A List of Reasons Why I'm Sick of List Articles
Whenever we go online these days, or flip through magazines even, we see articles or blog posts with obnoxious clickbait titles such as "7 Ways to Meh". Though these list articles (or listicles) make the writer's work easier, I've recently started to resent them. Here's a list why.
1. AN INCESSANT CYCLE OF RECYCLING. As far as listicles go – especially when it comes to helpful articles – there is hardly any original content. Most of the advices are readily available on other websites. In fact, writers of such articles take one sample article on the same topic from the internet and paraphrase. So you read the same advice over and over that don't really help your cause. Essentially, they are telling you what you probably know already.
2. AMBIGUITY IS COMMONPLACE. Listicles are aimed to generate readership or clicks for a particular website. In order to do so, writers tend to write multiple articles on the same or very similar topics. The bite-sized advices, therefore, usually get quite generic. They will tell you what to do, but on a very superficial level, without delving into the exact details of what you are looking for. So in the end, there really isn't much to learn in most cases.
3. BUZZING WITH KEYWORDS. Search engine optimisation is very important for the websites to generate a larger audience. One of the primary means of doing so is to use keywords or phrases by strategically placing them throughout the article. In an attempt to do so, writers often force the keywords in places where they don't necessarily fit, making for an incoherent read that degrades the reading experience.
4. THIS IS WHERE LITERATURE DIES. Like I mentioned previously, listicles make the work of writers very easy as they are quite easy to write. Pretty much anybody with a basic idea of grammar can write one, thus the quality of writing falters.
But there's another reason for that – in most cases, listicles are written by freelance ghost writers for people who pay them to do so on the internet. Having been a freelancer myself who has written many listicles over the years, I can say from experience that the compensation is quite low – sometimes as low as $1 for an article if not less. For such low pay, you can't really expect the writer to produce a good quality, informative and profound piece. This is where the paraphrased rewriting of articles mentioned earlier comes in play. In fact, some freelancers are required to write several such articles on daily basis, and they tend to slack off and just meet their deadlines by hook or by crook.
Don't get me wrong, I am not against listicles – I do enjoy reading (and writing) an occasional listicle, provided that it's good. Sometimes you do need to read listicles, especially if you're impatient and really need even the most generic of advices real quick. Having said that, the trend of list articles that has become so popular lately is something that I personally dislike for the reasons cited.
By the way, can you figure the keyword in this article?
Arman R. Khan is an engineer, a caffeine addict, a dreamer and a culture enthusiast who takes life one day at a time. Follow him on Instagram @arman_rk or send love at [email protected]