I’ll admit it, I’ve been feeling a little envious lately. There have been a bunch of good conferences, pro-d and #edcamps happening that I haven’t been able to go to. To make things worse lots of people from my PLN have been attending these events and blogging about how great it was to meet their Twitter contacts in person and how that connection made the event even more powerful. One of these blog posts by @erringgreg caught my attention because it asks a question that has been bugging me for a while: What’s Creating the Connection? Or as Erin put it in her blog post:
What is it about these ‘like-minded’ educators I’m meeting through social media? Why are we alike? Why do we, if you think of the group as a unique cohort, a subsection of educators, engage with technology the way we do and embed it into our practice?
Twitter, blogging and sharing online work for me; they feel like a natural extension of my brain and the way I do things. Over the past few years as I have championed these technologies in my school I have noticed that other teachers seem to find some or all of these platforms more difficult to adopt. In particular the really powerful combination of Twitter AND blogging as platforms for sharing at different levels of complexity seems to be a less natural fit for certain people; and I can’t help but wonder whether there is any kind of connection between personality type and affinity for connecting online.
When I did my teacher training we sere fortunate to have a Professor with a lot of experience applying Myers Briggs Personality Types to education. The first thing my cohort did was find out what our Type was and explore what that meant in terms of how we interacted with the world. This was a really powerful framework for the rest of our training because it gave us a lens for understanding the different ways we all experienced being in the classroom and being a teacher. I often say that this was the year that I realised that we all ARE fundamentally different, not just different on the outside but pretty much the same inside.
I ended up (and still am, mostly) an INFP. My understanding of how this plays out is that I am an Introvert and rebuild my energy through quiet time alone as opposed to being with people. I gather information in an iNtuitive fashion, which means I tend to look for patterns and gather data in a holistic way; the opposite end of this spectrum is the Sensing type that prefers to look for details and facts. I tend to make decisions by associating or empathising with the situation, or as I commonly think “going with my gut Feeling”; as opposed to the Thinking type that tends to make decisions based on “what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent and matching a given set of rules”. Finally, I am a Percieving type in the way I interact with the world, which means I like to “keep my options open.”
What this means in the context of the internet and creating connections is that I am somebody that doesn’t get overwhelmed by large amounts of information because I naturally look for patterns in it, and I am comfortable engaging in new and unfamiliar situations where I don’t know the rules because I trust my gut. I don’t know if this is part of my personality type but I am also someone that does their best thinking out loud, so for me blogging has been a blessing.
I should mention here that I am not an expert on Myers Briggs and have probably vastly simplified it in this post. I also recognise that it is just a tool and seems to resonate more with people that fall towards the extremes on each of it’s indicators than in the middle. Still, in my life I have found it to be a good lens for reflecting on why I work in certain ways or react to some things the way that I do, and for that I think it has value.
I might be wrong, but I suspect that a lot of people that are drawn to platforms like Twitter and Blogging would tend to fall on the iNtuitive and/or Feeling side of the Myers Briggs scale. I would love to know what Myers Briggs Type other people in my PLN are. As far as I know there aren’t any reliable online ways to get tested, but a quick google search for “myers briggs online” will bring up lots of sites that claim to give you some idea if you are interested.