Since the preteen days of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, my friends and I have always had a fetish for those silly personality quizzes. Middle school was a time of personality crisis as we journeyed on the puberty train from girlhood to womanhood. Looking back on it now, we used the quizzes to figure out what kind of girl we were: a truth that only the Seventeen gods could tell us about ourselves.
A magazine quiz served as a method of discovery as much as an affirmation of the type of girl I saw myself as. If I were to end up getting Aaron Carter for my perfect match instead of Orlando Bloom, it was easy to go back and change the answers. I did so often.
Those BuzzFeed quizzes we’ve been seeing all over Facebook in the past couple months cater to the same needs as the magazine quizzes of our youth, but the nature of social media changes the game. We use social networks mainly to convey an image of ourselves to our friends and acquaintances. Status updates, tagged photos, and shared posts serve as our online personalities, and we can create whatever image of ourselves we choose. When people share their BuzzFeed quiz results on Facebook they’re doing just that.
“Thanks for sharing your result to ‘What Kind of Pasta Are You?’, random acquaintance from math class! I can tell from your result of fusilli that you’re pretty hilarious and goofy enough to take a pasta quiz, and perhaps we should be best friends because I also consider myself to be a fusilli kind of gal.” Nobody’s thinking that.
We’re recreating our preteen, magazine quiz-taking selves, but now we’re able to share our results with the world. If I were my mom ten years ago I would have said to myself, “Stop taking those silly quizzes and stop letting Seventeen Magazine define you.” Well, here’s a less dated version for all of you BuzzFeed quiz takers and sharers, including my beloved friends and even myself, once or twice:
Don’t let BuzzFeed quizzes tell you who you are. If you want to be a chocolate chip cookie, you be a chocolate chip cookie. If BuzzFeed tells you you’re an oatmeal cookie, screw them! Be your own cookie, and be your own person. Just for goodness sake, stop posting about it on Facebook.