Are you bothered by articles with headlines like, 21 Euphoric Experiences for People Who Just Love Food, 11 Christmas Cards Only Cubans Would Send or 7 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Get Organized for the Holidays? (These are just a few of the articles on BuzzFeed’s home page as I write this.)
I don’t like them either, and I don’t read them. (Neither should you.) So I thought I would do something therapeutic by explaining what’s wrong with them.
- The name for this format is “listicle.” It suggests a popsicle. Sweet, cheap, and with no nutritional value. That should be enough to keep you away.
- Most listicles are unoriginal. The writers aren’t experts; they’re just organizing a bunch of other junk they found on the web.
- Listicles are a tired format. Maybe you enjoyed the first few. Even the first few dozen. But aren’t you sick of them by now? Or are listicles more like crystal meth where you just can’t stop even if you’re brain literally rots out of your head?
- A good writer only needs three reasons to explain something.
- You’re a mature person. You’ve learned to avoid jailbait and are probably not even tempted by it. Can you say the same about clickbait? The publishers don’t care if you learn anything from the listicle. They just want you to see the advertising surrounding the piece.
- Listicle sounds way too much like a synonym for gonad.
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