Who doesn’t love making a list then ticking it off, or as I like to do, getting out a ruler and drawing a nice, neat line right through the middle. Twice.
When did numbered lists become the Kanye of blog posts?
Numbered lists seem to be the itemized notes de jour of online media.
Everywhere you go, someone’s put together a “Reasons Why” or “How To” or “Must Have” list that features numbers. It’s like they’re saying you’re a bad person if reading 106 ways to flambé a chicken is NOT the most important thing you’ll do all day. Too much choice, like too much of anything, is harmful to your (mental) health.
I’m confused enough deciding what side to part my hair in the mornings.
I don’t need to know about the 14 ways it could make me look older.
Reasons Why Numbered Post Are So Yesterday:
A. We’ve forgotten that people have fingers.
Lots of people use their fingers to count.
Unless you’ve lost your fingers in a heavy nail-biting session because you forgot to stop nibbling, put them to good use and count as you read. If you only read articles with lists up to ten, you’ll save time for really important stuff like why wrinkles around the eyes are called laugh lines on a man but crow’s feet on a woman.
ii. Numbered lists are so arbitrary.
There are no rules.
Sure there are lots of “Top Twenty” lists and those we can handle (see why in the above paragraph then add “toes” to the formula.) But how it is possible to have “Seven Reasons Why You Must Use This Lip Gloss” and the next day read “Four Reasons Why You Must Use This Lip Gloss.”
What happened in the 24 hours between the two posts? How did it go from seven to four? What happened to the other three? Maybe one of the reasons caused someone’s lips to fall off. Maybe one of the reasons ate the other two reasons. It’s all very suspicious.
Someone needs to investigate and make a list.
We don’t need numbered lists to tell us how to celebrate someone’s birthday. Unless it’s your child’s birthday and they are under the age of ten (review the first paragraph again) because that’s manageable. Any more and it gets exhausting.
Do you really want to spend your husband’s birthday counting down 52 ways he’s fabulous at age 52? Depending on the state of his health, he could be dead by the end. And that’s no way to celebrate a birthday.
Unless he’s rich and you’re not getting along and he’s just updated his will to write out his deadbeat kids. If that’s the case, start counting. Slowly. *grin*
Quattro. Sometimes a lot of numbers are used to cover up the one really important point.
Like “21 Ways Not To Break A Bone While Skateboarding When You’re 89.” If you’ve reached the age of 89 and are still upright and able to read an article like this, you really only need one way to not break a bone. Give your skateboard to your neighbor’s kid. The little bastard who keeps tagging the side of your garage in the shape of a giant penis.
5ive. Numbered lists have risen in direct proportion to the ability to understand how to write a numbered list title correctly.
It’s “Five Ways To Pierce Your Tongue” not “5 Ways To Pierce Your Tongue.” Perhaps this is a reflection of our crazy busy culture. We no longer have the patience to read more letters than absolutely necessary.
Hint on piercing that tongue: There’s really only one way and that’s with anesthetic and a sterilized needle. Any other way and you could faint and nail something important. Like an eyeball. Or the mailman.
6. Websites that feature scantily clad women are the worst offenders. You can’t honestly rate the “43 Sexiest Woman Ever” and be taken seriously.
Putting them in a numbered list isn’t fair.
Your number two might be my number 13 and I don’t have time to tell you why you’re wrong. Not that guys care about who’s on top. Except, okay, yes they do. But more importantly, some of the sexiest women ever are dead. But no one wants to admit it because…creepy.
Neves. Numbered lists are taking over the Internet. It’s a slap in the face to our entire alphabet.
There’s only 26 letters so maybe people think that’s not enough to list the really important things.
Like “103 Ways To Use Mayonnaise Before It Goes Bad.” You need a list like this if you’re in Costco and get seduced into thinking you’ll ever get through that big jar using the mayo on sandwiches, chicken salad, and lube at your next Swingers party.
Anything other than numbered lists are forbidden on comic sites. The stupider the site, the higher the number.
Which is really counterintuitive.
If you’re using your fingers and toes to count (see paragraph one above) you can only expect to get the joke up to number 20, when you have to start over again.
Nine. Possibly it’s just a phase. A silly gimmick. Thought up by people who are looking for click rates and not a well written article.
People say if you want someone to click on your blog post, write a title with a number in it. PHISHAW! Like you’re not smart enough to come up with a compelling number-free post title on your own.
Unless maybe you need a list for that. Hmm.
One day soon, someone will submit an article called “One Way To Write A Compelling Post Title” and it will go viral and yet the world will continue to spin. Then we can all get back to writing titles that reflect the story. And put our shoes back on.
If anyone’s been keeping count, this post featured only nine reasons. I sprained the index finger on my right hand googling “Eight Never Before Seen Images Of Karl Urban’s Naked Bum.”
Are you a list person? What’s the last list you listed?