Tired of searching for a place (or a product), and being bombarded with endless Top 5 lists?
What credibility or authority does one list have to discount the other hundred or more places or things that relate to the subject? What makes one Top 5 any better than other Top 5’s?
Most Top 5’s are simply the Top 5 things that make the site/business/author the most MONEY. Top 5 pages usually feature more clickbait and links to buy stuff than information. Look carefully.
I’m going to explain the whole thing here in simple terms. I chose ‘Top 5’ for my purposes here but you can assume I’m including any ‘Top X’ or “X reasons why’, and anything resembling them with a number.
Top X lists are EVERYWHERE.
Like a noxious weed, they invade information spaces and search results, blocking out all the light that might let some small things might grow into bigger things. Same as a weed, they add nothing of any real value if you begin to understand the depth of information that’s available to you on your subject. They’re a cheap commodity in writing web content and only worth a few rupees now. They’re a cut and paste shortcut to ‘SEO’. (SEO = search engine optimisation…or…writing web stuff that triggers search engines to rank you first).
Great…so now lists written for computers are what everyone reads.
Top X lists are SUBJECTIVE.
Why is one Top 5 better than another Top 5 of the exact same thing? Who’s writing the list? What actual experience do they have? Most Top 5’s are researched purely on the web anyway and are written by someone who is in reality, most likely to be in the bottom 5 people most qualified to write them.
Top X lists are SIMPLISTIC.
Research is research, ok? A list is just a list. What’s the latest Top 5 ranked by? Sales? Taste?(Who’s taste?) Price? Satisfaction? If there’s no explanation, then it’s utter rubbish. Do you just believe everything you read on the internet now?
Top X lists ‘dumb down’ EXPRESSION AND COMPREHENSION.
When you read about why Top 5’s make sense, it makes sense? That’s the trap. You’ve apparently lost the ability to communicate concisely and memorably with complexity and nuance. By the same token, Top 5’s assume that you’ve lost the ability to slow down, read, and understand what’s being said and process it for yourself. Have you? I love this post about that stuff.
Top X lists are old, they’ve been FLOGGED TO DEATH.
Most references to the phenomenon are from 2011 when lists became a thing. Top 5’s are kinda old. Tired. Saturated….
Of course the cocky marketing darlings with a degree and no experience have cottoned onto things like, ’17 best’, ‘6 favorite’, and ‘X things you need to X before you X’.
Just google it, it’s all clickbait. It’s all the same stuff, just re-packaged. Most web writers these days wouldn’t understand an Oxford comma if it punched them in the face.
In all this I knew there was something deeply wrong with modern communication. I’ve known it since the 80’s when we were taught some of the media tricks. It’s worse now that self publishing en masse is a reality…and they talk ‘fake news’ like it’s somehow new?
Writing Top 10’s…I don’t want to do it. I really…really don’t want to. But, like the rest of them, I will for the right money.
I can’t stand them. I think they are a scourge on intelligence. I’ve done a lot of research and study in writing and media. I can’t beat them, so I’m joining them (lol). I reserve the right to take shots at them, I know what their game is.
Below is an old blog I found interesting while researching. I like this guy.
The Top Five Reasons I Hate Lists, by Norm Elrod