI) type of Introversion, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging (INTJ).

When you think about it, Social Media really hasn’t been around that long, but it’s
caught on like a wildfire. Blogging became mainstream between 2002 and 2004 and there are already an estimated 133 million new blogs indexed since that time. LinkedIn was launched in 2003 and has 55 million members. Twitter was launched in 2006 and has about 44.5 million members, and Facebook had its “public” launch later in 2006 but tops the group at 350 million members.

I use each of those platforms through company profiles and saw quickly the business applications, but struggled a bit with why I would use them personally which I attribute to my INTJ personality.
This blog, for example, I started in April of 2007 but it collected digital dust for about two years before I started posting regularly (despite the fact that had been maintaining blogs at work for years). I’ve been on LinkedIn since March of 2008, but that really is more of a professional tool than social (to me).

The one that made the most sense to me was Twitter. I got on board with
Twitter (work and personal) in April 2009 and became quickly prolific. Interestingly, there have been at least two MBTI surveys of Twitter users and the first survey had INTJs topping the “most common Type using Twitter” list. After the follow up survey run 6 months later, INTJs have to share the top spot with INFPs. If you’re an INTJ, you probably already know why, but there’s a nice Type-based analysis of “who’s on Twitter and why” here: Which Personality Types Love Twitter?

The one I’ve been resisting is Facebook. Even though at work, we’re using all the business and professional networking applications, as an individual, what’s left is exclusively social. As an INTJ that’s a tough reconciliation. I think I’ve also resisted Facebook to avoid becoming the Sheldon-cliché. Rather than having 212 friends I’ve never met, shouldn’t I (especially as an MBTI practitioner) be exercising my non-preferences to develop authentic and personal connections with the friends I have? A small circle, admittedly, but good people that I enjoy and don’t give nearly the attention they deserve. Even if I only use Facebook to connect with that small circle in a more frequent way, isn’t that cheating? How easy it would be to default to a cyber relationship in lieu of real relationship.

My kids are on Facebook (even my mother is on Facebook) and I confess that I enjoy

looking over my son’s shoulder to see what everyone’s up too, but as a very-self-aware-INTJ I fear that if I were on Facebook myself, I would feel compelled to comment on every status update, annoying or alienating the limited circle I have.

So chime in – To FB or not to FB? And why?


tracey said...

i'm old school on a lot of stuff - i still use a paper to-do list (alongside google calendar of course) & i still think a hand written thank you is more genuine or appropriate than an email, & i don't have a fancy phone that does email or my hair. on the other hand, facebook is "handy" b/c SO many around me are accessible. it's the easiest way for parents to reach my kids for baby-sitting, and for me to re-connect with friends i'd disconnected from over the years. i originally got my own faceboook so i could monitor what goes on with my girls accounts and that has been invaluable. i've learned a lot about their friends.
it is however an easy trap to replace genuine interaction with FB, but for me, that's the risk of all social media.

Roberta Hill said...

Let's put it into context . . . I am an INTP. I am serious about LinkedIn for professional reasons. I love the information sharing on Twitter (but have been known to go on restricted when feeling overloaded) AND I only accept people on my FB that I really do know. I have lots of limits on who can see what and it is a way for me - who is all over the placed - to stay in contact with those I meet - even if a chance encounter.

I finally, in good NT fashion - create a landing page to explain at length my social network policy. Of course it is rather lengthy. http://www.RobertaHill.info

Enjoyed the post BYW. Thanks.

Unknown said...

I love the clip -aren't Introverts great?

I find Facebook has a much more personal feel to it. More information is shared and easy to find about a person on Facebook vs. Twitter.

As an INFJ I prefer Facebook for personal and Twitter for business. In my business dealings, I prefer a more quick, to the point exchange of information. In my personal dealings, My NF comes out more and I enjoy a more in depth "get to know you" approach.

ML Yost said...

Great advice and ideas all around. I had an experience recently where I was totally out of the loop on a family thing becuse it was assumed I saw it on Facebook (fail)... and keeping tabs on the kids and their friends is a sure plus.

Unlike my Twitter account which is open, if I did join Facebook, I think I would have to lock it down tight - do they make cyber deadbolts? - and keep it to just family and my closest friend (as an INTJ, that's a small group anyway).

Thanks for sharing everyone! I got some Twitter and LinkedIn feedback too.

kellenheller said...

I like fb for social "peripheral vision". I can vaguely monitor what's going on in my family/friend circle without having to call them. Then, when I finally connect p2p, I've got good fodder for conversation...e.g., how was that biz trip to Miami, or hey, I didn't realize you loved cycling so much.
It's actually a great tool for remaining semi-connected during long intervals "I don't want to talk to anyone". (yes, I'm INTJ)