Silly online quizzes. They’ve taken the internet by storm! Perhaps it’s MBTI quizzes, “Which character you are” quizzes, or even outrageous topics such as “When you’ll buy your first house based on what you order at McDonalds.” Whether or not you’ve taken one yourself, it’s likely you’ve seen one at one point or the other, especially if you’re Gen Z.
They’re extremely popular and, with the Covid-19 pandemic, internet usage has dramatically risen, meaning that even more people have stumbled into the curious trap of quizzes! I was scrolling through my Instagram feed (as one habitually does when you live in 2021), when I saw someone post their results to which Ginny and Georgia character they were. I realized that I’ve been taking these quizzes since sixth grade! During indoor recesses at Seely Place, my friends and I would try all sorts of Buzzfeed (a site known for pop culture entertainment) quizzes. Why do we like taking these quizzes so much? How reliable are they? Why do so many young people spend time on something so seemingly pointless?
“Sure, We'll Reveal The First Letter Of Your Soulmate's Name, But You Have To Order Some Pizza First.”
The random quizzes about small information are very light and openly ridiculous, like “Sure, We'll Reveal The First Letter Of Your Soulmate's Name, But You Have To Order Some Pizza First.” Believe it or not, that’s the real name of a Buzzfeed quiz (by the way I’m looking out for a C, F, K, N, S, V, or Z first letter). If we think about this logically, obviously there is no reasoning in sight. How on Earth do pizza preferences have any correlation to the first letter of our “soulmate's” name? Buzzfeed quiz creators don’t even try in the slightest to make it seem like they reach conclusions that make sense. Since anybody can put quizzes up on the website, tons of strange quizzes such as “Order Some Food From Chipotle And We'll Reveal Who Has A Crush On You” and “Eat Your Way Through A Dessert Buffet And We'll Reveal Which Zodiac Sign You're Most Compatible With” pop up. Buzzfeed and other quizzes have made millions of dollars feeding off of people's boredom. Despite the clear inaccuracy the quizzes display, they’re just fun and slightly addictive. The time killing hobby has turned into a real business for sites like Buzzfeed.
Character and personality quizzes, on the other hand, can be taken a little more seriously. Teenagers are all in the time period of their lives where they’re working through self discovery. Strangely enough, they are also the overwhelming majority of the people making these quizzes so popular. When people get results of what MBTI they have, which Hogwarts house or which member of One Direction they are, it gives them a little more insight about who they might be, what they might like, and how they may be perceived by others.
We also get a sense of validation when we are told that we’re just like our favorite character. It brings people confidence to be informed they act like someone they idolize. I recall a time in elementary school when a close friend and I jokingly argued about which one of us was Betty and which one of us was Veronica from Riverdale because we kept getting the same quiz results. We both wanted to get the character we liked better because we hoped it was confirmation that we were just as great as they are.