The Internet is consumed with lists. Every morning my RSS feed is full of articles from various sites breaking down intricate and... not-so-intricate topics into lists. I won't lie. Lists always catch my attention, and I appreciate the opportunity to opt for the cliff notes version whenever possible. Time is money, or in my case a few extra minutes of sleep. In honor of my love-hate relationship with all things countdown, I made my own little list about lists!
11. Round numbers need not apply. Have you noticed the popular trend to no longer have nice round numbers like 10 or 20 for countdowns? Somehow ending on an odd number makes the list seem edgier. For this list, I channeled my inner Spinal Tap and opted to crank it all the way up to 11!
10. Lists about de-stressing always make me feel more stressed out! At least once a week I see a list about how to de-stress on Facebook. I am always a sucker for reading tips on dealing with stress. Usually the countdowns start off with the obvious hot tips like "go for a walk" or "take deep breaths." These are great tips. Although, when the list continues on to "create a relaxation room" or "send yourself flowers," it makes me feel like these are just additional random things, which will only add more stress. At the end of the day, the "stress" countdown is really just a list of things to pick and choose from. They should come with a "select what works for you" disclaimer at the top for those of us who like to check everything off.
9. Advertisers love lists. Big companies use lists as a way to make you think about their products. It's a pretty genius way to advertise without about being so in your face about it. You can usually see who is sponsoring a list at the very top, and they typically stick with a theme. My guilty confession is that I did read and enjoy Charmin's BuzzFeed list for the "10 of the Best Songs About Butts." "Baby Got Back" is my karaoke jam. I know that is everyone's go-to, but my version includes choreographed moves. How can you top that?
8. They save you time. You can usually only read the headlines to get the point. I do have mixed feelings about this though. The cartoon angel on my shoulder says I should read everything and comprehend why it's there, but the cartoon devil on my other shoulder says I have better things to do! Really it just depends on what you want out of the list.
7. Lists are addictive. Remember what I said about saving time? The headlines hook you in and never let you go. While researching this article, I got seduced by lists like "29 Style Lessons from Instagram's Most Fashionable Puppies" and "43 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About 80's Cartoon Series." I had no idea cartoon ALF's real name was Gordon Shumway. Gordon sounds more like a creepy neighbor than a sweet, furry alien.
6. The super long lists start to get a little lazy mid-countdown. Is it just me being lazy or is it the list? I can't tell. Like all relationships, I'm sure it's a little both. Once you hit number 32 out of 67, you realize the author either got tired or somehow their Internet search for "69 Thoughts Everyone Has While Online Shopping" kind of start to blur together.
5. And... the longer the list the less pictures. Maybe I'm a little pampered, but my lists need pictures! I don't need GIFs even though I will fully adore all of them. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to read and my brain only wants images. If I start seeing a sea of text then I'm probably going to bailout early.
4. Credits, schmedits. Who needs to know the source material, right? Often, the sources credited for countdowns don't even link to the original creators. As a comic artist, this makes me sad. Most sites will attempt to credit the source, but if you click on the link it's not always reliable. My favorite credit I've seen is when the link simply goes to "tumblr.com." Cringe! The good news is there's an easy solution. If you create a funny GIF or illustration then make sure to include your URL at the bottom. This will at least give you the best chance at receiving credit when you reach Internet fame.
2. You get to load up on fun facts. You will never have a dull conversation ever again. Lists give you small little tidbits that let you add a little something to every conversation. Now, you don't want to go too crazy and only have your go-to line of "the human head weighs eight pounds," but it is fun to have a few random facts up your sleeve to whip out at trivia night.
1. You will always be able to catch the one thing they miss. The very best part of Internet lists is reading the comments. In fact, the best part of everything Internet is reading the comments. Even if you are dealing with top 100 countdowns, you will always see a slew of comments freaking out over what was missed.
Most lists are really just opinions clumped into an easy reading format. They have invaded our lives, and there's no turning back! Did you see something I missed about lists? Let me know in the comments.