What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Personality quiz...

What's your Jung-Myers-Briggs personality topology? How do you rank on an IQ test? Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Two of these are common online personality surveys. The other is a popular TV show that reveals what we already knew to be true: Pretty people aren't always smart people.

When the online personality craze began -- or when messages related to the craze first entered my world through a Facebook notification -- I considered these tests to be sophomoric exercises in vanity designed to entertain teenyboppers and the reserve army of the unemployed. I still believe this, of course, except now I identify with these people categories and am perfectly comfortable spending a few minutes every day psycho analyzing myself.

I wonder if the shrinks who design these quizzes know how addictive they are. They have to have an incling. I think they even plan the "Internet connection failed" glitches that force you to go back and reenter all your data a second time. After all that work punching in our info, we can't leave now without knowing our four character typology! I need my IQ number! So instead of acting out my intelligence, I press the refresh button and start over, hoping for a better connection next time.

This morning I was tackling one of FB's numerous personality profiling tools. It doesn't matter which one; they are all the same, only with varying spelling and grammar errors. I figured I would knock out a quick test before breakfast so I would have a good idea of the intelligence I would have to work with for the day. It was like checking the oil on your clunker before hitting the highway.

I was happy with how quickly I was moving through the questions. Each response was simple and there were usually only one or two options per query. I could see a pattern behind the test's construction and worked deliberately to create a positive result. My Internet connection was solid and it looked like the oil would come out full. But I started getting hungry. Page after page of questions filled my screen and I started to wonder if I was completing an IQ test or e-Harmony's notoriously extensive personality profile. I was pretty sure I was over 29 levels of compatibility by now.

40, 50, 60 questions I answered, obediently watching the little firefox circles turn as the pages advanced. I knew I was doing well, but this was taking a long time. I made a mistake on a question and had to go back to fix it. I ran into a question that required some thought and opened a new tab to enter a term into my Quicktionary. That search took too long (Quicktionary is almost as bad a misnomer as "JiffyLube"), and I guessed on the answer. Then Quicktionary found the term and I had to go back and correct the guess.

I spent just over forty minutes mulling, revising, answering and reanswering the questions. Then, without warning, the screen went white. Did I want to support site's sponsor? Did I want to purchase a discounted vacuum cleaner? Did I want to become more virile? These are the questions I had to answer before the Internet would reveal my score.

Then it happened. My number appeared. That couldn't be right. I was well below average. I knocked the monitor with my palm, as if the impact would jar my score to another percentile. This was my worst test yet and I had passed a shorter version the day before with flying colors. How could it do this to me?

My confidence is shot. I worry that everyone I meet will have seen my sub-par scores and will question my intelligence. I am concerned that nothing I say will be taken seriously because all will focus on my two digit IQ instead of my ideas. This one test has cast me into an eternal realm of intellectual irrelevance. Here will I sit in the spongy mire and pity myself...until tomorrow when I can take another quiz.

Man, I am starving...


Rachel said...

After all, if FB says it, than it must be true...

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