Today we're going to talk about "listicles." For those of you that may never have heard the term, a listicle is a cross between a list and an article that is primarily read while sitting on the toilet. They're easy to write, and can be fun to read, but nothing is perfect and listicles are no exception. So here's a list of what's wrong with listicles.
1. Clickbait titles.
I fall for it every time! I'm sick of seeing "10 celebrities you forgot were hardened criminals," only to find out that number four was arrested for public urination. I know page-views are nice and all, but do we really need to resort to cheap tricks and inflammatory headlines just to get people to read our stuff? Why can't these sites just do what everyone else does, share your article on social media and guilt your friends into reading it.
2. There's too much list, not enough "-icle."
OK, so this may just be nitpicking, but come on! I'm not expecting a full doctoral thesis for each point, but you can do better than a simple one liner. If you don't at least try to back up your point, then your support for your argument is mostly coming from the GIF you chose. Which reminds me...
3. The GIFs don't make sense.
I mean, I get that you need GIFs in your listicles, but at least try to make them fit. If you're making a point about how important it is to always believe in yourself, I don't want to see a GIF of a puppy falling down a hill... I mean, I would actually love to see a GIF of a puppy falling down a hill, just not in that context.
4. They repeat themselves.
It's inevitable. If you're reading a listicle, there is a really good chance that at least one point will just be a restated version of an earlier one. Seriously though, did you run out of things to say? Why do you really need that extra point, if all you're gonna do is jumble words around? I don't know what's more insulting: that it happens, or that there is this assumption that we aren't smart enough to notice it.
5. They're all the same.
There's no variation anymore. It's all just lists of movies or books or clothes, etc. I'm tired of it! I don't care what you think are the top 17 TV shows of all time, you're probably wrong anyway. I want something bold, something daring. Just once I'd love to see a list like "top 12 ways to keep your sloth happy during winter." Now that'd be an interesting and original listicle. I'd read the crap out of that!
6. There's always one redundant point.
Without fail there is always at least one redundant point. Not just redundant, it's usually just restating what was said earlier, all they've done is changed the wording slightly and passed it off as a whole new point. Is it really that difficult to come up with an extra paragraph? As if we're not going to...wait a minute.
7. Number seven never surprises you.
See that? I lied to you. Doesn't that suck? I got your hopes up that number seven on this list would surprise you, and here you are learning a harsh but valuable life lesson. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. It's the same with all listicles. They promise something shiny, new, and exciting, but all you're left with is something you were honestly kind of expecting already.
8. They always disappoint.
Despite knowing exactly what I'm in for whenever I read a listicle, I always find some way to be disappointed by it. Whether it's because the author left off something I thought should have been included, or there's something that shouldn't be included but is. Maybe it's the choice of GIFs used, or just the subject matter in general. I've never finished reading a listicle and thought, "Yeah, I needed to read that."
9. What's with the odd numbers?
Why is it that every listicle is "13 different whatevers you didn't know existed" or "21 new etceteras that will change your life." Whatever happened to a good old fashioned top 10 list? Am I crazy? Is it just me? Am I the only one who's noticing this? I don't know. Just something I thought was weird.
10. They're all subjective.
This isn't really a problem with listicles, so much as it is something to keep in mind when reading. I mean, it's the nature of the listicle to be subjective. I honestly can't think of a single objective listicle. Though, if there was one, I imagine it'd be pretty boring. Just a headline like: "12 things that are true" followed by a list of 12 true things? Boring. Listicles aren't comprised of facts, and so there's no point in getting upset or angry about them. If you ever find yourself disagreeing with someone's listicle, congratulations; it means you have successfully cultivated your own identity and personality. If you find yourself getting upset or angry at a listicle, you have also cultivated your own identity and personality, but it might be a bad one and you should take some time to think about whether or not you want to be the sort of person who gets upset at other people's opinions on the Internet.