In my work with clients in Ohio and Michigan I’ve found that rapidly changing methods of communication require some rethinking about how Predictive Index® tendencies impact choices for personal interaction.
Five years ago it was safe to say that High B’s preferred face-to-face or at least verbal interactions and Low B’s tended to choose more formal, written communication (including email). Even then, the development of “instant messaging” and texting seemed to create a new mid-point between those two ends of the interaction continuum. Now, with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others opening up new modes of interaction any models that worked earlier are too simplistic.
For the purpose of brevity I will refer to all these new tools as “social media.”
This analysis is complicated by other important factors that drive social media use. Younger people who grew up using instant messaging or texting and the earliest versions of social media have a better understanding of these tools’ value and power. Beyond this generation gap, there are geographic and business sectors that trend higher on use. You’re more likely to see social media used in major metro areas and highly dynamic market sectors (e.g. information technology, marketing services) or businesses with a high local & social “touch” (e.g. real estate, restaurants).
Achieving organizational alignment on use of social media is giong to be increasingly important. Here are some thoughts on how various Predictive Index (PI®) Factors relate to social media:
Low A – Disliking conflict, Low A’s may prefer to be observers in a social media environment. A beneficial element of social media is that they can feel part of a team or community simply by monitoring others’ communication
High A – The competitive, aggressive, results-oriented High A will use social media as a utilitarian tool for achieving goals. A prerequisite, of course, is that the person understands and sees how this tool can be used to make a difference – which is more likely with younger people. Beyond the impact of a person’s age the High A will leverage social media if they compete in a business, region or demographic segment where social media drives in-market change.
Low B – With a preference for black & white data, facts and logic the Low B will find much to like with social media. The heart of most interactions is still text-driven and allows thought before any response – ideal elements for Low B’s. Once you are comfortable with the technology, social media allows for great control over interactions, providing more structure than face-to-face gatherings. Extremely fast-moving digital dialogues may still overwhelm a Low B, however, and they may not share in the “fun” of videos or other highly social activities.
High B – With interactivity, pictures, videos, opportunities for high-profile “spotlights” and ever-expanding “friends” lists, social media feeds the High B’s need for social interaction. The “new news” and fun built into social media seems like “party central.” The technological interface required to join the fun is a barrier and High B’s can, of course, meet their social needs without crossing that barrier – so some will not. For people who grew up with the technology or are in a high-adoption business or region it simply becomes another social venue in which to work their interpersonal magic.
Low C – Frenetic social media action satisfies Low C’s. Popular tools run many Twitter streams for a multi-tasking fit to Low C sense of urgency. Prior two sentences fit within Twitter’s 140 character limit – ‘nuff said! Movin’ on!
High C – The primary intersection of High C needs and social media has to do with building a sense of community and affiliation. Group discussions, picture albums, online communities, personal updates – all provide a way to staying connected with a group to which the High C feels a wanted sense of “belonging.” Other than this sense of community, however, much of social media is going to seem unpredictable and chaotic, lacking the step-by-step coherence a High C prefers.
Low D – Elements of Social Media Low D’s will like:
- New and rapidly evolving – the “rules” are rewritten constantly
- Information is delivered in short bursts
- You can customize and prioritize content to your preference
High D – The cautious approach of High D’s to work the “right way” is an issue when any social media “rules” change so fast there is no consensus on what constitutes the “right way.” Within the context of such risk aversion, however, there is still much that a High D can find to like. First and foremost is the explosion of information allowing endless research – this feeds the High D need for detail and can lead to greater certainty in many activities. Another fact is that, chaotic appearances aside, social media exist within a man-made structure and order – once that structure is understood a High D then has a roadmap for excellence.