Tuesday March 26, 2013

Synergy: MBTI, the WWW, and Me

A Long Time Ago, in a World Now Far Far Away...

In 1993 I was introduced to two tools that had a profound effect on the direction my work and interests would take. The first of these was the World Wide Web (WWW). I wasn't certain, at first, how useful it would be. (:-) But within a few months, I was hooked. Still, I didn't realize how important the WWW would be to me in the years ahead.

The second tool was the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I was hooked on that from the first encounter. But again, I had no idea of the scope of knowledge and sheer enjoyment this would bring with time.

What did learning about psychological types bring to consciousness for you?

I've just started a 6-week web-based class on Psychological Type (Recognizing the Eight Cognitive Processes, from Type Insights). The first homework question for week 1 was: "What did learning about psychological types bring to consciousness for you?"

Learning about Type answered a number of "whys" in my life. Why do I think the way I do? Why do a lot of other people not think the way I do? (I'm INTJ; it's far from the most common type and one of the rarest for women). What makes my sister so different from me? (She's ENFJ.)

I understood so much - my family dynamic, co-worker relationships, how things were back in school, the reasons why I'm a "techie". Type opened my eyes to so many possibilities. I wanted to learn more.

What’s something you’re conscious of now that you wish you’d been conscious of then?

The second question was: "What’s something you’re conscious of now that you wish you’d been conscious of then?"

For me, I've defined "then" as Junior High, High School, and even College. That was a time when computers lived in basements and ran on 220V power. "Personal computers" were lame things with low power, text-only screens, and storage on cassette tapes, recommended for saving recipes and balancing your check book. In High School, I WANTED a computer ... but what would I really do with it?

I wish I'd known that the Internet wasn't far away, that CRTs would replace punch cards very soon, that personal computers would be more powerful (and more affordable, and smaller) than I ever dreamed possible, that the WWW would change everything, all in less than 20 years. And I would get to be part of it!

One of the good synonyms for my personality type is "techie". And these days, the techies rule the Net.

There are great jobs and cool technology and toys toys toys. I've met wonderful people online, made friends in far-away places. I'm still connected to former co-workers and reconnected to long ago friends.

I've occasionally read that one way to determine what you really want to do, is to follow this advice: Think back to what you enjoyed when you were 11 years old. That's what you really loved and should be doing now.

When I was 11, I though I'd grow up to be a scientist. I never imagined, then, the world I would be part of now.

The WWW and the MBTI

I took my first MBTI assessment (and my second, third, fourth... I take it again every year or so) online. But there's so much more than that to the relationship between the MBTI, the WWW, and me.

The WWW has given me some very interesting jobs. It's also given me access to people and ideas all over the world. Many of those people are also passionately interested in Type.

Without the WWW, I would have learned a bit about Type, maybe found a book or two. With the WWW, I've found blogs and articles as well as many books (several written by people who started by blogging their thoughts). I've met people via Twitter and Facebook, many of whom identify as INTJ or INFJ (we're rare in the general population but common on the Web!)

I've seen Susan Cain's TED talk. I strongly doubt that Susan's book (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking) would have reached the level of popularity is has without the WWW. The first three hits from a Google search for "Quiet" all point to Susan Cain!

I discovered BAAPT (my local Association of Psychological Type (APT) chapter) through Donna Dunning; I was already following Donna in Twitter. A blog post I wrote, and linked to in a LinkedIn group, brought a new member to a BAAPT meeting.

I've met other interested people on line and off, shared stories, and learned so much more than I would have on my own, back in the pre-Web 20th century. I've learned more about Type from blogs and articles, tweets and "groups", than I ever imagined. I'm still learning.

What's Next?

Only one session in, I'm really enjoying the class I'm taking. It's held as a webinar. I'm in San Francisco, the facilitator is in LA, and we have one class member in Rhode Island. The webinar software runs on my laptop; I'm connected by voice via Skype; everything works flawlessly.

When I joined BAAPT, I volunteered to be the "Social Media manager", managing the posts on Twitter and Facebook. We've got a live Twitter feed on the bappt.org web page now.

I'm putting together an MBTI wiki. It's still only partially baked, but I welcome feedback.

I recently added a category for Personality Type to my weblog. Now my posts on related topics are easier to find.

There's so much more to come!

Synergy: MBTI, the WWW, and Me ( in category Personality Type , Special Interests ) - posted at Tue, 26 Mar, 10:23 Pacific | «e»

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