Cape Town - It’s tempting to describe listicles as journalism popcorn. But listicles are more than a snack you can’t get enough of, they are a drug. Here are nine Things Listicles Have Taught Me About Listicles (And About Myself).
1) I Have No Self-control
I will not click. I won’t. Step away from the mouse, I tell myself. Slowly. Just do it. I take a deep breath. As much as I want to I will not click on the link 23 Kids Having A Worse Monday Than You. It will be pictures of children falling out of trees, hurtling into walls, colliding into one another, tripping, crashing, bumping, burping, farting, smashing. It will be so much fun, but no. I can’t. I must move on. Making one’s way through cyberspace is like walking a tightrope.
On my left are Nine Reasons To Be Eternally Grateful For Martha Stewart’s New Instagram Account. On my right are The 19 Wiggliest Cat Wiggles Ever Wiggled.
I won’t click. I won’t. Damn, I clicked.
2) Being A Listicle Junkie Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be
I can spend five hours in a single sitting clicking from list to list – and that’s just at work.
One moment you’ve clicked on 37 Jokes Only Breaking Bad Fans Will Understand and the next moment it is Thursday. Goodbye GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), hola LAD (Listicle Addiction Disorder).
3) Odds ’n Sods
Listicles tend to be odd numbers – there are 37 or 43 or 13 items on a list. Perhaps scientists dedicated their huge intellectual capacity to working out that the average keyboard worrier is 23 percent more likely to click on, like and share lists that have odd numbers.
4) 7 Ridiculous Listicles (A Listicle Within a Listicle #SoMeta)
11 Things to Never Say to a Man Whose Head Has Been Sheared Off by a Sheet of Glass
10 Thoughts in Defence of Funeral Selfies – From a Funeral Director
46 Animals Having a Better Summer Than You
21 Times Aragorn From Lord of The Rings Had Better Hair Than You
21 Decisions You Will Immediately Regret
10 Reasons Snoop Dogg is a Better Friend Than You
5) One Listicle Crossword Clue
Five ways a journalist I clean hides arbitrary inventory (8)*
6) Listicle Logic
Listicles have become the most popular way to consume news, which is why reporters are known as journaLISTS. Because of listicles our information is chunked and dumbed down, making us stupid. We’re on track to becoming a population of Darwin Award contenders (see: Seven Stupidest Ways to Accidentally Kill Yourself – No 3 is playing music too loudly and No 4 is “dying ironically”). So, listicles will bring about the end of humanity. It’s the Age of the Apocalisticle.
7) Not Everything With a Number is a Listicle
Four horsemen of the Apocalypse
8) Two Listicle Anagrams
9) Early Listicles
Listicles are not new. In the olden days before the internet, Cosmo offered 43 Sexual Positions That Will Drive You Wild (But Land Him in Hospital) and Paul Simon boasted 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. And, of course, the first listicle was The 10 Commandments (not an odd number. And is probably why it doesn’t get many social-media shares).
* LISTICLE: the answer is hidden (“hides”) in “journaLIST I CLEan”.