Posts Tagged: MBTI

Does Social Media Transcend Personality?

A while back I conducted a very informal little study over the course of several days. This informal study of MBTI, Dunbar numbers and Twitter follower and following counts was meant to be a stepping stone to further studies I plan to do. To that end, I flew a bit fast and loose with the controls and parameters – I wanted to keep it simple and see where the numbers led me for launching future analysis.

My basic premise, and the reason for the data collection, was a belief that unregulated social media tools such as Twitter would allow people to transcend personality if they were naturally introverted and enhance personality if naturally extroverted. I also wanted to see if personality had any correlation to social interactive limits, such as the theory of the Dunbar number (A theory I think is bunk, by the way – most personal networks far exceed the Dunbar number of 150. But I digress).

I asked people to comment here on this blog and on FriendFeed (which feed to this blogs comments and can be tracked) with their Twitter handle, MBTI type, and follower and following count at the time of the survey. It took me so long to find time between clients to correlate the data that I ended up going into Twitter this evening and updating each respondents follower and following count for accuracy as of 2/7/09. (One thing I know going forward to the next set of data collection questions is that I will be using a more controllable poll system where data is input in one location and set for a certain time frame)

I was expecting the extroverts to have larger numbers for interaction in general. What I was pleased to find was an indication that social media tools like Twitter do seem to allow introverts to have more interaction than they normally might choose in real life. It was also interesting to read the comments – most of the comments expressing discomfort with the loose structure of the very informal survey came from introverts. Most comments that expressed excitement for the next step following the preliminary survey came from extroverts. Also, I was pleased to see that no one’s counts offered clear support for the Dunbar number theory. While there were some low numbers, it seemed to have more to do with involvement and engagement than a choice to limit contact.

Interesting to note, the introverts outnumber the extroverts slightly, coming in at 23 respondents to the extroverts’ 21. This survey is serving as a spring board to me for a more formal round of data collection. I wanted to see what questions assembling data on personality and use of social media would generate for me. Just looking at the results of this survey I already know I want to find out more about the nuance of the MBTI types and actual microblogging use. Other questions I want to answer in a more formal survey include age, gender and other demographics.

Please note that I am of the firm belief that time on a network does not matter to results of any survey. How long you are on Twitter, for example, won’t change your inherent comfort level as far as number of followers and following – your ratio would remain consistent over time. Take Beth Kanter, for example. Her introversion shows in how many people she follows, but her profession shows in how many follow her – she keeps her level consistent as possible to her comfort zone and manageability. I, on the other hand, have no problem keeping up with or following back most of the people who follow me – I am both social and pretty good at multi tasking, though my approach isn’t for everybody!

The next phase will be a formal survey over a longer period and reaching a much broader audience. I need to find a survey tool that can handle and correlate data from multiple questions, including MBTI, network counts, and more. I’m actively seeking that tool now. I may ask at Media Makers tomorrow morning if someone can make one for me – I’ll keep you posted on that. What questions does this survey bring up for you that you’d like answered in my next, more formal, round of collection? What are your thoughts on this round?


Still crunching numbers for the survey from the last few weeks, and also wrapping up a major writing job rough draft. Look for the compilation post in the next day or so. Thanks for your patience!

Meanwhile, did you know that our Topics on Fire episode on January 18th is going to be all about WINE and social media? We’re going to discuss marketing it online, finding people who share your passion for it online, planning wine events online, finding great wine online, and more. We have some fabulous panelists, from wine makers and wine distributors to oenophiles, including Emilio Saez Von Eerd, Dale Cruse, Craig Drollett, Mike Cochran and a few more yet to be announced. PLEASE NOTE: this episode, and only this episode, will be live at 4:30 PM Eastern so that our panelists from Europe can join us. Future episodes will return to the normal time of 10:00 PM EST.

I’m planning to make an appearance at the Portsmouth MargUp Tweetup networking event on January 15th, so stop by and say hi. There is a chamber of commerce meeting right before that so I’ll be a bit late, but I will be there.

Dunbar Numbers, Myers Briggs Type Indicators and Social Media

I am conducting a bit of an informal survey here. I won’t reveal my position on the matter at hand, so as to avoid undue skewing of the results. However, I am using both the Dunbar Number theory and Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) of personalities to gather some data on Twitter for my survey and impending companion blog post. Please put your answers in the comments before January 5th, 2009. I’ll then post the results of my survey and a post about my theory that inspired the survey and how well they supported my theory (or didn’t).

Never heard of the Dunbar Number theory? Click here.

Don’t know your MBTI personality type (mine is ENTP, as is Triston)? Click here to use the MyType application on FaceBook (my personal favorite), or click here if you don’t have FaceBook.

(Yes, I started this on a survery site and found that it did not correlate the data correctly for me, so I am scrapping that early data. Please play again via the comments here. I will put the first comment so you see the information I need. Enter your MBTI and your follower count as of today. Thank you!)