Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flickr: Photos of the World

I am completely addicted to Flickr. Flickr is a great photo hosting site, that is mainly aimed at sharing your pictures with the world. Most other places allow only people you choose to see your photos, some require people to have an invitation to get access, others need the photographer to give permission. Occasionally, they have a way for the photographer to make an exception if they choose, but it's still often difficult for your friends to get to see your pictures. I really liked Snapfish for a while, but having to have everyones email addresses and then sending them invitations to each photo album, which kept getting caught in the spam filter, made it difficult to share the photos. Photobucket was one exception to this invite situation, but their site has always felt awkward and cumbersome to me and while I have an account there, I rarely use it. I do like how easy Photobucket makes it to post photos on Craigslist and other sites and I will be using it a lot more for my Squidoo lenses since I just found out how to add clickable buttons to my lenses using Photobucket.

Flickr allows you to keep pictures private if you choose, but what I like is that they make it easy to share the pictures with anyone that is interested, even if you don't know the person. In fact, as photos are uploaded a few of them will cross a page on the site so people that want to can watch to see if there's something they want to look at. It's actually very addicting seeing what new photos have been uploaded. There are some amazing artists out there, and I've seen some great shots. Flickr images also come up easily in searches, Google, or on site. This makes them great for learning more about a subject or just seeing what's happening in some corner of the world.

The other reason I've come to love Flickr is their copyright policies. Anything put on the Internet has the potential for getting plagiarized, and images are no different, but Flickr makes it easy to adjust what specific copyright you want shown with each image. If you don't want anyone to use one of your pictures, set it to that copyright, if you don't mind if it gets used in non-commercial stuff, set it to that copyright, if you don't care what people want to do to the picture, you can even set it to that copyright. Since you can adjust the settings on each picture, you can easily share the ones you want to share and not share the ones you don't. I frequently use Creative Commons Commercial copyrighted photos for my eHow articles, and Squidoo has a great module to easily feature Flickr pictures so Creative Commons pictures are great for the small writer. To give a bit back I try and make the majority of my uploaded photos Creative Commons as well. I figure if everyone was stingy with all of their pictures it would ruin the great thing that Flickr has going, but of course a few of my favorites I don't allow to be used.

Overall, Flickr seems to be one of the few decent photo sites and I really like it. I even upgraded to a pro account so I could add more than the 200 pictures they allow for the free accounts, and if you know me you know I never pay for stuff if there's a free version. It's great fun to just scroll through pictures and see everyone's takes on the world. Today, in fact, I was searching for a mosquito and got completely diverted by all the images that showed up. There was an amazing shot with an extreme closeup of a mosquito visibly sucking blood from someone's hand. It sounds disgusting but it was so fascinating. I searched for Gem-O-Rama and found a picture taken on the same day I was there and ended up talking with the person about the event. It is so much fun to see the photos other people have taken and sometimes learn the stories behind them. Actually it is so interesting that I have to prevent myself from following picture after picture and not getting any work done.

If you're interested in seeing the pictures I have posted on Flickr either follow this link:
or just do a search on there for AlishaV.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who Am I Really?

In my last post I was writing about how the Myer-Briggs test categorized me as a INTJ, an introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging personality. It basically said that I was not comfortable in social situations, was cold and rational, and standoffish.

A Description of INTJs

Some people have mentioned to me that that doesn't sound like me and that they think I seem outgoing and more like an extravert or even an ESFP. I've heard myself described as enthusiastic, smiley, and sunny. So why the difference? Perhaps this quote from the INTJ personality description will help explain:

"INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality."

Being a cashier for several years, I was miserable, but did very well since I assumed a more outgoing personality in order to sell better. Nicknamed Bubbles, this alter-ego of mine was fun-loving, ditsy, and gregarious, and everything I'm normally not. I periodically pull up this attitude when I don't know what to do and basically hide behind it as though it's a costume. I think that's why my favorite holiday is Halloween, I can play in character, I just can't play myself.

Thinking about it, I've played versions of this happy-go-lucky character for years. In school, I was always the helpful, little teacher's pet and my friends knew me as the outrageous one that was always coming up with stories and weird ideas and acting like a bit of a goofball. Once I decided I wasn't going to school one day and when my mother forced me up and out the door I walked down the street and instead of getting on the bus, I went into the chaparral and spent the day reading. Since that was so fun, the next day I took more books and a sheet to sit on and spent another day like that. The next day, a picnic and more books, and so on. I'm not sure how long it would have lasted, but soon two weeks had gone by and perhaps I would have kept doing it forever, but my mother went to pick me up early from school one day and lo and behold, I wasn't there. On my way back from the "bus" that day, I found everyone panicking, no one knew what to think. The most common reaction was that someone forced me to do it and I needed to reveal the perpetrator. No one believed me when I just said that I had said that I wasn't going to go to school and that I had spent the time by myself, reading. Eventually I ended up telling my friends that it was a hot guy with a convertible, and we spent the days in visiting the city, but it was funny how quickly people believed that pathetic made-up story and how little they believed the truth, that someone would choose to miss school to read.

