Is the Type Community Migrating to the World Wide Web?

By Jack Speer
with Stephanie Strange

The most remarkable game changer in the personality type community today is the evolution of worldwide online communities. Personality type discussion groups are exploding on the Web, and thousands are joining online type communities. The boundaries of distance and time have become irrelevant, and many people historically separated by these limitations now talk to each other daily.

Traditional Organizations are Reinventing Themselves for the Web

Traditional type organizations are in the process of reinventing themselves, developing a powerful presence on the Internet. CPP, Inc., APT, and CAPT are using Twitter and other social media to expand their reach and serve their constituencies by continuously offering new information and products. These organizations are finding fresh ways to effectively interact with customers online.

Personality Type Discussion Groups are Open 24/7

For the first time in the history of personality type, since Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers began to develop the instrument in the early 1930s, online communities are creating a 24/7 real-time, moment-by-moment forum on type via social media websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Type practitioners exchange insights and professional techniques through a variety of far-ranging discussions. People from around the world are developing relationships based on their interest in type, which would have been impossible a few years ago. Professionals and newcomers alike are having fun with type through playful discussions, such as speculating on the personality type of Santa Clause and other well-known public figures. The digital age of personality type is well under way!

It’s Easy to Connect With This Growing Community

It’s easier than ever to get connected with like-minded people in the era of social media. Interest in personality type theory is flourishing online, and sites like Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are excellent forums for discussion. Search any of these networks for key words like personality type, MBTI, or psychological type, and you will find a list of related groups and pages with followers from around the world.

As Melissa Spiotta discussed in her article, Personality Type is Hot on LinkedIn, social media is breaking down the barriers between gurus and novices within the type community. Type theory is resonating in particular with young people who are entering the workforce and seeking practical tools for career development. The ability to connect and interact with leaders in the field has never been greater than it is today. Could anything be more exciting for a community so heavily focused on personal development and the betterment of relationships?

Warning: Personality Type Discussion Groups May Be Habit-forming

After following half a dozen groups on LinkedIn, we discovered that participating in each of these unique discussions is amazingly fun and addictive. Email updates arrive frequently, sometimes hourly, directing your attention towards new comments made on a wide variety of subjects, which range from the strengths and challenges of individual personality types to your favorite MBTI™ quote of the day.

The temptation to veer from your own work and dive into the discussion is often quite irresistible. Some will find it to be an attractive accent to their day, while others may find the flood of information overwhelming if not irritating. We have found that taking the time to follow these online social media groups can be a frustrating time sink, but in the end, we have learned more about type from more people than we ever thought possible.

The Quality of Discussion in Online Groups is Generally High

In our six months of being a part of online MBTI™ groups, we have found the quality of the discussion in the LinkedIn groups to be quite high. There is an amazing lack of posturing and conflict, so often a part of Internet conversations. An MBTI™ practitioner can readily find valuable ideas and information about type applications to use for training or personal growth. Familiar names in the type community regularly weigh in to contribute authoritative professional opinions. New participants frequently burst onto the scene with surprising backgrounds, which include engineering, medicine, psychology, industry, and the arts.

Beware of Personality Type Knock-offs and Self-Serving Gurus

Not all that glitters is gold in the world of cyber personality type. Just as ideas in print media may be trash or treasure, it’s always wise to be conscious of what you read online. While it’s wonderful to see a surge of interest in type theory, many have noted that there is a plethora of misleading information out there, much of it presented as fact by self-proclaimed “experts.” Unfortunately, a great number of counterfeit personality type questionnaires are falsely presented as providing accurate type identification. These “tests” are frequently relied on as an alternative to the MBTI™ because, like most things on the Internet, they are free. The imitations, which usually lack scientific validation, give vastly inadequate information and sometimes misclassify people entirely. Our recommendation is to participate in online discussions based on validated personality type instruments.

Where to Join the Discussions on LinkedIn and Twitter

Search for some of the thriving personality type groups we have found on LinkedIn, and join the discussion. LinkedIn groups range from general ones like the Myers Briggs(MBTI) Networking Group, to smaller specialized groups for the specific MBTI™ types and Jungian temperaments. While SP and SJ type specific groups are not well represented on LinkedIn at this time, NFs and NTs have at least one active group for each type with more than 200 members. The largest of these is the INTJ Masterminds Network, which is comprised of over 750 members.

MBTI Professionals is a forum for the discussion of the MBTI™ and its practices. There are more than 2,000 members in this group comprised of mostly human resources, coaching, and education industry workers. It is a great place to share your ideas, expertise, and questions.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment (MBTI) is one of the most active type groups on LinkedIn. With more than 5,000 worldwide members, discussions range from the practical use of type in the workplace to personal stories and reflections on temperament themed poetry.

Follow us on Twitter for WTA updates: @WorldType

Other notable Twitter users to follow:

MBTI: @thembti

CAPT: @CAPTConnect

CPP, Inc: @CPPInc

APT International: @APTintl

TypeLabs: @typelabs

Donna Dunning: @DonnaDunning