More than once, I’ve run around looking everywhere for my smartphone, only to find that it’s already in the palm of my hand. C’mon, fess up, you’ve probably done that too. 

It’s no wonder, really, that we confuse our go-to gadgets with an actual body part. We rely on them for so much these days − to work, shop, learn, listen, play, and communicate − it’s no wonder they often feel like an extension of us. But could these all-encompassing tech tools actually be a part of our personality too? 

Here are five of the most common digital personality types I come across every day. Do you recognize yourself here? Take a look and see what pitfalls you might need to look out for, too!

1. Gadget guru 

You’re an early adopter, always among the first to first to try new gadgets, apps, and services. New technology excites you, connects you with others, and empowers you. You’re attracted to what’s new, now, and next. 

There’s a good chance you waited in line to be among the first to buy the latest iPhone back when lines wrapped around city blocks. Now, you pre-order it every year like clockwork. 

Or maybe you do the same thing but with the latest Samsung Galaxy Smartphones or Google Pixel. Either way, you covet the hottest handset like a Real Housewife jonesing for a Birkin

What to watch out for:

Be careful not to use technology as a status symbol, especially when you can’t afford it!  No one actually needs a new phone, laptop, or VR headset every year, and it can be really wasteful to keep upgrading for no other reason than to look “cool.” 

Remember, gadget makers are often experimenting on you. I test out all kinds of new, hot gadgets. It works perfectly for a few months, then never again. Being first often means it’s a 1.0 version. It will get better AND less expensive.

Be sure not to let your old gadgets just fill up a junk drawer. Recycle everything you can so your old tech doesn’t end up in a landfill. Or donate old gadgets to someone else on this list, who will be happy to get your hand-me-downs!

2. Tech phobic 

You are the exact opposite of the Gadget Guru. You will not be a prisoner to your devices, no matter what shiny, pretty new digital doo-dad comes along. 

If the shattered screen on your smartphone isn’t playing a stabby game of tic-tac-toe with your cheek every time you hold it against your face to talk, why on Earth would you need to fix or replace it? 

Upgrades? Your iPhone 7 is fine, even if your memory is so stuffed up that you can’t take a new photo without deleting a dozen other things first. Battery life? Phshaw. Who needs more than an hour of that at a time anyway? 

Oh, and it’s a hard no on that smart speaker your friend just gave you, too! No way you’ll ever put one of those in your house. They’re just eavesdropping to steal your money – or sell you more tech. 

What to watch out for:

When things don’t work, you’re pretty sure you’re doing something wrong or that the gadget is just a piece of junk to begin with. Rather than fall into this negative tech trap though, empower yourself! 

Take a class at your local Apple store, Get on-demand help with services like JustAnswer, HelloTech, or connect with a local tech-savvy teen on Nextdoor or Facebook. AARP gives free classes online. You’ve got this.  

3. Digitally distracted 

You live most of your life on − and through − your devices. You check your smartphone first thing when you wake up and last thing before you fall asleep. In fact, mindless scrolling keeps you up at night, too!

You leave one AirPod charging all the time while the other’s in your ear for 24/7 on-demand access to a podcast, audiobook, or streaming TV show in the shower. 

You love mobile gaming so much that you accidentally spend “real money” on those dastardly gold bars to level up every once in a while. And who can blame you? Level 36 is really hard! (🤣.)

Cut back to an hour a day on social media? You just need five more minutes on Instagram. Oh wait, have you seen this hilarious TikTok video? Have you really been swiping through Facebook Marketplace for an hour already?!

You’re not a tech-addict per se, but if your life were an actual game of “Would You Rather,” you would choose to have spaghetti hair, sweat mayonnaise, and get tickled for an hour straight − rather than sit anywhere for five minutes without access to your screen. 

Oh, and your notifications are constantly dinging, ringing, buzzing, and absolutely annoying everyone around you. 

What to watch out for:

Your gadgets and tech time are definitely getting in the way of your real life. You need balance, and you need it now! Try pairing down to one social media feed and schedule time away from your devices. Unplug and go outside. If you feel anxious, experience FOMO, or even feel a weird “twich” if you forget your phone − it’s time to turn off your online distractions and tune back into your real life. 

4. Tech thrift 

The bottom dollar is your bottom line. You’re always on the hunt for bargains, even if that means your smartphone’s actually a basic talk and text-only “dumb” phone, and you have to hit a button on the keypad three times to get the letter you want. 

You tend to budget carefully and do your homework. You love getting a better deal than everyone else, and are happy to pick up a refurbished gadget or previous year model (which is a great way to save money on tech tools). 

You’re a kind of next-generation coupon clipping cyber-saver who only goes for the least expensive device or service, no matter what. A $ 10-a-month flip phone is perfect, especially if unused minutes roll over to the next month.  

What to watch out for:

You get what you pay, especially with gadgets. Super inexpensive devices, apps, and online services are cheap for a reason. They might not have the same level of cyber security as a slightly higher priced version, or they might be made of a lower quality material and break sooner and more easily. Or maybe they come with far less storage or memory than any real human needs. 

Sure, they’re cheap, but they’re also poorly made, break quickly, and more often than not, you’ll end up spending more than if you had saved up and gone for better quality in the first place.

I just finished reviewing a dozen of the top “I found it on TikTok” gizmos that I purchased from Amazon, and there wasn’t a single one that I would recommend to any of you. A waste of ‘just’ $10 is still dumping good money down the drain. 

5. Wired well 

You are the epitome of Zen and the art of modern technology (cue inspirational background music, chirping birds, fields of wildflowers, chubby puppies, and giggling babies.) 

You create boundaries around being “on” and connected. You tuck your phone away when you’re socializing and don’t need it to fill a silence. You know when to leave the gadgets behind and go screen-free. 

You’re also careful to turn off excess notifications, limit screen time habits, mute and block negative accounts on social media, and you still know how to read a paper map! 

You understand the need for balance and likely thrive in your online and offline life. You are who we all aspire to be more like. 

What to watch out for:

Not a single thing. Now get back outside and breathe that fresh air, you healthy human, you. 

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech columnist and on-air correspondent. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY. Contact her at[email protected].