Which Harry Potter Character Are You?
It seems to be the question on everyone’s lips. Which Harry Potter character, which Star Wars character, which Twilight character… they’re all essentially the same. I am sure that you have seen this question clogging up your Facebook feed, notifications from friends saying “Yay, I am Dumbledore” and then a link to take one of a growing number of internet quizzes that ask you personal questions and give you the answer that they think you want. (HINT: If you have clicked on ANY of these links, I can assure you that you are not Dumbledore, regardless of what the quiz tells you. At most you are a Neville, a Dobby, or a Seamus Finnegan.)
So, why are these quizzes as popular as they are?
I don’t know. We could say that it is because people like to feel that they are something more than they are not. I don’t agree with that. I think it is just another in a long line of mindless entertainment. You care about these characters and you want to identify with them as much as possible. Answering some seemingly harmless questions and then getting an even more generic synopsis of how you are alike allows us to identify with them.
Now, notice how I stated that these questions were seemingly harmless. People are up in arms about the NSA tapping their phones, implanting their children with tracking devices, and monitoring our email, but we will give all sorts of information in these Facebook quizzes. While telling someone what your favorite movie is, which song you like the best, your favorite food, etc. by itself does not seem like that big of a deal, what we are actually giving is marketing data on ourselves. By the end of the quiz, you have identified yourself as a science-fiction fan (because you picked Star Wars), a fan of classic rock (Pink Floyd’s “Money”), a Dr. Pepper drinker (because you prefer Dr. Pepper, duh), someone who would like to vacation at the beach, and probably enjoys hamburgers (due to other information that you have given). Spread out through these questions are other questions that do not collect data, like which class at Hogwarts you most want to take, which trait you value most, and which house you would want to be put in.
After all that, you are given your answer. You are Snape, Lupin, Fred Weasley, Tonks, or whomever. Being proud of this “accomplishment” you decide to share to your Facebook and you grant this application the ability to link to your Facebook, which has then given this quiz your name and location.
You have just allowed them to collect even more data on you.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I am a conspiracy nut, because I’m not. I don’t have a tin-foil hat and I don’t think Major League Baseball is out to get me.
I choose not to take these quizzes because it does not matter what the quiz tells me; it doesn’t matter which Harry Potter character I am. I am not Grand Moff Tarkin, Beaker, Hurley, Ross Geller, or the Pink Power Ranger.
I am me.
Which is nice…