Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Longtime readers of this blog, and many of the folks who have heard me speak at industry conferences, know of my interest in psychology, personality types and the insight that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can provide newsroom managers.
And anyone who knows me knows that on the MBTI test I'm an ENFJ -- the "teacher" type personality that is overrepresented in the fields of media, nonprofits and religion.
(You can find three earlier posts in which I talk about being an ENFJ here. Or if you want to learn more about this personality type, you can check out profiles here and here.

So imagine my surprise when, just moments ago, I played with a new online tool that is supposed to determine the MBTI personality type of a blog and found that my blog appears to be written by an ISTJ -- the "duty fulfiller" type personality common among cops and soldiers.
Now putting aside my brief military career, I'd be hard-pressed to think of a personality type that seemed less like me than the ISTJ.
Yet the Typealyzer tool says that this blog is written by an ISTJ, a "responsible and hardworking type" who is "conservative by nature."
Even stranger -- the ENFJ and ISTJ personalities are wildly different at the most basic of levels. ENFJs are "people people." Whereas ISTJs are "not naturally in-tune with other people's feelings."

So what gives?
One possible explanation, of course, is that the Typealyzer tool doesn't work.
Another possibility is that I actually am an ISTJ. But I reject that. I've taken the MBTI and related tests a few dozen times in my life and I always come out as ENFJ. (Also, other MBTI geeks always correctly guess that I'm an ENFJ after just a few minutes of interaction.)
But what fascinates me is the possibility that although I am an ENFJ, I adopt the voice of an ISTJ when blogging. Or, to put it another way, perhaps when I started blogging some four years ago, I used a writing style that was marked by the "serious, dutiful and reserved" voice of an ISTJ as a way to not sound like the stereotypical, "snarky" blogger.

Whatever the answer, I do know this for sure: if I actually were an ISTJ personality, then I wouldn't have let a month pass without updating this blog!

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  1. I used the tool on my blog and it identified me as an ESTP, which is a bit closer (I've been tagged as an ENTP or even INTP at times). I then used it on one of my regular columns, and it came up as INTJ (which is hilarious, because I'm an off-the-chart P). I'm wondering if some of the analysis comes from the content on the blog (because my blog is tech content, could that be leaning towards the 'scientific' personalities?). Cool tool, though, thanks for the post!

  2. That was fun... I was an ESTJ on my corporate blog and an ESTP on my personal blog. Interesting as the content is very rarely similar.

  3. Hi there! I came across this post through my Google Alerts for the word "MBTI." This may or may not be of interest to you, but I write a blog about the MBTI and wrote a post about how Typealyzer is basically junk. I know lots of people are checking it out for entertainment sake- and that's totally cool...but I hope you don't confuse those "blog type" results for your own personality type. Anyway, I won't go into why the site is junk here, I just wanted to let you know if you wanted to learn more, here's the original post: I also have a discussion in the comments section with the creator of the Typealyzer site.