Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm a Jerk, No It's My Personality, My Personality is a Jerk?

From the time I first started sharing my reflections here, on the use of emerging technology, I have been aware of my potential in becoming what I despise. As I start recognizing behavior in myself that I have already characterized as "bad," I can either stop that behavior or I can analyze it to the point of justifying it.

I don't want to do either. It's possible for me to treat myself in an experimental way that I can make impartial judgments and observations about how I'm handling it. Morgan Spurlock did it effectively in Supersize Me. A.J. Jacobs has done it several times, most notably in The Year of Living Biblically.

However, watching and reading these works will give you a glimpse into the personal lives of these folks and make you realize that these guys drove their wives crazy. They can't help but drag their friends and family with them into the experiments. They must.
They are incorporating these experiments into their entire life.

So...I think I am starting to frustrate my wife, and I think it's because I am doing a poor job of showing her what's really going on with what has been defined (by this blog) as "experiments and observations." I will try to explain the difference between my personality and what seems like jerky behavior. Maybe we can lure Jennifer out of the lurk to leave a comment. Maybe it will be a comment that doesn't feel like a punch in the throat.

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the Social Technographics Ladder. Don't check out because of the name! You can find yourself

This handy reference was put together by the smart people over at Forrester Research. It was heavily referenced in Josh Bernoff's and Charlene Li's Groundswell. I highly recommend reading both the book and the blog if you are excited about this kind of thing.

Take a look at this ladder. This is an interesting analysis of the kinds of people who are online. It seems these classifications are largely tied to how a person's personality and temperament is wired and the resulting behavior that emerges when you put that individual on the interwebs. Perhaps a case can be made for someone moving up the ladder based on their experience with the web, but I believe a person remains stuck on a rung that is informed by who they are in "the real world."

I have realized myself as a Creator. It is largely tied to the kind of behavior I exhibit in offline arenas. My online behavior has been a progress up the ladder. I moved from being and Inactive to being a Spectator and then a Joiner. I have never been an online Collector or Critic and have landed myself squarely as a Creator. You can take this quiz as a help to identify your own spot on the ladder.

I have embraced this label. My personality typically doesn't embrace labels, but my online behavior has born out that I am securely on this rung of ladder.

Move this conversation into the realm of social web and the emerging technology I am experimenting with...
I send a twitter update while I am out with my wife.
A friend chimes in to scold me.
My wife is sly in her agreement with scolding friend.
I feel like I deserve a punch in the throat.

But hold on a second.

Am I rudely texting while while ignoring an active conversation in front of me? No. Jennifer is elbowing me in the ribs for creating and sharing while we were at This American Life.
Am I answering email because I can't stop working? No.
Or am I simply continuing to be a Creator as applied to the social media space?
Am I justifying bad behavior? Or am I embracing who I am in this larger, digital conversation?

If Jennifer remains who she is, she will be a Spectator and not post a comment.
Perhaps will can draw a few Spectators and Joiners out to comment on these thoughts. Perhaps some of them will be thankful to finally identify themselves as something and realize they don't need to feel like they need to be a Critic or a Creator to be an appropriate online participant.

I think this is why so many blogs fail. Too many Critics trying to exhibit Creator behavior?
This is why twitter has exploded. It is an easy tool for Joiners to act like they are Creators.

So who are you on the ladder?
Do you buy into this?
Am I just making excuses for being a jerk?