10 Reasons Why Internet Lists Suck (A Rant)

Gold top 10 winnerEvery day that goes by, the internet devolves more and more into a cesspool of spurious information filtered through various website’s political agendas and their insatiable appetite for traffic to where now any kernel of truth, knowledge, or wisdom is whittled down to an almost imperceptible spec buried beneath layers and layers of pop science, slanted viewpoints, and political/cultural snark. Meanwhile true journalism and quality writing wither on the vine as readers turn to media not to truly garner information, but to have their political, religious, and cultural beliefs validated by websites whose names sound just enough like a real news source to have them be deemed legitimate by their sycophantical readers.

Bad enough are these anecdotal local stories about some miscreant doing something stupid that then turn super viral after every shocked and appalled Tom, Dick, and Harry takes to their Facebook feed to declare the wayward trajectory of humanity has reached its apex. Yes, the 60 million people killed in World War 2 doesn’t come close in shock value to some story about a meth head in Osh Kosh that shoved a firecracker up his dog’s asshole. WHAT’S THIS WORLD COMING TO!?!? Years ago these stories would have never made it beyond a local rag’s police blotter. Now they define our lives, helped along by Facebook that emphasizes the sensational by sending it to the top of our news feeds in their indolent and self-serving algorithm.

But worst of all might be these idiotic internet lists that are quickly becoming the average American’s primary interfacing with news and information. Their gross oversimplifications and pop approach to information dissemination are making a mockery of true, heartfelt, and in-depth coverage of any given subject that legitimately matters to our lives. True, at times the list format can have its advantages by drawing together similarities or simplifying information for busy readers. But it has nearly come to a point where lists make up the majority of the internet’s original readable content in a given day. They prey on the inherent laziness of humans and have become the internet’s go-to timekill and workday distraction, instead of trying to expand the mind and feed curiosity through healthy, organic content not confined by picture galleries or bullet points.

The titles of these lists are crammed with buzzwords to make you think they will convey entertainment or information that will improve your life, but in fact most of the time they simply regurgitate material in such a simplistic manner that any true holistic or helpful information has been left on the cutting house floor. And since the point of reading many lists is the opportunity to turn your brain off, any value that might be incidentally conveyed through a certain list doesn’t stick.

Don’t get me wrong, this website has engaged in this list-building practice like many others because as someone in the attention-grabbing business, you feel pressure to keep up with the Joneses, and sometimes the practice is useful. But list mania has reached critical mass, and now feels like it is heralding the onset of idiocracy.

….Oh wait, so you actually came here to see a list of the 10 reasons why internet lists suck?

Well tough shit, you’ll have to wait until Buzzfeed makes one.