Thursday, January 19, 2012

Believe It Or Not

But when I'm not on Internet, I'm actually quite introverted.

Which is why I found this article at The New York Times interesting. A snippet:

"Culturally, we’re often so dazzled by charisma that we overlook the quiet part of the creative process. Consider Apple. In the wake of Steve Jobs’s death, we’ve seen a profusion of myths about the company’s success. Most focus on Mr. Jobs’s supernatural magnetism and tend to ignore the other crucial figure in Apple’s creation: a kindly, introverted engineering wizard, Steve Wozniak, who toiled alone on a beloved invention, the personal computer....

Solitude can even help us learn. According to research on expert performance by the psychologist Anders Ericsson, the best way to master a field is to work on the task that’s most demanding for you personally. And often the best way to do this is alone. Only then, Mr. Ericsson told me, can you 'go directly to the part that’s challenging to you. If you want to improve, you have to be the one who generates the move. Imagine a group class — you’re the one generating the move only a small percentage of the time.'

Conversely, brainstorming sessions are one of the worst possible ways to stimulate creativity. The brainchild of a charismatic advertising executive named Alex Osborn who believed that groups produced better ideas than individuals, workplace brainstorming sessions came into vogue in the 1950s. 'The quantitative results of group brainstorming are beyond question,' Mr. Osborn wrote. 'One group produced 45 suggestions for a home-appliance promotion, 56 ideas for a money-raising campaign, 124 ideas on how to sell more blankets.'

But decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases."

In both educational and professional settings, I've always loathed "brainstorming sessions."

Not only do I tend to be quiet in groups, but I think best when I have time to process information and ideas by myself before hearing all the extroverts go through their Thinking Out Loud Process. It's like, how do people expect me to have valuable information to share, when I don't even know yet what information I think would be valuable to share?

Really, Internet is my ideal form of interacting with people I don't know well (or at all).

If someone tries to chat with me and I'm busy or don't feel like being social, I can just ignore the chat request (unlike in real life, where if someone approached my desk and asked me a question it would be much more rude to completely ignore them). And, I've been known to just leave chat conversations mid-talk with a quick "BYE," if I get busy with something else, bored, or simply want to leave. That would be totally weird to do in person, but my friends and acquaintances don't seem to hold it against me when I do it on Internet.

On blogs, I can interact with people and debate different issues, but I get to choose which comments, posts, and responses I want to engage with. And, the replies don't have to come immediately. The interaction can be done on my own time.

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