According to my Facebook newsfeed, listicles are the new “big thing”. It seems as though every one of my friends is constantly sharing them, liking them, or commenting on them – tagging more friends who they think might also enjoy the one they found.
I think listicles are popular because they cut the “extra” from an article. They only include what’s interesting and relevant, and don’t mention the rest. Or if they do mention more, often within the listicle there will be links for further information if the reader feels so inclined.
Listicles give short bursts of information, which makes them extremely easy to read and understand. While you may not want to rely solely on listicles and list-format articles for a comprehensive understanding of current news and events, they’re perfect for if you’re looking for a quick synopsis.
Listicles, specifically those found on BuzzFeed, begin with an eye-catching title. This title draws readers in through the use of click-bait. Who can resist opening an article titled, “24 Songs From 2009 You’ll Never Forget The Lyrics To”?! I always get sucked into the product lists of the things I have to have. Such as, 21 Awesome Products From Amazon To Put On Your Wishlist. I’ve never purchased anything based on BuzzFeed’s lists, but I’ve certainly been tempted!
Recently, I tried my own hand at writing listicles for BuzzFeed. I was actually surprised how time consuming they can be! Particularly for my list: 12 Times Iliza Shlesinger Proved She’s The Most Relatable Comedian. It took me upwards of 2 hours to complete it because many of the specific snippets from her stand up specials were not available online, so I had to create my own GIFs
For my second list, 11 Things Every Cat Owner Knows Is True, I found it hard to think of more than 11 ideas. I probably could have if I spoke to friends who also own cats, but since this was my own effort, I wanted to think on my own.
So although listicles are short, and often look easy to compose, chances are the author spent more time than you’d think generating ideas for their list, finding images/GIFs/videos, citing those sources within the article, and then writing the original content of their listicle.
Listicles offer readers a new way to get their information. They offer visual examples along with the written text to allow for a greater comprehension despite the lower word count. Listicles are not meant to be a long, continuous, academic reading. They’re meant to be a quick and easy read, while still providing the reader with the new information they were looking for.