Online Quizzes as Viral, Consumption-Based Identities

Stephanie N. Berberick, Matthew P. McAllister


Complexities in digital spaces problematize virtual-identity construction. Online commercialization trends that often take the form of native advertisements, including identity quizzes featured on websites such as BuzzFeed, exploit incentives for a branded self and the immaterial labor of users to create and share messages. Thus, identity politics are often depoliticized amid virtual environments that rely on ties between identity and consumption in either native advertisements or copy designed to draw users to advertisements. This article analyzes sponsored and unsponsored quizzes from BuzzFeed and resulting commentaries, arguing that in these cases, identity is often circumscribed around digestible, consumption-based “results.” This article also considers how the quiz phenomenon reflects trends in viral native advertising as it pertains to constructing virtual selves.


identity, BuzzFeed, identity quizzes, native advertising, virality, digital capitalism, free labor

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