Lately I've been noticing that every article I read online is written in the form of a list. "10 things you miss about the '90s," "8 ways to get through school," "20 ugly Oscar dresses." Now, I too have been at fault here, writing a few list articles myself. But I've been wandering why lists are suddenly the most popular way to hand out information. I've found a few reasons for this, but I had to think of a way to write them down without it turning into yet another list. Fact is, it's just easier. I'm so tempted to make everything a list simply because it's, well, simple.
The human eye, especially in this age of internet and social media, automatically refrains from long passages, with few spaces. If it's a book, you know what you're getting into and you're usually interested. But online, a 500 word essay on Facebook about how someone tried to steal your idea for the next hit TV show featuring your cat in cosplay, is pretty much doomed from the get-go. So many writers turn to listing things. The benefits are endless. It's easier to write AND easier to read. You get a short headline, usually with a funny gif demonstrating it, followed by a few lines of explanation. This particular headline is not interesting to you? Just skip on to the next one. In fact, most people just read the headlines anyway. So they know what the "10 reasons to vote for Obama" are in general. They don't know why exactly, but they got the gist.
Granted, usually list articles are supposed to be funny. You mostly find them on sites like Buzzfeed or Cracked, and they usually don't list the most important things in the world. Unless you think Anne Hathaway's top 10 award ceremony mishaps are important. Which I totally do, by the way. Writing a comedy list is a good way to get laughs. It's light reading, gets the jokes across, and you can quickly move on to the next item.
The possibilities for lists are endless. Anything in the world can become an amusing list. Just think of things that happened to you today. You saw an old friend and chatted with him, you slipped on the curb and hurt your tailbone, you had an argument with the guy who took too long to order a latte. Now, take all these things and tie them up with a good title, like "Things that make you late for work" and Ta-Da- you got a list going. It works-- everyone is going to want to read about what made you late today, because odds are at least three of those things happened to them, too. It's the comedy in every day life.
So, why is everything on the internet a list now days? Probably because that's what readers want to read. It sums up everything you need to know, and all the information is easy to remember later, when you tell your friends about it. Lists are wonderful, but just remember that they're not the only solution. Look, you just read a none-list article right now. Was that so bad?