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Does the internet really know who I am?

“I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.”
Steve Martin

It’s an overcast Sunday and Emrys is off to work. Coffee in hand, I have the house to myself and conditions are just right for an introspective morning of Facebook personality quizzes. I’ve resisted their allure for years but the fact is that I’m 34 years old and there are some important things I should probably figure out. All of which begs the question: why haven’t I taken advantage of this resource sooner?

I guess the first obstacle is security. While I’m no conspiracy theorist, I can’t help but think that if someone wanted to maliciously gather data on a person, a quiz would pretty much be the ideal set up; particularly amongst the naive teen set. Along with not wanting to expose myself to phishing scams or viruses, I also have no particular desire to endanger my Facebook friends by association, as most of these apps want access to your friends list.

The second reason I’ve always avoided quizzes is that it’s annoying for your friends. I don’t suffer from the illusion that anyone cares what kind of underwear I am (yes, that’s actually a quiz) or what city I should live in. Seriously; no – one – cares. I’m not saying they don’t care about me but they sure as hell don’t care where I should hypothetically live and they don’t need my navel gazing inanity plugging up their news feeds. Am I being subtle enough here?buzzfeed

The third reason is that it’s frankly insulting. Am I seriously going to ask the internet to tell me who I am? Really? A barely literate quiz is going to provide meaningful insight into my life? It seems improbable. And if I sound a bit defensive about it all, it is no doubt due to the fact that, as a introspective person, I’ve already spent an inordinate amount of time taking other people’s judgments to heart and seeking out everyone’s opinion but my own. At this point, I really can’t think of any good reason to believe a stranger knows more about me than I do.

But enough of this seriousness. We’re here to take some quizzes! Surely I am mature enough to choose something relatively secure, something that will only annoy my friends briefly, all while not taking the results too seriously? I can do this! But where to start? Why is it that these Facebook quizzes are everywhere until you actually want to take one and then they’re hard to find?

The first quiz I find is What Career Should You Have? The app asks if it can post as me; which sets off all my security concerns. It seems like an awful idea. So I hit “yes”, my heart pounding in my chest. I somehow make it through the grammatically challenged quiz that follows, answering an inordinate number of questions about my fashion sense (still unsure how that relates to my career) and hit “show me my results”. And then I wait. And wait. Meanwhile, a large ad pops up obscuring my loading test results; it encourages me to flirt with teens who are online right now, which frankly seems like an even worse idea than allowing an app to post on my behalf. A minute goes by and it seems to me that I won’t get my results until I click that damn ad to get it out of the way but I dare not click anywhere near it. I close out of the screen, never getting my career results and hope to god I didn’t just get some sort of virus.

Ok, I need something a bit more… vetted. I find my way to playbuzz.com which seems safer. First up: How old is your soul? I suspect everyone wants to be an ancient soul and I have the urge to push my results in the opposite direction but decide that’s an easy out. I need to be honest about this. I proceed to take the test and as it turns out, I do indeed have an ancient soul! The results read as follows:

“You are wise beyond your years, you know exactly how to handle life and you make sure to never get caught unprepared. Your soul has been with us not for decades, but for centuries, dating back to Victorian times or even the middle ages. Ancient souls are here to teach others their spiritual understandings and lessons that they learned in all their years on this earth. They seek truth wherever they go and whenever they can, and have a finer sense of knowing what is true, more than any other souls level.”

Suck it, young souls.

Next up: Can This Tree Tell You Who You Are, which I choose primarily because it amuses me to take advice from an internet tree. This one is actually a one question quiz where you choose the part of the tree you identify with. I choose the roots and learn the following:

Roots are a basic necessity. They feed the tree, help it grow, and reach out to the nearest source of water. The fact that you picked the roots tells us that:
– You are a very passionate person. Always trying to help others.
– You are very intuitive, but sometimes fear to rely on your intuitions alone.
– You don’t give up easily.
– A lot of people are counting on you, and so far you haven’t let them down.
– You are suitable for detail-oriented jobs, like: accountant, lawyer and even doctor.

Ok, I’m actually starting to enjoy myself here. What’s next? How about: Which decade should you have grown up in? Ten questions later I am advised that I grew up right where I should have, in the 2000’s.

That’s when an utterly absurd title catches my eye: Which 2014 Movie Is Your Summer Boyfriend? I read the title again, hoping it will make sense the second time around. Can a movie be your boyfriend? Movies and boyfriends seem like pretty different things to me; but then I’m clearly well out of the targeted age bracket on this one. I answer the questions and am offered the following result: 22 Jump Street is your Summer Boyfriend! It goes on to tell me that I spent my summer “having fun and dispensing justice”. I am unsure what I am to do with this knowledge. Perhaps my husband and I will watch my Summer Boyfriend on Netflix tonight and we’ll take it from there?

Ok, one more. Let’s do Which Greek God/Goddess child would you be? As it turns out I am Apollo‘s child, and am advised as follows:

“Well, hello, Mrs. Perfect! You are the daughter of nothing less but the freaking God of the Sun and music! You tend to be quite perfectionist and constantly try to make your best at EVERYTHING. Come on, loosen up a little and try being a bit more like Dionysus and have some fun, but hey, don’t tell your father or he’ll kill you!”

With 5 quizzes under my belt I feel that is quite enough. I have to admit that some of the quizzes were better than others; or less awful at least. I actually kind of enjoyed the Tree and Greek God quizzes. (Why yes, I am passionate, intuitive, detail oriented, dependable and possibly just a bit perfectionistic? How insightful of you!). On the other hand, I loathe: How Old is Your Soul; Which decade should you have grown up in? and, worst of all, Which 2014 Movie Is Your Summer Boyfriend? Why does everyone want to be an old soul anyway? Frankly, I wouldn’t mind a fresh soul, if they’re are still any available?  And what exactly does one do with the knowledge that they grew up in the wrong decade? Sadly, due to my quiz results failing to load and/or being trapped beneath flirting teens, I’ll never know what my career advice would have been on that first quiz. So much promise lost.

Actually, you know what would be brilliant? A sort of performance art piece where a person based all their major life decisions on quiz results. What city should I live in, what career should I have, what should I name my children, what colour should my hair be etc. Let a Facebook quiz decide it all! Then again, it might not be all that much more random or ridiculous than real life.

Oh god, people are starting to like and comment on my quiz results. I’m horrified and I’m laughing out loud now. What have I done?

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Melissa
Melissa

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