Last week, when a Facebook friend of mine shared her results for the “What’s Your Inner Potato?” BuzzFeed quiz, she unleashed a monster. Initially, this had me wondering why people actually enjoy taking these kinds of completely arbitrary and obscure quizzes, but also thinking about how many types of potatoes there really are out there. But when my curiosity got the best of me, it made me take the quiz.
I won’t judge you if you stop reading this column right now so you can hop on to your computer and take the potato quiz (I got French Fries, in case you were wondering) — but be aware, as I’m sure you are, that if you’re looking for some direction in life, BuzzFeed quizzes aren’t going to give you any. They’re ridiculously fun to take, but are about as helpful as getting relationship advice from Siri. None of us need to know what kind of font or sandwich we should be, and none of us plan to pack our bags and leave the country if a quiz tells us we should live in Antarctica, but we’re just as hooked to learning our results anyway.
There’s no denying that these quizzes are the perfect, amusing distractions and procrastination tools for any college student trying to avoid falling asleep in physics. I know that if I’ve been assigned to analyze the cinematography and mise-en-scene elements of a two-hour-long, foreign film, I really shouldn’t be going on BuzzFeed to take personality quizzes. But one look at my Facebook News Feed and I force myself to justify finding out what kind of dog I am or what my favorite Pokémon character says about me. Even if I’m incredibly busy or have too much homework, I usually convince myself that if I don’t take the quiz, I’ll be left too curious to actually focus on the work I have to do.
But the worst part about these quizzes’ effect on me is that I can never just take one and move on with my life. Like many others, I have a love/hate relationship with analyzing the results. We either love them so much that we want to share them with everyone we know or hate them so much that we retake the quiz again and again to get the results that “make more sense.” It’s not like we expect these descriptions to confirm real truths about who we really are, but nobody wants to find out that they’re a bad BFF or the Ringo of their friend group.
After repeatedly answering a bunch of completely random, “Pick your Channing Tatum”-type questions, I’m still sad about supposedly being a Great Dane instead of an adorable Corgi or lovable Doge. But these things are for sure: I’m never going to be an environmental science major (I barely passed ENVR30) destined to live in France and eat burritos for lunch every day, but my short attention span and easily amused personality will inevitably lead me to happily taking more BuzzFeed quizzes. Keep them coming, BuzzFeed, but for the next dog quiz, save me some time and just make me a Corgi.