The answer might surprise you. It did me. At first.
When looking at Twitter, you'd expect most of the folks who would be on Twitter would be extroverts – who gain energy by socializing and interacting with other people.
You'd also think SP's or the Spontaneous type would be naturally drawn to Twitter. These past paced, sometimes impatient folks would love the 140 character or less communication style. Tweeting seems like a Spontaneous activity.
So, a good guess for which personality types love twitter would be extroverted spontaneous folks (ESP's).
(obnoxious horn blow) Wrong!
According to a recent article on the mbti blog, it seems the personality types who love Twitter are NF's (Humanistics) and NT's (Competitives) AND Introverts.
In my unscientific survey of the MBTI preferences of English speaking Twitterers (286 as of this post), here's what I found….INFP's rule Twitter!!! Contrary to their representation in the general population, INFP's and INTJ's are heavily represented in the Twitter community. Again, contrary to the general population, ISTJ, ESFJ, and ISFJ, and ESFP's are all under-represented in the Twitter Community.
At first, this surprised me. But then, being a good little INFP, I sat down by myself and thought about it for a while. And it actually started to make sense.
Why Introverts Love Twitter
As far as the introvert extrovert part – there are actually some misunderstandings as to what the difference is between the two. It is NOT that extroverts are social and introverts are anti-social. Brian Kim has a insightful article – Top 5 Things Every Extrovert Should Know About Introverts:
Introverts love anything that involves deep conversation. They get energized by discussing subjects that are important to them and they love to see what and how other people think, to connect the dots, to dig deep, to find root causes, to use logical thinking via debate in conversation, etc.
And what’s more, introverts can do a lot of things extroverts are naturally good at – give great speeches, schmooze with everyone, be the life of the party, charm the socks off of total strangers – but only for a short period of time. After that, they need time for themselves.
The article goes on to point out another key difference between introverts and extroverts:
Introverts have more brain activity in their frontal lobes and when these areas are activated through solitary activity, introverts become energized through processes such as problem solving, introspection, and complex thinking.
Extroverts on the other hand tend to have more activity in the back of their brain, areas that deal with processing sensory information from the external world, so they tend to search for external stimuli in the form of interacting with other people and the outside world to energize them.
So how does this apply to Twitter? Guess what folks - Twitter is a solitary activity! You are not at a party or coffee shop. You are usually at home, alone, with your computer. You chose who you do and do NOT interact with. You can sit on the sideline and simply observe (one of my favorite activities). Or you can choose to share a thought with everyone. OR you can choose one particular person to interact with (by using the @twitter name to speak directly to someone).
Finally, you can jump in for a little while, then walk away.
That kind of control over who and how you interact is an introvert's dream.
Why NF's and NT's Love Twitter
Let's start with the NF's or Humanistics. Humanistics are all about connecting and communicating. Their main focus in life is relationships. They love to share stories. They love gaining insight into who people really are and their deeper motivations. Twitter is like being a fly on the wall to thousands of people's inner thoughts. It's a Humanistic love fest.
NT's or Competitives love to think and share information. They like to promote themselves and their ideas. Similar to NF's they are also life-long learners constantly looking to expand their knowledge and expertise. Twitter is an amazing platform for Competitives to share ideas and information.
Fascinating stuff. Thanks to @livingsexuality for opening the discussion on Twitter and sharing her insight.
What about you? What type are you? Do you like or dislike Twitter?