I have to confess this, I believe LISTs.
If I am given any information in the form of a numbered list, especially if it is a link from a blog or article, I will unquestioningly believe that it is well researched by experts, that it is agenda free and is accurate. I will, against my own reason and logic use the list to make choices, persuade others and also adjust my self esteem by the viewpoint in the list.
For example, this fall, you can see me wonderstruck at the kids who get into the Top Colleges listed by US News and Princeton Review. It doesn’t seem to make a difference that I know that their methodology is similar to ranking marriages based on how beautiful the bride looked on her wedding day. I agonize that my kid will certainly pick one of the subjects listed “Most useless Majors for a career”. [BTW, English and Philosophy lead this list. Never mind Hank Paulson, Michael Reisner, Carly Fiona and Toni Morrison, are all English majors.] My dentist’s waiting room read includes “Most well dressed men in the WORLD” by Joan XoXo of Dishrag magazine.( Not surprisingly, all are American, all live within 30 mile radiius of Beverley Hills). After 20 years of marriage, I can’t help going over the expert list on “How to make friends with your in laws” ( This list includes “Show them you are independent, but don’t leave the house late at night”).I also do these little questionnaires that are actually lists masquerading as quizzes. ” Are you a helicopter parent?” ( Whew! Am I relieved that I got “Congrats you choose to co-pilot” after 50 questions, about babies, adult children and what not! ) and ” Are you serious about weight loss” ( C’mon, who are you kidding?).
You get my drift.
If there are many more like me, and I think there are, the job of marketers and propagandists would be quite easy. Just publish the pet ideas and theories as lists, and arrange for them to be tweeted, retweeted, shared and reposted.Create a discussion forum for the LIST and have a professor from Harvard and may be Bill Maher comment on it, and the job is done.
P.S. One more confession, I found Michael Reisner and Hank Paulson from, yes, you got it, the list of ” Top guns who are English Majors”