Like most people I waste about 50% of my life on the internet watching YouTube clips and finding wacky pictures of cats to share with friends. However, I am finding my latest form of web procrastination to be a deceptively heavy exercise that tends to result in a minor identity crisis.
BuzzFeed quizzes have become incredibly popular and seem like fun – until the results are in and your ego is shattered into oblivion by the claim that you would be Sophie if you were a Peep Show character.
It's possible that quizzes that ask you to pick your favourite picture of an animal in a jumper in order to assess which country you should live in are not actually intended to be taken too seriously. However, I find it hard not to interpret these ‘quizzes’ as legitimate psychological tests that frequently produce unsettling results.
Recent quizzes have informed me I am getting an 'F' in the School of Life, I would be Judas if I were one of Jesus’ disciples and if I were a famous turtle I would be Bowser because I "enjoy being evil for evil’s sake". These brutal character assassinations are nothing short of cyber-bullying. Many put the success of these quizzes down to the fact that they give us a very easy solution to the problem of defining our own identity. If this is the appeal, then I feel results characterising people as losers or complete bastards should probably be scrapped.
Other results have not offended me but have produced shocking revelations which occupy my attention for far too long. Apparently the planet I should actually live on is Mars because I fight for what I believe in and don’t let obstacles get in my way. Really? I always thought I was a slightly apathetic pushover. Bombshells like this lead either to a cringe-worthy number of retakes or, worse still, genuinely re-evaluating what I think of myself based upon a 1 minute quiz that was supposed to be fun.
Maybe I have too much time on my hands or maybe I just have a very fragile perception of myself, but for whatever reason BuzzFeed is resulting in a regular identity crisis. This should never be the result of viral time wasters – I am sticking with pictures of cats from now on.