10 reasons why list-based posts work well online

Humans appear to be hardwired to tune into lists, judging by our Google Analytics data from 2010. Half of Econsultancy’s most popular 25 posts were lists, including nine out of the top 10.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that lists are somehow inferior to articles with lots of dense multi-idea paragraphs. Either the content is good, or it’s not. The list format is precisely that: a format, a simple framework for communicating ideas.

So here, in no particular order, are 10 reasons why readers and publishers love lists, and why they work so well online… and yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek as I’m writing this.

TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year problem

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of the world’s largest social
network, and, on paper, one of the world’s richest people. His creation, started more
than seven years ago in a Harvard dorm room, has changed the face of the internet and impacted the
lives of millions of millions of people around the world.

For that, TIME Magazine’s editorial board decided that Zuckerberg should be 2010 Person of the Year.

Web analytics: newspaper savior?

The newspaper business may be old and stodgy, but it’s quite evident
that its future depends on embracing the internet. And internet

One of those technologies: web analytics. Yesterday, The New York Times
detailed how newspapers, once leery of web analytics, is increasingly
taking a second look, recognizing that the real-time consumption data
web analytics can provide is too valuable to ignore.

Is Forbes.com the next Huffington Post?

The Huffington Post, with its legion of unpaid contributors, has
provided a controversial model for journalism and publishing in the
digital age. Despite the controversy, it’s hard to
argue that the Huffington Post hasn’t had some success with its model
thus far.

The model has apparently worked well enough to interest stodgy old
publishers to get in on the act. According to a tweet from Forbes
editor David M. Ewalt, Forbes.com will soon see its own brand of the
HuffPo model: standard journalistic fare supplemented with “a level 2
bottom of the pyramid: 1000s of outside contributors.