I read an article recently about how we humans will be the most well informed society ever to die of ignorance. The article blamed newspapers and magazines for reporting a wealth of data on Kim Kardashian’s butt and telling us what Jonathan Taylor Thomas is up to these days but not actually letting us know about world events. The article failed to report how much of this information comes from the latest way to be poorly informed about a host of subjects: the internet quiz.
The internet quiz has become the lifeblood of the internet. Yesterday alone I learned how well I know Taylor Swift’s cat, Olivia Benson (not well, apparently) and I found out which Harry Potter character I should have as my BFF (Hermione Granger, thank god.) A single internet quiz is a means of killing a few minutes, and I have killed my share of spare minutes. Of course, the problem is I do like 12 of them in a row and my spare minutes turn into wasted hours. Again I wonder what I used to do with my free time before the internet. With some relief I think I may have just been watching TV, which was a much more passive way to whittle away the hours. So there’s that.
What I find disturbingly enjoyable about some of the quizzes I've taken recently is that they show me my ratings as a percent compared to all the other internet denizens who've also taken the quiz. I find myself competing with total strangers for how many thrash metal albums I've listened to in my life and whether or not I've seen what are considered by user “Abbie316” as the goriest horror movies of 1991. I find it a personal victory whenever I rate in the top 20% of quiz takers. I guess I am naturally competitive.
I have even been known to make an internet quiz or two and share them with the world. I think it’s fascinating how wildly popular people find trivial information. It’s true that internet articles that begin with “do you remember…” are bound to get more views than ones that begin with “fighting erupts in…” I have to say that I think we’re better off for being able to pick from both of those headlines. Free press FTW.
In summation, Olivia Benson is a fluffy white smush-faced kitty, Hermione and I will soon be fighting the patriarchy with magic spells, and internet quizzes allow me to judge my self-worth based on how I measure up to total strangers on the internet.