Are there any media outlets left that haven’t resorted to headlines consisting of lists?
I am not exactly sure how this excuse for a story ever became popular, but it’s driving me crazy. It’s worse than mindless internet memes which attempt to encapsulate deep human lessons with a single phrase and humorous, yet ironic, picture. Frankly, memes are more successful.
A likely explanation for the tendency to create articles composed of numbered paragraphs is that this excuse for writing is easier and journalists, underpaid and overworked as they are, resort to them as a way to get words to paper with shorter and shorter deadlines. I’m not willing to pass the blame on to anonymous journalists in the ‘lame-stream media’, I actually believe in the power of the free-market and clearly, most of us like these things.
I recall a sales training many years ago based on the Myers-Briggs temperament sorter. The point here was to identify and anticipate how your customer communicates and adapt to their style to improve your discussion. One could identify the orderliness of the client by the tidiness of her desk and conclude that simply numbering points in your discussion arbitrarily, that is, just make up the numbers even if the order doesn’t matter, would improve her comprehension. (I’ve tried this, and indeed, it seems to work!)
I just don’t get why it works for so many people? Sure, my desk isn’t all that tidy, so perhaps I am the wrong audience for all these ‘five things you should do with your retirement/lover/holiday meals’ articles but it’s not like I’m the only one with a messy desk. Who is driving all this ‘three things that hotel managers/bloggers/car manufactures aren’t telling’ articles?
Will this be my most popular article ever? Is this the holy grail of click-bait that will allow me to finally monetize my blog? Tell me in the comments section. Just be sure to number your reasons.