So, 10 reasons why posts that are lists are popular:
1 They offer some comforting predictability.
3 Unlike this one.
4 They are easy to write for the pressured writer (that’s only 20 words so far, but don’t it look handsome?).
5 They are easy to format for the time strapped designer.
6 At their best they are like Tapas (at their worst like a beige buffet where you must navigate a choppy course through a sea of vol-au-vents, with only a limp carrot your mast and wilting lettuce as your sail).
7 You can put lots of pictures in (eh yeah, sorry about that…).
8 In a dizzying world of information and statistics folk like things they can consume and digest quickly. A list offers the sense that someone has done the legwork for you. They have surveyed the topic and are giving you the essentials. This is a quaint and charming take on an approach that generally serves as dignifying the first 10/15 things that occur to the writer.
9 I secretly quite like articles that are lists.
11 But are we in danger of applying ‘listing’ to everything? Chopping everything into chewable chunks of separate facts. Lists are just one way of structuring information. It’s a story, but a simple story. It sets up an expectation and delivers. But, can we, and should we, tell other, more complex, stories more often?
11 Lists give a deceptive impression of objectivity even when they are wildly inconsistent (like this one).
11 Fast information is like fast food. Get some roughage, your bowels will thank you. Lists are often fun and entertaining but there is little room for nuance. There is a big wonderful, crazy, diverse world out there full of sadness, happiness, complexity and adventure. If all our news and opinion comes in small digestible chunks we’ll be missing out.