Friday, December 19, 2008

Blogging Meyers-Briggs

So, there is a new algorithm out there that claims to be able scan blogs and tell their Meyers-Briggs personality type. 

Yes, that's right...a blog personality sorter.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Meyers-Briggs sorter, you obviously weren't forced to go to an Episcopal seminary in the last 10 years, as you are force fed it along with a unhealthy dose of Family Systems Theory. 

So much so that I now have a psychological gag reflex anytime I hear people talking about "triangulation" or spitting out letters in combinations of "ISTP" or "ENFJ," as if they were some sort of almighty crystal ball that would solve all your personal and church dysfunction(s). Some clergy carry on like its their own clerical astrology. Personally, I think it can be a helpful diagnostic tool, but its not the end-all-be-all perfect predicter of everything. 

Meyers-Briggs is a personality test based on some stuff Jung did. (I never did understand why certain big wigs in the church wanted to devote so much time and energy analyzing stuff that a Nazi staff psychiatrist came up with, but that's a separate issue.) So, as the theory goes, there are 4 categories (Jung only originally had 3) of personality traits. You are either a Extrovert(E) or Introvert (I), Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N), Thinking (T)  or Feeling (F), and Perceiving (P) or Judging (J). WikiPedia has a pretty good synopsis if you want to know more, though with all things Wikipedia, take it with a grain of salt. (Hint: high class scholarship it ain't.)

In any event, my blog came out as an ESTP, which is really close to what I do when I take the Meyers Briggs. I probably am an "E" now, though in my younger days I was closer to the "I." I've become more gregarious in my old age. 

One of the reasons I am skeptical of the Meyers Briggs is that the letter labels are highly dependent on mood and situation. For example, I also can occasionally come out as a "J" instead of a "P" depending on my mood, or more likely whom I am around. If I'm around a bunch of "J"'s I become a "P" and vice versa. 

For fun, I ran some Anglican blogs from across the theological spectrum (I am not responsible for content on any of them) through the program, and this is what I came up with:

To All the World (Robert Munday):  INTP
EpiScope: ISTJ
BabyBlue: INTP
AKMA: INTP

A professor once told me in seminary that "NT" was usually the dominant clergy personality type for TEC, with a majority also being "I" and "P." Whereas, people on vestries tend to be "S" and "J," which is usually at play when a priest has some grand social outreach scheme and vestries are worried about how to pay for it. If this algorithm is any indication, that seems to be a valid assessment. There's probably somebody's D.Min. thesis in this somewhere. 

Food for Thought...

1 comment:

Jane Ellen+ said...

I tried the algorithm on my blog, which it says is ESTP. I test out to be ISFJ. Does that make the blog my alter-ego?