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viewpoint

Snow day fun

| Monday, January 27, 2014

I’m actually pretty excited about these snow days. The campus is pretty. I don’t have classes. I can sleep in. Most of all, I can finally sit down and catch up on all those new Zimbio.com quizzes.
Personality quizzes have always been my guilty pleasure. During my teen years I would tear through Girl’s Life and Seventeen, looking for those pages that would tell me what my friends thought of me, where I should live or which Disney Channel star would make the best boyfriend for my unique disposition. Later I found whole databases of online personality quizzes, ranging from the somewhat-normal (“What kind of wedding should you have?”), to the strange (“Are you a born kingpin?”), to the this-really-shouldn’t-be-in-quiz-form (“Which voice part are you?”). There’s just something reassuring about having someone else, albeit someone of dubious credibility, explain your identity to you.
That said, some personality quizzes are better than others. Some, like the ubiquitous Meyers-Briggs Test, are so professional and thorough that you actually have to think hard about the answers, which is no fun at all. Others have answer choices so obvious that you know the results of the quiz before it’s over, taking away all the mystery (for example: “What do you do in your free time? (a) Roam the halls of Hogwarts as a cat, (b) Hang out with my two best friends in the Slytherin common room or (c) What free time? I have to use a time-turner just to get to all my classes.” Please.)
The perfect personality quiz is intelligent. Its questions are inclusive and pointed but not overly telling. It is well formatted. The font is clean, the questions are varied and, if it’s online, the page doesn’t reload every time you click an answer. It is relevant. My favorites are the ones that tell me which book, movie or TV show character I am.
That’s why I’m pumped about all these Zimbio pop-culture quizzes. The design is slick, the questions are unexpected and I don’t have to sacrifice my individuality to find out which Disney Princess I am. After just a few minutes, I can say with perfect certainty, I Am Ned Stark — honorable, hardworking and “an inspiration to us lesser mortals.” I am Princess Leia — bold, diplomatic and confident. I am Hermione Granger — intelligent and loyal. The quizzes are more than just a fun way to procrastinate during a snow day. They play a crucial role in shaping identities, in helping young people realize their full potentials and….
Wait a minute. I’m Haymitch Abernathy? That old drunk who barely got Katniss and Peeta through the first Hunger Games? How embarrassing. These quiz things are total scams. I’m out.

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