Or, who knew bloggers had homework?
First, I’d like to give a warm welcome to anyone here from the Problogger community. Anyone here from Problogger? It’s a great community isn’t it? A lot of really interesting people post there, just a wealth of information to be had. Fine, fine people, give yourselves a hand!
But what is up with the community challenge? Write a list post, okay, I get it, it’s something that works in all genres, people like lists, but I was kind of hoping Darren would get up there and say “Right then, kumquat, finagle, opossum and jurisprudence. Write a post containing all of these words and nobody tell the rest of the internet what we’re up to. G’day mates!”
Because you know, I could do that, I’m feeling that. I’m just not feeling list-y today. Lots of reasons why.
1. I never know how many items constitutes a good and reasonable list
Vaguely remember reading somewhere that it’s not 10 and 2 is just a couple and 3 is a few, and in my mind a couple and a few aren’t really a list. You just don’t get any momentum with a couple and a few. On the other hand four is evenly divided by 2 and that just doesn’t appeal to me. 5 seems okay and is the exception to my aversion to odd numbers but 6 is more than 5. 7 is a lucky number except I read that somewhere with a lot of people it is inauspicious. I can’t afford to lose any readers! 8 seems like the chartered accountant of numbers, solid but also dreadfully dull. 9? Well if you’re going to do 9 then why not an even 10? Oh yeah, because I think I remember 10 is not good. And 11 is just taking the piss, who’d read that much?
It occurs to me I could have made a very good list just typing out the numbers and an argument for and against each one. I’ll put that in my ideas file.
2. Am conflicted on how to format a list
Do I use the numbered list function in WordPress? Headlines? Where do indents come in? Are bullet points extra-scannable?
3. Everyone knows list posts are popular
I know because I’ve read it on all the list posts on how to get retweeted, linked, bookmarked and Facebooked. So now whenever I do a list post I feel like there is a group there over in the corner mumbling about how they liked me back before I got popular by selling out and doing list posts. 4/5 of them only heard about me yesterday.
4. Lists are so high school
Just like everything else on the internet! Except me, I’m all grown up and mature and crap.
5. One item is always neglected in comments
There will be all sorts of agreement and discussion about the other items. Oh yes, I totally agree 2, that happens to me all the time. 7 is right on the money, you nailed it! One thing I’d like to add on to 4 is…. But poor number 3 is just hanging out there, getting no love and it kind of makes you second guess yourself. Were you wrong to include it? Is it just not worthy of your list?
Then the righteous indignation sets in and you curse the world for being blind to just how brilliant number 3 really is. For you, YOU were just like unappreciated item 3 in high school. And those bastids still can’t see how special you really are.
6. Everyone wants to add their own item
Blah blah blah you left out this, you should have mentioned that, where is so and so. I’ve read on some “expert” blogs that you should thank your commenters for their feedback and adding to the conversation because everyone has something to offer. That’s not how I work. I didn’t sign up for this gig not to be a narcissistic tyrant. Adoration, that’s what I signed up for, pure 100% unquestioning adoration.
7. Lists progress in an orderly fashion
One, two, three, four, A, B, C, D…it’s that sort of linear thinking that the man wants to encourage in us to keep us down.
Think about it.
Just think about it.
8. Not conducive to tangents
Sometimes in the middle of a post I want to stop and talk about how JERKS who honk at me at intersections are IMPATIENT FOOLS who don’t value SAFETY. People tend to want lists to be a collection of related things and if you don’t deliver, they shake their heads and walk away.
And then go off to blow their horns at people who just like to be really, really sure before they make a left turn.
9. I dislike favoritism
I haven’t figured out a way to give each item an equal number of words and space and that makes me feel guilty.
10. Once I wrote a list called “A bunch of random items”
It was from a meme. Oddly enough, it gets search traffic as does 5 things I’m addicted to. Who are these people searching for “list of random things”? I wish they would comment on the post and tell me what they wish they would have found so that I can better serve my core audience of people searching on the internet for truly bizarre things like “hate giving up on people but I’m afraid I have to” and “why do I secretly hope all my friends fail?”
Another list post I did that gets search traffic is 5 Super Creepy Songs.
I guess I do like the part about making lists where I get to shamelessly self promote.
11 I always forget one item
Because I write the title first and then commit to a certain number but then I get to that number and realize dang, I forgot the last thing. So I just make something up. Usually something life affirming, people eat that positive crap up.
So remember LIST stands for Life Is Super Terrific!