I Hate Your Top Ten Lists

The Top Ten Cars, Top Ten Blogging Tips, Top Ten Celebs Who Lick Otters. This is the state of websites these days. This. This reductive, mindless bullshit passing itself off as content is what we’ve come to. People don’t want to read thoughts, opinions or concepts these days.

No, as far as the eye can see, we’re proving that what we seem to want most is a shiny picture, stolen from somewhere, along with maybe 60 words that sum up and say “Remember this thing, here is validation – we remember it too!”

The Top Ten list entry is the laziest thing (next to say, the Top Five) you can write. Need to create a post? Find some theme that you can hang ten tiny lights on and run like the wind, Thumper.

Top Ten lists are the Reality TV of the internet. Each time you hit post on one, you’re basically going “Yes, I do think Jersey Shore is the pinnacle of culture.” You are part of the problem. Yup. You.

And we’ve all done it, sometimes. Sometimes you eat Funyuns. Sometimes you make a Top Ten list. You don’t feel good about it, and you wash your hands afterwards, but it can happen. But when you do it a lot, say more than once every quarter, you have a problem.

Seriously, if you can’t find real content to produce then shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down. Sorry, but if your site has nothing but lazy slideshows and Top Ten lists I will stop going to it, and so will a lot of people.

Dear Cracked – yes you are our collective exception.

But if you aren’t Cracked? Stop. And yes, Buzzfeed, you bottom feeder of finding the cheapest way to monetize other people’s creativity via endless lists and pasting twitter feeds I am looking directly at you.

Create actual content or go home. We have, at our fingertips, the greatest, fastest and most robust form of human creation ever invented. Can’t we, just maybe, use it for something other than cheap page view grabs and lazy fucking Top Ten lists?

3 Comments

  1. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) February 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Top Ten lists, IMO, are a shorthand.

    Consider this. There is a lot of shite out there, and a lot of good stuff. Top Ten lists, for all of their flaws and problems, are a way to help clarify the signal from the noise. Can they be overdone? Absolutely? Is a praise of, say, your favorite Pratchett sometimes more effective than “The top ten Pratchett novels”? Yes.

    But throwing the baby out with the bathwater is no solution. And I don’t think they are lazy, done right. Ask me to figure my top ten DW episodes and I have to think hard on that one.

    And, top ten lists provide entertainment in the doing. Lots of people like them, in moderation, which again is my point here.

  2. APK February 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    They are a shorthand, I agree, for writing a real article. So just write a damned real article.

  3. palinode February 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    This article comes in at #3 on my Top Ten Best Anti-Top Ten Rants list!

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