30% of Content = Lists. Why do we Love + Hate Lists?

List of Lists

List of Lists - Hacking Complexity - Lists Reward us by Proving were Smart and Making us Smarter.


  • Lists prove were smart – “Knew that!”
  • Lists make us smarter – “Didn’t know that – Do now!”
  • Lists are addictive. List rewards are variable & random!


  • Lists add strucuture to life
  • Lists are a hack.
  • Lists are a metaphor for simplicity


  • Life begins with a baby name list
  • Life ends with a bucket ist
  • Life is a list of lists


  • Lists are an abstraction
  • Lists are a wrapper
  • Lists are a lens


When the tough get going they make lists – lots of lists. Then they manage their chaos from a list of lists. Lists play a serious role in simplifying life.

What keeps us coming back for more lists. Simple. Lists reward us by proving were smart. Who doesn’t wan to know that. Lists fill in gaps, so make us smarter. Are all lists born equal? No. So the reward is random. There is nothing like a random and variable reward schedule to make us want more.

Life isn’t simple and simplicity isn’t simple either. Lists give you strategies to remove, organize, hide and displace complexity. These are outlined in this list from GetFinch.com

  • Remove: Get rid of anything that isn’t essential to the application. This could mean content, too; like the language you use in the navigation labels.
  • Organize: Arrange the elements of the interface so that they fit into logical chunks. This might mean based on a person’s mental model (how they think), or tie in to a more familiar interface pattern.
  • Hide: Place the most important elements within reach (make them obvious), and hide the others, making them accessible through navigation.
  • Displace: Pushing some of the functionality to another device, or feature, so that the one interface isn’t responsible for displaying every possible interaction.

No apologies if you know this. We just have to keep telling the world.

30% of all published content are lists.

The most viewed posts are list posts. Period. Bloggers know this. Publishers knows this.  But what are your doing about it? Why arent you using lists are a type of content marketing?

Lots of bloggers have written on the value of lists. Here’s a collection of posts explaining why people love and hate list. Yes some people hate lists.

I don’t think anybody disputes List posts attract more eyeballs.

All these are the reason listly exists.

Listly appeals to people for all the same reasons with the added bonus that Listly involves the crowd.  Listls lets your scale, but better than that it brings in people who care about your domain. Listly cultivates emotional engagement/community on the Web and in the real world.

Listly is connecting people with passion. Lists help you create, curate and moderate great content. We let you build community around your content by fostering a deep sense of emotional engagement.

So why aren’t you using lists? Why aren’t you using Listly?

Image Credit: jdhancock via Flickr.com an Creative Commons

NIck Kellet (130 Posts)

Nick’s ventures range from a visual segmentation tool sold to SAP, to an award winning board game. Today, Nick is co-founder of Listly, raising the profile of lists to be on par with Slideshare & YouTube.