24 July 2017

being #42

A Facebook friend posted a graphic of the results of one of those fun little quizzes that are so prevalent on FB.  But the result of the "Who Secretly Loves You" quiz was mean!  Her photo and first name were displayed along with the statement "Sadly, no one loves you."  Of course she was unfazed and undaunted by the result.  It is, after all, entertainment.  Someone else commented about doing the quiz also, with the same results - often the outcome of any quizzes - along the lines of the assigning of a "guilt by association peer group" 😎.

But what was the point of a mean result?  Maybe to draw attention to the quizzes?  The quizzes are intended to be mindlessly entertaining fun, aren't they?  Even so, the results are not usually mean.  So what was supposedly entertaining about that one?  The result does not refer to any particular type of "love", like romantic, caritas, friendship, parental, universal . . . ad infinitum . . . but that particular quiz is not the point of this comment.

There is also a post going around about something that has been on my mind, of late, associated with the abuse of the field of psychology, particularly by advertisers - but in actuality  anyone trying to sell something, including selling an ideology like the efforts of religious and political ideologists who are extreme zealots and want to forcefully superimpose their views onto others.  (There is rarely a fine line between sharing information about the battles we choose, and trying to "convert" others to embrace our views.  When we know other folks have not done their own research and drawn their own conclusions about an issue, it is foolish to want to "convert" anyone who has no reason for considering an issue to be one of personal interest.  But that is an issue beyond the scope of this comment.)  The post going around in the paper and online is speculation about the motivation behind these harmless seeming entertaining little FB quizzes.  Essentially, the article and video concluded what we already know, that these little quizzes are not necessarily intended to be as entertaining and harmless as they may seem to be, because: 
1) we give - access to our feed and our contacts and whatever personal information the makers of the quizzes can glean in their efforts to manufacture profiles, by conjecture, about us and our contacts;

2) we provide - those who create the quizzes with information about ourselves which they use to extrapolate what is then sold as a lot of psychological profiles based on their quizzes; quizzes which use transparently classic psychology models to label and categorize people; models that supposedly dig into the subconscious in an effort to use what is hoped will be discovered as subconscious weaknesses in people to be exploited (as if folks do not routinely do their own digging into the subconscious to the extent of having mastered control over it, while continuing to toss out whatever trash is found upon further reality check self-inspections);

3) we help - the quiz makers fulfill their profit-making purposes via their labeling and categorizing of people to create profiles they sell to advertisers . . .  or anyone else who is buying (e.g. political parties, religious organizations, governments -foreign and domestic, maniacal despots, you name it . . .  😎 );

4) we get - huge amounts of spam e-mail and scam phone calls because the access to information about us and our contacts has been sold.  
Even so, sometimes the quizzes are fun - sometimes!  My own life has been an open book for decades (of course not by choice - it felt extremely invasive at first because it was ) but I know when doing a quiz that I am not revealing anything about myself that is "secret" or "hidden" from myself. (Yes, I actually know myself better than anyone else does, and have since pre-teen days many decades ago.)  Although, clearly there is much about me, and everyone else being entertained by the quizzes, that is apparently hidden from those who write the quizzes, and do the profiling to sell to all bidders.  Their profiling is based on a combination of what we self-identify through answers to quiz questions, and whatever other information that taking the quiz has provided permission for them to glean from our feeds, likes, comments, and contacts.  The profiling also aims to establish the old favorite "guilt by association" as part of the profile being sold.  This is nothing unusual.  Cell phone apps do all the same profiling and selling.  When we use them our privacy is non-existent, although any type of over-the-air access renders privacy compromised, anyway - another topic beyond the current scope of this one.

But why make it easy for those whose intent is certainly not selfless, nor as harmless as we might want to assume, even if it is momentarily entertains us?  I usually delete the quiz website from my FB Apps section after doing one - more precisely after starting or finishing one because I start more quizzes than I finish.  Usually I do not choose to finish a quiz after a question or two is presented of limited choices I would not make, for example a group of garish irritating colors being offered among which one is asked to choose the most "appealing", or only subjective choices that skate over the edge of being ethical  with there being no choices resembling ones I might consider making. 

I figure if the people who create the quizzes want to categorize others for their purposes (profit-making from information mining) then if they are not willing to try to do it with at least minimal accuracy, I'm outta there after the second question which offers no acceptable responses!  Hasta la vista baby . . .  I'm gettin' outta Dodge . . . .  😎.

So!  Who is #42?  And what does #42 have to do with Facebook quizzes?  Well, he is a bold little critter with moxie who needs to be set free from being a captive rat in a maze, literally, and provided with a forever home as a pet, imho.  (Click on the caption below for #42's story.)
"Asshole Lab Rat Really Screwing With Scientific Study"
I like #42's approach to being a lab rat which demonstrates a well-known quantum mechanics phenomenon, an observer effect which means the creation of "opportunities" to observe changes the outcome of what occurs - sort of like when we have fun doing the little psych test quizzes. 

The take away?  If you want to know about someone, ask that someone directly.  Don't skulk around sleuthing and trying to make lab rats of people for profit, by employing transparent psychological testing and asking everyone else under the sun, except the person of interest - as if that person does not know or would not be honest about self.  Most people know best about themselves, I know I do.  And  most people, including myself, have no interest in misrepresenting themselves, even less in being misrepresented by others.

So, I leave you now, smiling and thinking about which fun little quiz to take next.  Hmm . . . . maybe one about past lives - if the questions provide good choices.  Past life quiz results are always so interesting . . .