Why do we write stuff in a list? First, let’s see what are the good points of lists. We’ll discuss cons later.
Easy to write : It is generally (though, not always) easier to list 10 posts from other blogs than writing a full original article.
They allow killer titles : I already talked about the importance of posts titles, and indeed that is a really important thing in blogging. List posts allow very good titles as such as “10 things to do to finally make money with Adsense” which are obviously more brandables than a simplier “Quick tip to improve your Adsense earnings”.
It allow young blogs to stands out of the crowd : The hardest time for a blog is the beginning, especially when it is your first blog. List posts are a good way for an unknown blogger to get his first readers, Twitter followers and RSS subscribers.
(Most) readers like them : Go see Digg or Delicious.com frontpage : Most of the time, at least half of the featured posts are lists, and this is in my opinion the main reason why bloggers are producing so many lists : to gain popularity.
It allow you to create “best of” compilations : Each singer, musician or band have released at least one best-of album, which is nothing else than a compilation of the band’s best songs. List post are quite the same thing but for blog posts. “Best of” albums sells pretty well, and list posts works pretty well.
This is what the usual List is all about. The first thing to come out in mind – I guess. As Cathal Kelly quoted “Shortly after God created beer and awkward silences, he blessed us with lists. Lists make garden variety idiots seem like Greek scholars. And vice versa. Mostly vice versa.
Here’s the top 10 proof… “.
1 – The FBI has so many firsts to take credit for – fingerprinting, cross-dressing, top 10 lists. As the decade closes, their Ten Most Wanted is still full of eerily familiar supercriminals and fun arcana. Like, did you know that Osama bin Laden is left-handed? That is, just in case you’re hiking through the lawless parts of Pakistan and stumble into an Al Qaeda camp with a satellite phone, a stun gun and a pressing need for Yankee reward money
2 – Hands down winner for most pretentious list ever compiled – Richard Brody’s “Films of the Decade” for The New Yorker. After admitting that he hasn’t, like, seen a whole lot of movies, Brody goes on to tap a bucketful of obscure oddities – and Knocked Up – as the cream of the Noughties. We’re all for differences of taste, but the pedantic sprawl of The Darjeeling Limited as the second best film of the decade? Um. No. You’re wrong.
3 – So what is the best then? According to Slate’s compilation of all decade end movie lists, the critical consensus is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well, as Richard Brody might put it, ESotSM has the narrative compulsion of Sobibor and the vim of Fengming, but it’s no Eloge de l’Amour.
4 – Which leads us to an equally scientific review of the 100 worst movies of the last decade from Rottentomatoes. And if the one I have seen — Battlefield Earth at no. 27 — is any indication, then the worst 26 must cause serious brain damage.
5 – Nobody loves a list like Time magazine. Basically, Time is now a list compilation bookended by obituaries. But potential list fodder appears to be running thin on the ground. How else to explain the Top 10 list of Oprah protegés? You know, once Time lays it out like this, you’ll be amazed by how much damage this woman has done.
6 – Having played no video games at all over the last 10 years, I bring the requisite amount of childlike awe to Destructoid’s Top 50 of the decade list. That is to say, everything here looks like it was designed for someone who has badly misread the suggested dosage on their bottle of Percocet. So, for those who enjoy this sort of thing, is Frogger still popular?
7 – It’s normal to feel silly after repeatedly referencing “flower” in a cooking article or misremembering that “Horny” was not one of the Disney dwarves. But at least I haven’t placed Antarctic ice shelves in Jamaica or confused tails and genitalia. Thank you, Regret the Error’s media corrections of the year list. We (e.g. I) feel better now.
8 – Once in a while, it’s a good idea to step outside your listic comfort zone and let something totally incomprehensible wash over you. Like this rundown of the Top 10 Computer Programming Languages you should check out. What’s that? You don’t know any computer programming languages? Great. Then you’ll bring an unbiased view to Erlang – “the most natural answer to all concurrency problems you may encounter.” And now that you’ve finally got that concurrency thing figured, let’s concentrate on getting you out of your grandmother’s basement.
9 – It’s one of the notable failures of the English language that it needed roughly 1,500 years to come up with the word “foodgasm.” But now that we’ve decided what to call that ridiculous face you make when you try something tastier than melba toast and decide to really ham it up, they’re all over the Food Network. And, seriously, what’s Rachael Ray’s damage?
10 – Instead of grumbling about the inclusion of three Pete Doherty connected albums in NME’s Top 100 of the decade, why not concentrate on something a little more sublime. Discover’s Astronomy blog highlights the 10 best space photos of the year, culminating in the first Google Earth-type shot not taken on Earth.
After listing the good points of list posts, let’s have a look to the cons. Here’s what is comming to my mind :
Nothing original : A list post may be useful, it is nothing else than re-used content. There’s nothing wrong about listing useful content from other blogs, but you should also produce your own original posts.
It highlight other blogs, not yours : When selecting the X best blogs to learn about web design, you’ll obviously not showcase you’re own blog. But doing this, you’re highlighting content from other people, not yours.
Too many people are doing it : List are popular, list brings traffic and money, so most bloggers are writing lists posts, and it can be very boring for readers.
- Reference/Source: thestar.com by Cathal Kelly[Dec 21 2009]
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