Personalities Underground



There are some people at my workplace whom I have never seen without them talking on the phone or staring at a mobile screen.

It will be interesting to see the transformation on the London Underground when they wire it for mobiles. Rather than us all gazing quietly at a screen, reading a book or newspaper or staring into space looking bored out of our minds, instead there will be a noisy background of multiple conversations which the ‘looking bored’ may or may not enjoy. Perhaps they would prefer their quiet moments happy with just the continual announcements and the rattling of the undercarriages.

But not all users of mobile phones are the same. Some may be phoning about a meeting or answering a call from a work colleague whilst others who may have nothing else to think about will phone a friend very purposefully and animatedly with the exciting opener: “Hi, so how are things?” The “looking bored” will move to the next carriage and the “reader” will look up and think “another vacuous dialogue I’m forced to listen to. That’s just ruined my concentration.”

However, if you are not reading a newspaper, magazine or book, not staring at a screen or talking on a phone and impatiently waiting for your stop, you can amaze yourself with a little personality gazing. The different behaviours are not accidental but commuters acting to their type. The “how are things then?” and the “shouter” on the top-of-the-range iPhone, bigging-up a conversation, are likely to fit my Supporter and Influencer personality types respectively. The ones staring into space with their phone in a pocket, bag or wherever but in the very positive ‘off’ mode, fit the Analyst profile and the Creatives may be reading mags or searching screens for designs ideas.

So look forward to your next tube journey. Put away your book or mag, lock your iphone in “silent” mode and enjoy your traveling colleagues with a bit of personality gazing. “Look there’s a Supporter” and “ ….. that loud character is a dead ringer for an Influencer.” Careful you don’t miss your stop!

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