10. By virtue of putting a number in the headline, I made you click on this list. It was that simple because you thought this would be quick and easy to read, and you were right.
9. Lists are incredibly viral and have saturated every nook and cranny, cobwebbed corner, and node of the interwebs, bringing even the most esteemed publishers to their pandering knees.
8. The more you click on them, the faster they multiply. (Viral? More like vi-RUS!) Publishers and content creators produce more and more of them in an unvirtuous cycle of mostly vapid content because they’re so digestible and sharable, which in turn results in higher pageviews, ad impressions, and revenue.
7. They’re usually advertised as “definitive” or “ultimate.” Hello—this is obviously someone’s opinion and they’re just trying to get a rise out of you so that you a) respond and b) share your inevitable outrage or sympathy.
6. And they work. All too well.
5. Moreover, they encourage quick-scroll skimming rather than structured thought and complete sentences. In a way, they make tl;dr socially acceptable while systematically undermining our attention spans and ability to focus.
4. I often find myself clicking on lists against my will, when I know perfectly well that I should be reading more editorially complex pieces to maintain a healthy, well-balanced reading diet and lifestyle.
3. When illustrated with GIFs, these lists tend to make me literally laugh out loud at inappropriate times.
2. They gave rise to the portmanteau “listicle,” which not only sounds disgusting but also undermines the credibility of journalism.
1. I also love them. (Not really, sort of, it’s complicated, but I wanted to pay homage to the ’90s teen classic, 10 Things I Hate About You.)