Top 5 Reasons we Hate Stories With Lists (HINT: #3 will shock you!)

LinkedIn. It’s a place ripe with interesting content, unique perspectives, fun tips, simple how-to’s and much more. But is it just me? Or is “List-bait” now reaching epidemic proportions? You know what I’m talking about. Lists that suck you in with a tantalizing headline. Like “Top 5 Reasons to Quit Your Job” or “Four Ways to Make your Work Life better”. Or my personal favorite, headlines that prey on our nosy nature like “Six steps to Success… and You Won’t Believe what Number One Is!”

I admit it. I’ve read them all. But now I’m putting a stake in the ground. I’m “listed” out. I’ve got room in my life for many things, but not more lists. So before I close this chapter forever, here’s one final list for the books.

Top Five Reasons we Hate Stories with Lists

1. We’re all Suffering from List-fatigue. Lists are everywhere. My newsfeed is jammed with them. They’re like a biblical plague. Somewhere between swarming locusts and frogs falling from the sky. And after a while, they all sound the same.  Quite frankly, I want to put my fist in your list. Is that rude?! If so, I’m okay with that. I’m here to make a stand. Not new friends.

2. Lists are Lazy. Hmmm. Can’t think of five bullet points that prove your perspective or demonstrate your expertise? That’s okay! Just come up with as many (or few) as you can and absolutely nobody cares. There are no points deducted if you can only muster up four. That’s the beauty of a world marred in free content. You always get what you paid for.

3. Lists are Too Simplistic. Here’s a thought. Let’s take a really complex problem… like why you live with too many cats, for example, and create a simple list that can solve that problem both for you and the world. Oh, and in four bullets or less. Trust me. Your life can’t be changed in so few characters. I’ve seen that hoarders show on A&E with the cat-loving crazies. If you’re one of them, you probably don’t need a list. You need an intervention.

4. Lists are Predictable. That’s right. I said it. Predictable. Why have a nice meal when you can have four or five bite-sized appetizers? That’s what lists are. They’re the crackers and cheese of the writing world. Completely predictable and a great way to take the edge off while you’re waiting for something meatier.

5. Lists don’t always make sense. Remember when I said that lists were predictable? Well they aren’t always. If you recall, I also said lists are lazy. So since I can’t think of five points, I’m sticking with four. So my fifth point is really not a point at all. It’s just a silent protest against all other lists.

 So there you have it. My “boeuf du jour” about lists. So tell me, what do you think about lists? Love it? Or list it?

 Article Author - Mike Maloney