Questions with friends: Hosting my first Zoom quiz night

These past couple of months I’ve been pretty good at calling up friends, mainly to catch up but also to see how they’re finding isolation. The usual conversation topics circle around and I feel comforted knowing I’m not alone. How ours job are affected, what we’re doing to stay entertained and what new recipes we’ve tried are all questions for which we have answers prepared, and have probably repeated multiple times. But what about questions we’ve never been asked?

This week I was craving some new conversation topics, some general knowledge, and the opportunity to virtually hang out with my friends without talking about “the situation”. I decided it was the perfect time to organise a quiz night over Zoom. I’d seen some screenshots of people’s Zoom quiz nights on social media, and felt inspired to try it myself.

A group message went out to my friends and I asked them if they’d be keen. All were in favour and so I gave them the all important format for how this quiz night would work. There are many ways I could have organised it, and in the end I settled for each person selecting a theme of their choosing and coming up with five questions for that theme. Each person had to nominate their theme ahead of time, so there was some variety and no double-ups. Each person would ask their own questions to the group and there would be no teams. Everyone would write their answers down on paper, and mark their own answers. While I could have organised teams and had one quiz master, I wanted to give people the joy and satisfaction of asking their own questions, and I trusted people would mark their own answers honestly.

From “Bananas” to “Influential Women”, and “Pasta” to “World Leaders”, everyone nominated a theme and I was already excited for what would be a true array of questions. The theme I nominated was “2004”, a year all of us were in our pre-teen and teenage years. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and memories, and wanted to see how much people could remember, not necessarily what they knew as fact.

On the night we all took turns asking questions under our chosen themes, either learning something new or celebrating a point with each answer. There were also conversations and stories that went with some of the answers, providing an extra boost to our general knowledge. It was an enjoyable way to pass two hours, all while enjoying each other’s company and not thinking about the outside world. Some new fun facts I learned from this quiz were:

  • In 1838, Australia banned swimming at the beach and the law wasn’t repealed until 1902. That means there would have been whole generations that never knew how it felt to swim in the ocean!
  • There is a type of Banana in Africa called ‘Rhino Horn Banana’ that can grow up to two feet in length.
  • China is sometimes credited as inventing pasta.
  • A woman named Lizzie Magie invented Monopoly.

For the record, only one friend scored 5/5 on my “2004” round. Out of my five questions, the one that had people truly second guessing themselves was:

Released in 2004 and selling 130 million units worldwide, which mobile phone has been labelled the most iconic phone of 2004 and one of the most influential phones of all time?

I could tell most people were tossing up between brands, with Nokia likely in there as an option, and the answer to this question is the Motorola RAZR V3. I never owned one of these phones but I distinctly remember some of my friends having it as their first phone.

On the topic of phones and technology, I’m grateful we live in a world where something like Zoom can enable us to stay connected during times of isolation. Among the positive feedback I got at the end of the night, one friend told me she’s already decided what her theme will be for the next time. Looks like this won’t be the last isolation quiz night, and I’m certainly not complaining. Next time I might take a step back into the 1990s and make people remember their childhoods, at least when times were much simpler than now.


Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

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