“Its not writing, and it’s not journalism to put 18 gifs into a list and publish it” – Jon Hendren
Media, these days, is not limited to just some serious newspaper articles and fan magazines, it has gotten a firm grip on the modern side of it, too; and our not-so-little friend is responsible for most of it, The Internet. Its all well and good but darker shades are there and I’ve noticed one such format, The Listicle. Instead of some lengthy, well written articles there are lists of all kinds making round on the internet. Its an article, formatted into a lazy list, most of the time not well written at all.
One of the reason for their ground-breaking popularity in recent years is mainly because they are so easy to write, doesn’t require any serious research and anyone can try to be funny using other people’s images.
People who are into writing some serious articles put at least two hours in to the article, sometime even more. That’s time for all the work involved, research on the material, planning the frame of the article and then the time it takes to actually write the darn thing.
To show how easy it is I am writing one and it’s 12:45 pm right now (IST).
1. It take away the credit from serious writers and gets super popular online
All of the sub-headings are self explanatory here. A serious journalist, working for a big organisation like The New York Times or something, does some entertainment news and posts it; then looks up online and sees an article which is so lazily crafted that it makes him cringe but is booming online, like “67 Reason Why Tom Hanks Is America’s Favourite Actor”. Must feel awful.
2. Only the stuff in bold headline matter
I can surely write a paragraph explaining the heading, getting your attention on what I am actually trying to say with that heading but nobody cares. Listicles are made for skipping parts. The writer can write anything and everything he wants and you’ll never know if he is telling the truth or if it makes any sense at all.
3. Anyone can write it
I am writing it, and believe me I am things up as i go. This requires 0 advance planning. Everybody is not Bill Burr or David Letterman but they can surely try to have some kind of humor and that is what matters here.
4. They try to get the most money out of you. With each clock you make.
Slideshows are the worst. Everytime you want to see the next image you have to reload and entire page, which means more advertising and you end up being used as some kind of money machine; they squeeze the maximum amount of money out of you. That’s is not real journalism, i am sorry.
5. Its not real writing
Listicles are like a mix-tape, they tend to start on a high note and then keeps that pace throughout the spiral. There is no build-up or progression to the writing. You can just skip to the best parts and that’s it.
It’s 1:06 right now and I have finished this listicle-cum-article in 21 minutes, whichever way you want to see it’s not that charming and sure gets monotonous after a while.