In principle, I have nothing against using lists on the Web. In fact I HAVE used them quite extensively in the past (even on this blog) and they can be useful for presenting content in an accessible way. Plus they seem to work. If they didn’t, sites like Business Insider wouldn’t exist. But the one thing I find REALLY annoying about the use of lists is it encourages laziness to the point of parody. Authors of lists feel that they can stick any old crap in them because – with 10 items on their list – there’s plenty of depth to hide a couple of dud entries.
Another issue I have with lists is they inspire the author to feel as if they have a license to state the blatantly obvious. Many of the lists I stumble across on the Web include the most ridiculously simple information that it almost feels insulting to the intelligence.
And it goes something like this:
10 Insider’s Secrets On How To Lose Weight
1. Less For Success. Remember that eating fewer calories than you burn will speed-up weight-loss.
2. Fatboy Gym. Exercise can really help to burn off the calories, and it’s fun!
3. Dessert Scorn. High-calorie sweets can be lethal to the waistline.
4. Diner Downsize. When you eat out, order a salad or lighter dish!
5. You Booze You Lose. Cut back on the beer and your gut will be thankful
6. Fry’s The Limit. Don’t fry food. Grilling is healthier
7. Who Stairs Wins. Skip the elevator and take the stairs to give your metabolism a boost.
8. Friends With Weight Loss Benefits. Diet with a friend. You’ll be grateful of the moral support.
9. The Treat Is On. Allow yourself one treat every month, but don’t go overboard!
10. Chips And Hips. Avoid fast food or other snack food like chips. They’re loaded with salt and calories.
The sad fact is lists like these aren’t that uncommon. They’re easy and cheap to make, contain very few facts beyond widely accepted truths and add absolutely nothing of value to the reader. So as of today I’m on the hunt for the best list publisher on the Web. Something that actually contains some useful and interesting information that isn’t aimed at three-year-olds. If you find any let me know and I’ll profile you in my upcoming 12 Movers And Shakers Who YOU Need To Know About And How THEY Will Change YOUR Life post.
Tags: digital content