Actually, I don’t discriminate.
I hate Top 25, 10, 7, 5 and [insert number here] lists. Blogs love lists, and it’s the best way to land on the front page of Digg.
And though I occasionally write ’em (I wrote 25 ways your business can help fight poverty just yesterday), I’m not a fan of the format.
- Top X lists may be easy to read (and write), but they aren’t a great way to communicate detail or ideas. You wouldn’t want to learn a foreign language reading Top 10 lists, would you?
- Our brain isn’t wired for long lists. We struggle with seven numbers, so retaining a list more than four or five ideas requires real effort. We remember beginnings, endings and ideas extremely relevant to us individually.
- We retain stories, not details. Remember History class? You probably remember the stories, but you’ve forgotten the rote facts, dates and statistics.
In some ways, Top X lists are like a pumpkin full of Halloween candy:
It looks great, so you consume it.
When you’re done, you forget what you consumed.
It’s mostly empty calories.
Top X posts are good for supplemental reference material—a way to communicate loosely-related information thematically—but they don’t do a good job of transferring knowledge.
Will I continue to write Top X posts? Now and then. We’re all busy and these lists are easy to digest for quick reading.
I just hope you, Responsible Marketer, are okay with an occasional bag full of candy in your intellectual diet.
Are you cool with an occasional Top X lists, or should I lay off the info-carbs?
I’m all ears.
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