There’s been a lot of list hate going on of late.
Laura Lee, for example, is tired of list format posts on Twitter and beyond. For his patrt, Brian Meeks hates top ten lists with a passion, preferring paragraphs instead.
If you’ve read the drivel on here, you know I love me some list.
There’s a few reasons for this. I am, out of respect for Brian Meeks’ superb sense of humour, going to discuss these in quasi-real paragraphs.
First, I try to blog around five times a week. In addition, I have three other jobs that take varying degrees of time. List posts can be produced relatively quickly. They allow bloggers to post regularly despite the time crunch of life. Regular posting builds audience and strengthens SEO. We ALL like those things. So, while I wish I were as smart and deep as Brian Solis and could write substantive non-list posts the way he does, I ain’t so talented (BTW – even Solis writes list posts sometimes). The list post, for many of us, is a means to an end in a hectic world.
Second, the list format is excellent for certain types of posts. Meeks and Laura take issue with use of lists for advice type posts, and they’re partly right. However, lists are good for some things, especially humour. Testament to this is a chap named Letterman, who’s been using this easy to digest tool for decades.
Third, lists are useful because of the WAY most people read blogs (Justin Kownacki has some interesting thoughts on this). The advent of social media has fundamentally changed the way we ingest info. We don’t do “deep reading” much anymore. We skim. Really quickly. Short, punchy lists are a way to convey things so that a skimming reader will remember them. And there’s nothing at all wrong with wanting people to remember what you write.
So there it is. Paragraphs…well, kinda.
Do you hate lists too?
I like paragraphs too, but most people can’t construct three interesting sentences in a row. So I skim, looking for the bullet points they’ve buried in paragraphs of fluff.
Writing in paragraphs doesn’t make someone a writer. If someone wants to write in paragraphs, they have to earn my time.
Well my man, I know this: you can actually write in paragraphs.
As you say, the point is to convey the idea.