Since the mid 1960s the Myers-Briggs questionnaire has been one of the world's leading ways to measure psychological preferences and how people perceive the world and make decisions. Everyone is born with certain ways of thinking and acting. This is important to consider when thinking about social media and the social web... especially after doing some math.
There are 16 personality types in Myers-Briggs, each with a specific four-letter designation. People are drawn to a tendency of either judging (J) or perceiving (P). Thinking (T) or feeling (F). Sensing (S) or intuition (N). But it's the way these feelings are expressed which is perhaps most important to consider when it comes to the social web: extroverted (E) or introverted (I).
Interestingly, if you break down the 16 personality types by median percentages of Extroverts vs. Introverts the world slices almost equally in half: 50% of us express our feelings through extroversion, the other half, introversion.
Extroverts draw their energy from expressing themselves outwardly. It they are inactive, their motivation tends to decline. To rebuild their energy extroverts need breaks from time spent in reflection and become very social. Introverts, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They prefer time away from activity. At a cocktail party E's naturally feed off the interaction while the I's are in an environment where it takes extreme energy to participate.
We see the E's vividly in social. It's very natural, frequent and energizing for them. For the I's, not so much and it turns out that's 50% of consumers. In America, roughly 153,503,000 people who are present in social (watching, following, internalizing, liking) but may not show themselves as vividly in conversations. It's not that I's can't be extroverted, it just takes harder work. Like being right or left handed... we're born with a natural tendency to prefer one and shifting to use the other takes lots of concentration.
I find it interestingly clarifying to learn that we split right down the middle, introverts vs. extroverts. And I think this is most important to consider as we create, engage, measure and refine in social.