Listicles : Death of Content

Every time you read a listicle and feel enlightened kids in Africa get happy about having no education at all. If you’re the kind that gets excited by titles like “Top 10 tweets by abc xzy.” or “ This is how twitter reacted to 123 lmnop” or “5 signs that you have AIDS” or even “10 ways to know if you’re a virgin”. Here’s another one for you;

“1 way to know if you have a low IQ and contribute to hindering India’s progress”. When you click on it, it’ll have just 1 line in it – “You love listicles.”

If you’re fond of listicles and feel that you’re very educated or have a superior understanding of the topic at hand, you’re the reason ki “Ye desh badal raha hai, aage peechhe bad raha hai”. Zero creativity, lifted content and the easiest way out into generating content is what a listicle is. There do exist some half decent websites that actually end up producing good content albeit in the form of a listicles. But they are very few. Sadly 80% of those around in the name of Buzzfeed, ScoopWhoop, Storypick, Huffpost etc. are just paying an apparent ‘content writer’ to pick up content from twitter or other platforms and simply compile them together. In terms of twitter listicles, more often than not, you’re pretty much compiling your friends/acquaintances. Or those with a huge follower count’s tweets into your articles in order to get more views/shares and basically drive traffic to your website.

There was a time when content was the most important thing when it came to writing. By content I mean something that was written in a narrative format and something that involved immense amount of research. Out of ten articles, one made the final cut. Writers edited and re-edited one article numerous times just to make it publish worthy. The only thing that mattered was information, getting to learn/know about something that you weren’t already aware about before. Or a different perspective to an otherwise obvious one that would make for an interesting read. These days you’re basically down to titles like “We added 1 + 1 on a calculator and what happened next will absolutely blow your mind.”

There existed blogs and sites that gave you this and more. There were articles you would remember for days and months. Yes there were lists too even then, but they weren’t the basic format of the post. They were just a part of it. Now when I visit these blogs, all I see is the number of points the article has, weird heads and gifs, weirder points and pathetic content mostly. The reader in me is disappointed and the writer in me dies a little after reading it.

These days even the Mainstream Media (MSM) has shifted to listicles and tweets way. They quote and compile tweets to prove a point. End result? You are on twitter from every social networking site. You read the same thing everywhere. Why cook the whole meal from scratch when you have ready to cook packets available?

It’s a plain and simple psychology. The moment you read something you can relate to, you will share it. A dog will never share an article about 10 common features you find on human body. He isn’t interested. But write about 7 reactions of a dog when someone stamps on his tail and he will wag his tail and hit the share button. The readers are as into it as the writers and that is where the crux of this concept lies and the primary reason why it works. Intelligent content is a lost cause and no one wants to put effort into reading something that might actually make them think beyond memes and gifs.

Listicles are the celery of the food world. The yogurt of the ice cream world and the Bangladesh-Zimbabwe series of the cricketing world. The world can do without so many of them and instead focus on good, brainy content that engages the readers.

CAN WE PLEASE HAVE LISTICLES FREE NORMAL CONTENT BACK?

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