I read a lot of websites and I'm very competitive. I want to know what everyone is reading if they're not reading me. I started looking at what these bloggers were writing that was bringing in so much traffic. Was it their witty prose? Was it their heart-warming stories of motherhood? Was it their parenting insights? Nope. Not even close. It's lists.
The Top 10 _____, Best 8_______, Got to Have 6______, Most Amazing 29______. These lists are out there on every site. I know I have lists too, but my lists are not in slideshow format, thus driving up pageviews with each click. Sneaky, right? All these websites that are driven by the almighty pageview have started turning every fucking thing they can into a slideshow list. I get my ass handed to me daily, because I refuse to bow to the pressure to make a 1,000 picture slideshow of the 1,000 Best Indoor Mall Playgrounds in North America.
I won't name actual lists I've found for fear of legal repercussions. Instead, I'll give you some examples that are as bad as the real ones:
Top 26 Vacation Destinations for People Over the Age of 65 (Yes, Branson, MO is number one)
Top 6 Names for Goldfish (spoiler alert - "Goldie" didn't even make the list)
Top 17 Reasons You Should Bike to Work Today (Number 18 got axed, but it was You have a fat ass)
8 Best Diaper Bags for Single Moms (Disclaimer: This is my own list because I'm designing a whole line of SMILF diaper bags that will hit stores in 2013 if my Kickstarter campaign comes through.)
What the hell? Why do so many people like reading lists? To me, lists are the lowest common denominator of reading. If you need the bulk of your reading material in a list form there is something wrong with you.
Sure, I think there is always room for a good, funny list and that's why I came up with this one (in a non-slideshow format, because I won't pull that shit on you):
Top 10 Reasons Why People are Compelled to Read Top 10 Lists:
1. It makes them feel like they actually "read" something today.
2. Reading a list of 10 items sounds a lot easier than reading a whole article.
3. Half the time they're reading on their phone while they're waiting for something and they're bored and they need to kill time so Top 10 it is, because Facebook is down.
4. It gives them something to talk about at the next dinner party they go to. "I just read a great list of the Top 10 Ways to Know if You're a Douchey Dad. Apparently we're surrounded by them!"
5. Dumb ideas sound a lot smarter in a list form.
6. They're usually accompanied by lots of pictures to divert readers from the lack of substance. (Sorry, this one doesn't have a slideshow or substance.)
7. It's easy for them to know there's not much left to read when they get to number 7. (Almost done!)
8. They think they'll learn something.
9. Then they realize they already knew everything on the list or the list does not live up to the title (much like this list) and they think they'll stop reading, but they're already at 9 and they need to know what the last one is.
10. Lists are fun reads and are cute. Who doesn't want to know the Top 10 Cute But Deadly Animals? I know I do!! (Hint: Who knew Siberian Chipmunks were so deadly?)
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