Which are your five favorite movies? What ancient ruler are you most like? Who is your favorite character from Gilligan's Island? What Grateful Dead song are you? What Harry Potter wizard are you? Can you list 25 randomly annoying things about yourself? How many hours have you wasted taking - and reading - these ridiculous quizzes?
(I was going to write a cute line at the end of that list of surveys, saying "Which one of these isn't an actual quiz on Facebook?", but in doing a tiny bit of research I discovered that just on Quibblo, an affiliated quiz site, there are 613 quizzes about the Twilight series alone, so probably no matter what weird topic I would make up for a joke, someone has probably already created a quiz about it!)
I'm obviously not the target market for these quizzes ("How obsessed with the Jonas Brothers are you?"), but I'm not the only adult on Facebook these days. I regularly hear from high school classmates, people I used to work with, even old boyfriends, and it's also a great way to check up on my teenage son, even if all I usually learn is that "David is bored and thinks he'd like some ice cream". I tend to check it every few days, scroll through a mind-numbing list of tedious updates ("Melissa is psyched for the weekend", "Joey loves pizza, yo dude"), post an occasional staying-in-touch-note ("Love the photo, your kids are gorgeous"), and ignore the rest. But the other day I saw a theater colleague post his score from a 'how-well-do-you-know-Broadway-musicals" quiz, and challenging his Facebook friends to try to top him. I couldn't resist the challenge - and in fact I came within a few points! - but I can't believe I let myself get sucked in. I spent valuable time trying to remember how many Tony Awards were won by Angela Lansbury, and I realized how dangerous these quizzes can be.
There are tens of thousands of them on every conceivable topic (including art and literature, not just Zach Efron's love life, although that's there too), so no matter what subject you think you know, there is a quiz to tempt your vanity. I wonder how people have time to take all these quizzes - and then I start to wonder about the quiz creators. Like when those e-cards started popping up all the time, and I'd wonder who had the time (or inclination) to create a bunch of singing teddy bears or fluttering birds unfurling a 'happy spring!' banner. Hello, people, don't you have anything better to do? And don't get me started on Twitter (do I really need to see hourly 'tweets' about what someone is thinking about eating for dinner, what he ate, and what it did to his digestive tract?0
Making fun of Facebook and Twitter is ridiculously easy, like shooting fish in a barrel (or making fun of George W. Bush's word use); but someone has to point out how insane we're all getting, before everyone drinks the Koolaid and think we really need to spend our valuable time determining what beer we are (or trying to prove I know more about musicals than my friends). So here's a quiz for you; would you rather a) take 10 Facebook quizzes a day, b) catch up on sleep, c) have sex, d) read my blog, or e) go out and get some fresh air? (Hint, if you answered a), you probably won't have much time for the other activities!)