"you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Omnivores typology group"

Apparently I too am a technology/information Omnivore, according to the Pew Internet & American (?) Life project.

Basic Description
Members of this group use their extensive suite of technology tools to do an enormous range of things online, on the go, and with their cell phones. Omnivores are highly engaged with video online and digital content. Between blogging, maintaining their Web pages, remixing digital content, or posting their creations to their websites, they are creative participants in cyberspace.

Defining Characteristics
You might see them watching video on an iPod. They might talk about their video games or their participation in virtual worlds the way their parents talked about their favorite TV episode a generation ago. Much of this chatter will take place via instant messages, texting on a cell phone, or on personal blogs. Omnivores are particularly active in dealing with video content. Most have video or digital cameras, and most have tried watching TV on a non-television device, such as a laptop or a cell phone.

Omnivores embrace all this connectivity, feeling confident in how they manage information and their many devices. This puts information technology at the center of how they express themselves, do their jobs, and connect to their friends.

When I read this description, it reminded me of something my wife Robin has repeatedly pointed out about me: I am one of the least social people she knows. I rarely make social plans with anyone (including her), I don’t naturally or voluntarily engage with people outside of work, and I am quite comfortable (or at least not dissatisfied) staying home with my TV, laptop and dogs.

So how to reconcile these two states of being – the “meatspace” Mike, who doesn’t engage in any social contact, and the “cyberspace” Mike, who engages with strangers, colleagues and friends with nary a second thought, on a frequent, bleeding edge basis? I have to assume that the cyberspace activities of an Omnivore are not just a pleasant and easy means of interacting with friends/family/colleagues, but are in part a way of shielding ourselves from the demands of the meatspace environment where the interactions are somehow (cf. Introvert) more draining, demanding and threatening.

I am the same person, but in these differing situations I am able to engage in much different ways – and it appears that I’m on a trajectory that will increase the divergence between my social and cyber personalities.

I don’t know what to make of that – whether it’s a natural progression of the aging Introvert, or if there’s some progressive neurochemical change that’s making it harder to engage in person (and thus I’m biased more towards the distant/electronic/asynchronous interaction), or maybe I just don’t have the strength, adrenaline and childish curiosity that I did in my 20’s.

Apparently I too am a technology/information Omnivore, according to the Pew Internet & American (?) Life project.


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