The Detrimental Effects of List Articles

Lists are a great thing; useful in so many way. Great when you need to remember what to get while grocery shopping or to remind yourself what needs to get done. However, lists are not ideal when it comes to expressing your thoughts.

There has been a recent trend in the past year of people becoming obsessed with “listicles” (articles + lists). They’re short, to the point, and sometimes come with a cute little moving picture. Maybe it is our generation’s attention span, where the thought of reading a well thought-out article seems more like a daunting task than an enjoyable experience.

The New Yorker actually did a study that showed people’s minds prefer lists because they take the hard work out of reading, proving they could have detrimental effects on people’s ability to write.

If we keep reading these listicles, your brain may no longer want to do the heavy lifting when it comes to writing essays of your own.

We scroll through our Twitter feeds with news, jokes, and people’s activities in snippets of no more than 140 characters. Our generation is becoming more and more inclined to think in the short term, with undeveloped, under-explained thoughts.

Lists are aiding in the deterioration of the way people think. Information is thrown at us all day long in brief, short segments, the last thing we want to do in our down time is to read lists after lists of short, brief, underdeveloped ideas.

We go through our entire day with flashes of information, the less we get of that the better.

As lists become more and more popular, less people write full detailed articles. With so many people not enjoying a good book on top of that, where will these people learn to write?

Reading in general is one of the best ways to improve one’s writing skills. If everything is written in list form, people’s minds will start to think in lists and condensed thoughts.

The structure of a well written essay will become more and more distant through future generations. You would never write a term paper in list form, why would you write your thoughts out in list form?

Writing is a beautiful thing and the thoughts behind some of these listicles are so interesting, why not explain and form each thought into a great essay?

People extinguish the great potential their thoughts have by categorizing and listing; leaving little room for explanation and expansion on these thoughts.

Now I am not saying I don’t enjoy a listicle every once and a while. Some of them are really funny. But how many people need to tell me 20 things I should do in my twenties?

Authors and writers should take one of those points and expand it into a beautiful well written piece of journalism. Tell of the experience behind one of their points and why that makes it so important.

On a side note, if our generation is moving more and more towards these listicles, can the writers at least try to use some creativity in the title?

The titles all say the same thing; a number followed by exactly what the list is proving. “Ten Reasons Dad’s Are the Best,” “Twelve Reasons Why You Should Be Single,” “Five Things You Will Regret,” “Twenty-five Ways to Be a Better You.” Adding some spark to the title cannot be that hard to do.

The creativity and writing is already squandered in the article, is it too much to ask to at least think of a creative or differentiating title?

Just in this article alone I have given you three reasons why lists are detrimental, and did not have to number, categorize, nor bold a title to each reason.

My thoughts are clearly integrated into a piece of writing. My only hope is that listicles are a fad and soon people will have the urge to take their thoughts and expand upon them.

Until then, escape to books, look for well written articles and try to stay away from listicles, trust me, your writing will thank you later.