April 21, 2014

THOMAS | Label Maker

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By DEON THOMAS

My entire life, I have strived to be considered an anomaly. I always thought it was more interesting to be looked at as something unique rather than to become boxed in and labeled. For this reason the trend of taking BuzzFeed quizzes has left me aghast. It’s as if everybody has become absolutely fascinated with being labeled as what they deem “cool.” We have begun to completely rely on societal standards to tell us “what to be” or “how to act.” Maybe, this fascination has existed for quite some time now, but these incessant quizzes have made it more public than ever.

For those of you that haven’t been on social media this year, I will attempt to explain the idea of a BuzzFeed quiz. These quizzes range in nature and allow you to figure out certain things about yourself. You can find out anything these days, from “How Would You Die in Game of Thrones” to “How Lazy Are You Actually.” In order to find out these intriguing facts about yourself, you are subjected to answer random questions such as, “Have you drank directly out of a juice carton instead of dirtying a single cup?” After you finish the quiz you are told whether you are “not lazy” or “extremely lazy.” Ironically enough in the “lazy” quiz the more questions that you check off of the 100 questions the lazier you are considered to be. In my opinion a lazy person wouldn’t look through and check off 70 of 100 questions, but that’s an entirely different argument.

Taking these quizzes for the fun of it and not allowing it to affect your mentality is a perfectly innocent endeavor. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that these quizzes slightly affect your mindset regardless of your intent. But regardless of your intent, the entire point of taking that quiz is to find out how you can now label yourself.

Additionally — irrespective of whether or not my suspicions are correct about these quizzes altering ones mindset — there are much better ways to spend one’s time rather than taking these ridiculous questionnaires.  Ever since these quizzes have been popular, 7.8 quizzes on average are created every day. I recently read an article that stated “One thing worth noting is that BuzzFeed is capturing some user data for these quizzes and is ‘exploring best practices for its use’ on the sponsored side. Still, the quizzes are in no way scientific, and so to glean user data from them, is to mine spurious information. This isn’t news to the company, but according to Hynes, the info ‘offers great insight into who our users are.’”

Another astonishing fact is that 96 percent of users that begin these sponsored quizzes end up finishing them as well. Which mean that these quizzes aren’t simply being taken for fun but with an end result in mind. Another shocking fact from the article is that “According to Burton, users like quizzes so much that in some cases they’re taking them more than once. For example, 37 percent  of those who read ‘Which of these is your favorite restaurant chain’ completed the quiz twice.” With this “eyes on the prize” mentality it becomes more difficult to deny that these results matter to each user.

I implore each of you to put away these quizzes. Not only are they a blatant waste of time and a lowly provider of stimulation to those that spend the time to take them, but they also create wrongful stigmas. I also don’t care to find out which Harry Potter character you may be, and I would rather not be assaulted by these quiz results in my news feed. If you want to find out what type of person you are, the best method to find out is some simple self reflection. If, years from now, you haven’t reached any level of self-fulfillment because you consider yourself a Ron Weasley, extremely lazy and a bohemian-wedding-loving person, make sure you take the quiz that tells you that it’s not me, it’s you.

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