Six reasons to love a list

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From Shrinky Dinks in 1973 to the Cozmo White Robot last year, retailer Argos has released a nostalgic list of its best-selling toys over the last 45 years to help highlight its 45th anniversary.

It secured them some good national coverage with the Daily Mail, which got me thinking about why exactly the media – and readers – all love a list.

Especially true of online media, it’s sometimes tricky to find any content which doesn’t start with a number …  from 5 ways to age-proof our eyes to 10 ways to have a plastic-free Halloween.

These lists – or listicles (where the whole article takes the form of the list) – are everywhere.

I even found a handy article giving me 8 tips to write a listicle!

So why are they so popular and prevalent? Well, here’s a quick list:

#1 They are clear, concise and get to the point – exactly what we need in these days of information overload.

#2 They are perfect for distracted readers with short attention spans, as they can be easily skim-read.

#3 The human brain loves numbers and structure – a good listicle has both.

#4 Quite complex information can be broken down simply into a list rather than clunky paragraphs.

#5 It does what it says on the tin … you can tell from the title exactly what to expect. And you know from the start exactly when it will end.

#6 They’re great for sharing and perform well on social media.

If you want a longer list about the science behind it, then this BBC article offers 9 psychological reasons why we all love a list.

At Active PR we appreciate lists in our everyday working lives too; to-do lists, event checklists, media distribution lists, etc – they all keep us focused and functioning. Meanwhile, can someone tell me what a Shrinky Dink is please?