Listicle: a piece of writing or other content presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.
#1 The first item in a listicle had better be good
You only get one shot at a first impression. This is mine. Did it work? How’s my impression? You wanna continue reading? What’s that, you think this is a dumb meta concept? Fair, but just wait for what I got in store (hint it’s definitely GIFs)
#2 Listicles are designed to keep your eyeballs for ads
The ad revenue from listicles alone is definitely ridiculous. That’s probably why Buzzfeed is still in business. Also I’ve come across listicles with over 100 items.
#3 Buzzfeed was influential
This isn’t a positive or negative comment per se. Their platform rewards this format and as such it has allowed it to proliferate. This Buzzfeed contributor shows how mass produced content can be so successful and gain traction on their site.
#4 GIFs are almost required at this point because of our goldfishesque attention spans
#5 You can’t end on a strong note because you don’t know when your reader will get bored
Most writing and presentation advise says that you should finish on a high note. Stand up comedians put their best material last. The last few moments of an experience shape how you remember it, I’m looking at you restaurants-that-give-lollipops. I would put money on the fact that few people actually finish 100+ item listicles, so you have no idea what your last note will be!
#6 One of the items in the list is definitely a throw away entry needed to get the list to a nice round 10
Shamelessly this one.
#7 If the list has more than 7 items, it’s not made to be remembered
The term working memory was coined in the 1960s to describe the short term store in our mind. It’s famously been stated that seven is the maximum number of items you can store in working memory. It explains why there are seven of so many things: deadly sins, phone numbers, wonders of the world, days of the week, seas, colours of the rainbow, the list honestly just goes on and on.
#8 Bullet points & short paragraphs are easy to read (and write)
I was supposed to write an article a day for February, but I missed the 4th. This is me using an easy format to make up for the day I missed on the 5th. Honestly, I totally understand how common listicles are now. Writing this was almost trivial.
#9 Listicles are dead, long live the listicle
As much as I thumb my nose at listicles, here I am. Presenting content in list form does make it easier to understand. This 11-Step Guide to Listicles presents some very valid points, but doesn’t really acknowledge the irony of a listicle about listicles especially with the opening line “They’ve been done to death, and a lot of us are sick of them”.
#10 Did I mention GIFs?
It’s pronounced GIF, don’t @ me.