#1. Your brain works like everyone else’s: Have you noticed a pattern in your click-through habits? Do lists give you trigger finger? Writer’s know this. Heck, the internet is full of posts encouraging would-be authors to use this tried and true method for their blogs.

#2. Everybody is doing it: News agencies, LinkedIn Influencers, bloggers – everybody and their brother are using lists to lure eyeballs and numb brains. Just search for news on “5 things”.

5-Things#3. Lists are for the lazy: Lazy writers create lists for easy content. Lazy readers who want quick and dirty ideas skim lists. As if it weren’t easy enough to generate and read lists, services such as Listly  and Listverse have taken both to an entirely new level of lazy.

#4. List pushing is big business: Your penchant for reading lists is making sites like Buzzfeed so very wealthy. Are you  getting as much out of these lists are they are?

#5. Lists rot your brain: OK, I made that one up, but most of what goes into lists these days is made up junk. Really, though, if you’re reading a lot of lists, ask yourself when the last time you read a full-length article was? Do you even have the attention span for it anymore?

About Author

La Generalista is the online identity of Alicia Wanless – a researcher and practitioner of strategic communications for social change in a Digital Age. Alicia is the director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. With a growing international multi-stakeholder community, the Partnership aims to foster evidence-based policymaking to counter threats within the information environment. Wanless is currently a PhD Researcher at King’s College London exploring how the information environment can be studied in similar ways to the physical environment. She is also a pre-doctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and was a tech advisor to Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder. Her work has been featured in Lawfare, The National Interest, Foreign Policy, and CBC.

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