OK, so I am. Which is pretty ironic considering I am the queen of lists. Lists, or listicles even, are the reason for my blogging and online journalism success, the reason people find my blog, the reason companies approach me and ask me to write lists for them, I’m good at lists, I find them easy. But I am so over them and I doubt I’m the only one.
The first time I wrote a list for the online community and not for say, shopping, or packing for a holiday (my favourite sort, although I no longer do these, I quite like the thrill of seeing how much I can remember without a list and only realising I’ve left essentials upon arriving at a resort and realising FUCK I HAVE NO PHONE CHARGER HOW WILL I INSTAGRAM EVERYTHING), was in 2010.
I started a blog which I believe was called ‘Unecessary Lists’ and I wrote about five list articles over a week and then my blog died a death. Poor mite. And then earlier this year I decided to give it another go, and I wrote a listicle about living in London. Suddenly I had hundreds of thousands of people perusing the new blog I’d set up, hundreds of new followers on Instagram and Twitter, emails from a handful of companies wanting to feature it (I went with The Telegraph) and a Twitter DM asking me if I was interested in writing for Metro.co.uk. And that was off the back of just ONE list.
So I was a bit like, uhh, OK, maybe this is something I’m not bad at. So I wrote more, and more, and more.
A lot were for this blog, a lot were for Metro, and the ones I wrote about sex literally had millions and millions of views. Which is great for web traffic and my monthly bonus, not so great for trolls and abusive emails, texts and tweets and my mental health.
But lately I’ve been feeling bored of lists. It’s not just lacking inspiration on my blog (although seriously, NO IDEAS – I’ve written about every teenage memory and thought that runs through my 25-year-old brain), it’s that when I see lists shared on my Twitter and Facebook feeds I rarely ever click in now. Everything has been done. Every list has been written. Every single nostalgic angle has been covered. There is nothing left. Nothing new, nothing fresh, nothing exciting.
Lists have been great this year for websites and for blogs. Done well, or even mediocre-ly, they could (and still can) produce a lot of traffic because people tend to share them in a way they wouldn’t share style posts or make-up round ups or anything else commonly covered in the blogosphere. They’re the very reason I was able to go from new blog with no readers to 9-month old blog with tens of thousands of views a day, they got you here, they made you click through, they made you think this girl’s quite funny or relatable or cool or whatever it was that made you come back for more.
But they’ve been overdone. Like, seriously overdone. We hit peak list a few months back I reckon but now everyone’s catching on, brands that don’t necessarily suit them are attempting them and companies slower on the uptake are like you know what we should do? LISTS. Lists, all the lists. Let’s do them every day and dance around in them and surround ourselves with lists because lists are the future of content and lalala.
The difficult thing with online content is that it’s so much quicker than print content. No matter how much time you had to digest your favourite magazines a decade ago (like when you were off school with a blocked nose feeling panicked about how many art lessons you’d miss and whether you’d have time to finish your painting before the end of term) there was only ever going to be one issue a month, or at best, one a week. There was only a handful of mags you could choose from at Tesco, not millions of websites and blogs creating similar content the way there is now.
And because there was less competition you could stick to a new idea and run with it for as long as you wanted. A weekly page about all the stupid things us women have overheard men say? LET’S DO IT FOR YEARS, IT’S OUR THING, NO-ONE WILL GROW BORED OR GO ELSEWHERE, said More! magazine. OK, well they probably didn’t say it just like that, but you get the idea. If I was one of only a few people creating online content aimed at young women, each and every single list I did would be fresh, new, it would be shared wildly, it would be ground-breaking. Except it’s not, because there’s 287216465 other people doing them too.
And I’m going to say it, a lot of people are doing them, but a lot of people are doing them badly. And it’s kinda ruining it for the rest of us. OK, that sounds awful, and I don’t mean it to. Sometimes I read a list and I’m like FUCK THIS IS GOOD, WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS ABSOLUTE GOLD?! And sometimes I read a list and think, uh huh, OK, cool, how about you go away and think of something new and original instead of just jumping on a bandwagon for the sake of it.
The internet is evolving quicker than we can keep up. There’s going to be a new ‘listicle’ soon, and rather than attempt to join in on something that’s already getting old veeeeery quickly, I think it’s better off to try something original, something inspiring, something different.
I guess this is a bit how I feel a bit YouTube. I feel like I’m so late to the already crammed party, I’d be better off leaving it to the already established whizzes and sticking to what I’m good at. Sticking to my words rather than my video editing.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe internet trends will last longer than I foresee, after all, Facebook’s decline is already much, much slower than MSN Messenger and Bebo who came before it, and I’d have never expected to still be using it religiously nearly 8 years down the line, but alas, here I am, refreshing my blog page notifications.
I was once told that ‘no idea on the internet is new’ and I totally believe that. Globally, we have covered everything a bazillion times over. We are just re-writing and re-structuring things, putting our own spin on ideas and content.
I guess all we can do as bloggers and digital writers is be bolder, funnier, deeper and more relatable than those who came before us and those who we battle against for readers and page views. The internet is such a weird, new place and I have no idea what will come next.
So yeah, I reckon the listicle is going to sink to the internet graveyard in 2015, although that’s not going to stop me whittling out about 8947598 more before than though, obvs.
Now to sit back and try and think of a new way to absolutely own the internet. Yikes.