There are numerous other examples of my anti-social, non-conformist behavior that I wish I felt free enough to exhibit. While reading Robinson Crusoe when I was a child, I couldn't understand why he'd want off the island and wasn't having a great time, I ended up planning out my entire mini kingdom if I were in his place. Heck, I still want a private island. My favorite Twilight Zone episode was the one with the only survivor of an apocalypse going to the library and being able to read as much as he wanted, then breaking his glasses-I really felt for the guy. One of my favorite books is The Stand, and I don't think what happens is too terrible. If I wasn't such a prude about stuff I would be a hippy. I want to have my own ranch and grow most of my own food, my own clothing if I wanted any (what's the point of it?), and basically not have to visit town except once a month or so. Wait, is that my private island idea all over again?

So, I guess the point of the Myer-Briggs test is to reveal who you really are and what you would be like if our society was different. What would you do if our society didn't condemn that behavior?

Personality Type

Someone I know recently mentioned that she took the Myer-Briggs personality test and wondered what other people's results would be like. Well, I hadn't thought about that test in several years.

The basic premise behind the Myer-Briggs test is that everyone can basically be grouped into 16 categories. Your answers on the test are supposed to show whether you are an introvert or extravert (I or E), an intuitive person or a sensing one (N or S), follow your feelings or think stuff out (F or T), and are a judger or a perceiver(J or P). The combinations of letters make 16 different basic types.

In my first year at college I took a class on career planning and they had us take several of those sorts of tests. On the Myer-Briggs test, myself, and three other people out of the entire class were categorized as introverts(I was an INTJ with a close call between N and S) everyone else was considered an extravert. With the extroverts gathered together and the introverts gathered together, it was pretty obvious who was who. The extravert table was full of screaming and yelling and jumping around, and talking about everything yet nothing. Us introverts were talking about nothing as well, but in our case, we were actually not talking. The introvert table was silent as we all stared at each other and waited for someone to start a conversation. We did eventually start talking, but it ended up being about how scary the extravert table was and how glad we weren't in that chaos.

Interested to see what the results would be, if I took the test now, I took a couple of the free versions online. Here are the results of one of the tests:

Introverted 78%
Intuitive 65%
Thinking 88%
Judging 78%

a very expressed introvert
a moderately expressed intuitive personality
a very expressed thinking personality
a very expressed judging personality

and the other test results:

Introverted (I) 68% Extraverted (E) 32%
Intuitive (N) 55% Sensing (S) 45%
Thinking (T) 70% Feeling (F) 30%
Judging (J) 91% Perceiving (P) 9%

Again, I tested as an INTJ with N and S being close to even. Interested in what they think my personality is like based on the results I clicked on type description. It said INTJs are logical, rational, liked lonely walks, was arrogant-seeming, and perfectionists, as well as listing numerous other adjectives. It said a good job for someone with my personality would be a scientist-I'm a geology major who loves to go hiking and looking for information in the rocks. I wouldn't have believed that would be the case when I first took the test and thought I could never have a science-related job since I wasn't good at science. One part listed other people known to be INTJs, such as Chevy Chase, Hilary Clinton, Marie Currie, and Stephen Hawking. Some fictional ones are Stewie (Family Guy), Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice), Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs), Mr. Burns (The Simpsons),and Dr. House (House). All this information was all rather interesting. It seems like knowing who you are and your faults and your weaknesses would be an asset in life.

On a roll now, I looked up more sites about the Myer-Briggs style tests and found entire forums dedicated to different personalities. I checked out one section devoted to INTJs and really realized how I must appear to other people. (Sorry, everyone!) It was interesting seeing people report that they do things that I thought I only did. The slight obsessive-compulsive tendencies, such as eating food in a certain order in certain ways only, the inability to stop what I'm doing while I'm in the middle of something, not being able to start conversations, and the lack of social skills, all seemed very familiar and seeing other people enabled me to see myself much clearer than I could before.

What's your personality like? I don't mean the one you show everyone, but your inner self. Have you taken any Myer-Briggs style tests? As if so, what were your results? Do it help you know yourself better?

If you want to take one of the tests here are a couple of free ones:

Human Metrics Version
Kisa Version

The free, online tests aren't considered as accurate as the original Myer-Briggs test, so if you're really interested in learning more you may want to pay the large fee to take that test. It's a really good idea if you're not sure about anything.