According to Wikipedia, “A listicle is a short form of writing that uses a list as its thematic structure, but is fleshed out with sufficient copy to be published as an article.” If that isn’t clear enough, think about every BuzzFeed article and click-bait blog post written in the last two years.
Here I have presented you with "4 Tips for Writing Your First Listicle" to help you get off the ground with this modern article style:
1. You don’t have to budget your time at all.
Writing a listicle takes almost no effort and zero forethought. Often a listicle refers to something the author is already an expert on, so it requires minimal research or discussion on their part. With this foundation, the last 10 minutes before the deadline is the perfect time to begin crafting your masterpiece. Go ahead, kick back and enjoy your Friday night.
2. Choose something that requires no additional research.
This second tip is related to the first, as you can dramatically cut down total time spent caring about what you’re writing. The most common choices for a listicle include anything related to your hometown, growing up, your university, friendships, and other everyday monotony.
3. The more Tumblr GIFs you can include, the better.
Make your audience feel at home by imitating their favorite social media platform, Tumblr. Reaction GIFs and memes only enrich your writing. This tip is also a time saver, as these images are often quite large, buffing up your page length. The best ones to choose are Disney related. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, so you don’t have to write them!
4. Make every point like a pair of “pants.”
Let me explain this one. The Oatmeal, an Internet comic artist, many years ago wrote a critique of the "Twilight" character, Bella, comparing her to a pair of pants. He theorized that Bella’s image was so basic and had so little development and fleshing out that any reader could imagine herself as Bella and consequently, wrapped up in a fantastical romance. Try to achieve this same effect with your listicle points! If your points are also basic and open ended, more people will agree with you and will be more likely to share your article.
Personally, I have found that my own addiction to reading listicles, in addition to spending long amounts of time browsing the Internet, has begun to negatively interfere with how I read academic writing or books. I become distracted faster and easily bored with details, skimming everything. It’s not just me, either. Last year, Microsoft conducted a study that our average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds, shorter than that of a goldfish, and they have attributed this to an increased “multi-screener” society. The biggest problem with the listicle-style article is lack of content, obviously. While a listicle provides a convenient, effortless mode of reading, details and evidence in an article help the audience comprehend the information and engage critically with new ideas. Another critic of listicles referred to those fond of this style as “sheeple,” meaning just another mindless statistic moving along with everyone else. If you continue patterns of writing them and reading them, you are emulating a trend that has been recognized and used by companies to bait you into ceaseless clicking, further exposing you to advertisements and other garbage. While this article is not meant to offend those that have written or are avid readers of listicles, I wrote it with the intention of bringing to light the aggressive dominance that listicle-style articles have achieved on social media. Our feeds and walls are overflowing and we should strive to click elsewhere or finally crack open a book.