Part of my morning ritual is reading my three favorite websites: Cracked, ThoughtCatalog and BuzzFeed. But there’s a trend hitting the Internet, and it’s hitting hard: Top 10 articles. Most of these websites thrive on posts that fall under this category, or some variation of it. Usually it’ll be something along the lines of '18 animals that…’ or '12 celebrities you never knew…’ etc. But I’ve found out the formula to those elusive Top 10s, and I’ve identified their Top 9 fundamental flaws (because I am morally against making my own Top 10).
1. They all contradict each other.
YOLO. Be responsible. TAKE RISKS. Don’t get your heart broken. BEING SINGLE IS GREAT. Why being alone sucks. I LOVE MY CURVES. Be healthy and fit. There’s a stream of information we receive on a daily basis, most of which fundamentally contradict. My life has become a roller coaster of emotions flipping through these articles.
2. They are excessively redundant.
Body image, love, travel, and self-reflection are the most commonly featured topics on these websites on a day-to-day basis. While these are all valid and interesting subjects, enough is enough.
3. They fuel our guilty pleasure for gossip.
The number of times I’ve read a cheap headline that was both witty and enticing is frightening. My personal favorite: “Celebrities you never knew were teen parents”. These juicy stories lure us in, and the worst part is, they don't sound guilty about it.
4. Their reliability is doubtful.
31-year-olds talking about the secret to life? 20- year-olds giving relationship advice? I’m sure everyone has their own experiences that are helpful in providing insight, but I can make my own mistakes, thank you very much.
5. They are easy reads.
I’ve gotten used to having everything so conveniently broken down for me into a funny list with pretty pictures and cute gifs. You know what’s not written in that format? My Business Law textbook. I know it’s my fault, but these articles are making me a literary sloth. More than 200 words and no pictures? NOPE.
6. They over-simplify life experiences.
Need a boyfriend? Here are 10 steps to getting the perfect date. Have relationship problems? These are the 10 tell tale signs you’re about to break up. Can’t decide on lunch? Here are 59 restaurants you should go to before you DIE. Honestly, if life were easy enough that I could follow a ten-step process to ‘land that job’ or ‘get the man of my dreams’ …then I’d have learned how to count in 15 languages.
7. They overwhelm us with emotions, and unrealistic ambitions.
I never noticed how many places I’d never visited until I read the Top 50 places I need to go. I’ve also never been as hungry as when I read about the top foods to eat. Similarly, I’ve never felt so much as EVERY TIME they have some kind of Top Cutest Animal post.
8.. They always include a portion of worthless fluff.
By point 8 or 9 in the article, the writer clearly has given up. This is the ‘fluff’ part of the article. It’s obvious that they’re just trying to fill the quota their editors/bosses have given them. This is clearly not one of those…
9. They end with a breathtaking, life-altering finale.
This is the best part of these articles, leaving you with a quote or words of wisdom. This is also my least favorite part. You can almost hear the breath of fresh air the writer takes as they finish their masterpiece. It’s cheesy and always, always, leaves me feeling better about myself. I hate it.