Three Ways Listicles are, like, Totally Ruining Journalism

Madison Wilie

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The “listicle,” or an article that introduces its idea in multifaceted and concise summaries under bullets or sub-titles, is becoming an increasingly popular form of presenting information. A listicle is easy to read, easy to write and favors well with an online reader due to its short nature. The author will often input graphics into each category or use currently trending internet memes, increasing the visual stimulation of the article and attempting to make it more relative to its audience. This style of writing is useful for the steadily decreasing attention span of the average person and social media user, but not for the art of communication.

1. Listicles are a cop out.

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Remember those glorious days in middle school when your teacher would roll in the unconventionally sized, antiquated television set and everyone spent the next hour pretending they weren’t asleep? A listicle is the informational form of your hungover English teacher phoning it in for the day. It is easy to throw together a set of bullet points that vaguely emphasize a topic of discussion that is relative but ultimately pointless.
2. Listicles lack creativity.

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Using a gif as a basis for describing your concept lacks creativity. Collecting excerpts and phrases from movies or television shows and repurposing them to fit the context of an idea is so simple apple made it a part of iMessage. While the occasional gif or graphic adds humor or entertainment to an article, listicles are often too dependent on the allusion. Relying on the work, joke or reaction of someone else to get your point across is unimaginative.
3. Listicles aid in decreasing our attention spans.

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The way information is organized in said style of writing allows for a reader to quickly glance over the information, however it does not always allow for the concept or idea to be thoroughly discussed. Due to this drawback, it is easier and more pleasurable for the online reader to click on an article about the Eleven Ways We Thought the Future Would be Cooler instead of reading about the recent mudslide in Cambodia.

I believe the listicle is an informationally oppressive style of writing and will continue to contribute to frivolous aspects of online media, instead of encouraging deeper thinking within its audience.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism