If you’re as addicted to Facebook as I am, you’re probably already familiar with social media quizzes. You know, the ones asking, “Which Ninja Turtle Are You?” or “What Song Sums Up Your Teenage Years?” These quizzes are everywhere online!

Here at the Indiana Historical Society, we wondered how we could use the quiz format in our travelling exhibit, The Next Indiana, to promote our state’s bicentennial in 2016. In 2013, we had visitors play a board game where participants answered Indiana trivia questions and moved their game pieces along railroad lines marked on a large state map.

In 2014, we wondered if we could reach a bigger audience by putting those trivia questions online.

After some experimenting, our social media quiz, “How Hoosier Are You?” was born.  (Click here to play.)

Screenshot of the How Hoosier Are You? quiz showing question: Which cartoon character was first drawn in Indiana? Dilbert, Marmaduke, Garfield or Charlie Brown

Want to create your own quiz? Here are some tips:

  • Get familiar with the style and format.Play several of these quizzes first, at buzzfeed.com, brainfeed.com and zimbio.com/quiz.
  • Choose a quizbuilder website. Playbuzz.com, for example, gives you a choice of quiz formats. I chose “definitive answer,” a traditional trivia game with clear right/wrong answers. This approach lets us ask Indiana history questions and participants are also learning something new.
  • Write your text.This involves creating questions, answers (including wrong ones!), the text that appears with each answer, and the results that appear when players finish the quiz. Keep the tone of social media quizzes lighthearted and casual, with a healthy dash of snark.  Imagine your audience as an interested beginner–someone who may know something about your topic but wants to learn more. Remember: social media quizzes are about pop culture, so help players make connections between your topic and what they already know. Music, sports, celebrity, TV and movies are good touchpoints.
  • Use media! Playbuzz lets you add media content (such as photos, maps, images and video) to use in questions, answer choices, answer results, and score reveals. This is an opportunity to feature content from your museum’s collections. Check the required dimensions and other specs for each media type before you start, and if you use content you don’t own, remember to pay attention to copyright. (Playbuzz has one particularly good feature: it requires a photo credit for all uploaded images; this way, you avoid use issues.)
  • Test your quiz with colleagues. They may have useful suggestions on language, images and other points.
  • Publish your quiz. Ask friends and patrons to share. Be sure to keep up with the comments players leave; great conversations can happen there.

Could a social media quiz benefit your museum?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Becky Schlomann is Coordinator, Bicentennial Programs in the Education and Community Engagement Department at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis: [email protected].