List Posts Are For Lazy Bloggers

There is truth in this.

There is truth in this.

List posts are for lazy bloggers. They are what you go to when you don’t have anything else in the tank or are in need of linkbait.

There is nothing easier than writing a post called 500 Bloggers You Love To Hate or 983 Ways to Say Snow.  Of course I must mention that we run a double standard here so any time I run a list post it is the most awesome thing you have ever read, or at least the best thing you are reading at the moment you are reading it.

In the interest of being fair and somewhat balanced I need to say that some list posts aren’t bad. There are those that have merit but I am not kidding when I say that most of them make me think that someone has taken the easy way out.

Confession time: Sometimes it is ok to take the easy way out. Now I know that goes against the grain and isn’t the advice that many give but it works for me and that is all I need. Does that sound selfish to you? Well, that is ok too because sometimes it is important to be selfish. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is be selfish.

Here is what I mean by that. If you are among the 17 long time readers you know that I am in the midst of not one, not two but 1,987,839 major changes in my life. I have broad shoulders, literally and figuratively and am capable of dancing in the fire for extended periods of time. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel my feet burning or that the stress has been good for my hairline.

For the sake of my family I find ways to take time for me. It is part of why I play basketball twice a week and why I try to exercise daily. My selfishness in taking that time for me means that when I am with my family I am present, or close to it.

That is not always easy for me. My mind races a mile a minute and I often have multiple things going on inside my head. But when my children want to talk to me I want them to see that I am focused upon them and not off somewhere else.

Because so many of these changes are happening so quickly it has been even harder for me to focus. Sometimes when they talk to me about their day I am trying to figure out if we can keep them at their school for another year or if this is their last rodeo.

Life is Much More Complicated Than I Thought It Would Be

Today I grabbed lunch with a dear friend. Midway through lunch I realized that this year will mark 30 years of friendship. I told him that since it was our 30th anniversary lunch is on him and he said that he wouldn’t mind buying unless I put out.

I said that I would be happy to put out but that if we go that route I insist on being Ernie. Well, he didn’t like the idea of being Bert so he refused.

The end result was that I had to pay for my lunch, which is perfectly fine with me. I told him that I loved him but that I’d rather lick a cactus than kiss him. Don’t bother asking how or why we engaged in such a ridiculous discussion cause we can’t tell you.

Hell if it wasn’t for me we’d still be sitting at Zankou Chicken waiting for Godot. That bastard owes me money, but I digress.

Anyhoo, I asked my friend to think about high school for a moment because I wanted to know if he ever pictured life being like this. He said no and I said that I never could have guessed that it would go this way either.

In 1985 we were doing donuts in the quad and trying to figure out how to get lucky with a couple of girls. A thousand years later we laugh about the day we did donuts in the quad and compare notes on how to keep the boys from getting lucky with our daughters.

There Comes A Revolution

We both agreed that we’ll ride out the storms and come out the other side a bit older but just fine. The reason it is going to happen that way is because we are going to make it happen. One of the benefits of life experience is that you learn that Kenny Rogers was right. “You have got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

You see that is my insouciant attitude coming out. That is the stubborn Taurus laughing at the mud that is being flung at me. I get through things because I believe I will. Attitude makes such a big difference. Sometimes mine sucks. I have my dark side and moments where the demons break free and we run with the moon but those aren’t the rule they are the exception.

Small victories add up. They help you remember and recognize that the bigger ones aren’t impossible.  Find your center, close your eyes and picture yourself living your dream. Just remember not to impinge upon my dreams because that would make me angry and I would have to cut you.
And most importantly try to remember to be present with those you love because your life is made up of moments in time and it would suck if you missed one because you were some lazy blogger writing a list post.
Coming soon my list of my 25 favorite songs.  Remember when I write a list post it is not lazy, it is freaking brilliant. 😉
See you in the morning, TheJackB is leaving the building now.
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  1. TheJackB April 11, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Gah, don’t ask my why there are duplicate comments here, freaking technology sometimes….

  2. LaRae Quy February 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I agree with you that list blogs are tiresome and rarely offer good content. There is something magnetic about numbers, though. When I see a blog with the headline “4 ways to . . .” it catches my attention. This is not the same thing as a list blog, but numbers help the mind to make a judgment on whether it’s worthwhile to go ahead and click . . .

    • Jack February 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Hi LaRae,

      The number posts are magnetic. I know that anytime I use a headline that says X number of ways to do XYZ the click rate goes up.

      They can certainly be an effective way to generate more interest in your headlines.

  3. Late_Bloomers February 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    @TheIndigoGirl Hi Kittie, a lovely and productive week to you, how was your weekend?

  4. Dan February 19, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Thank you for giving me the idea for my next post – The 26 Laziest List Bloggers. Save me from doing another list post. I am calling it now – 2012, The Year of the List Blogger.

    Hoops twice a week – I do the same. Of course, I play the much preferred and far superior East Coast game 🙂

    • Jack February 19, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Hi Dan,

      I expect to see both of those post within a day but that is because you are not one of those lazy bloggers.

      Although you do play the boring version of hoops, you know the one that rarely wins championships. 😉

      Spurs, Lakers, Mavericks- can’t think of any other team of note that is worth mentioning who won in recent years. 😀

  5. Jens P. Berget February 19, 2012 at 5:12 am

    I haven’t thought about list posts this way before. But, that reminds me of my latest comment on Marcus Sheridan’s post. I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but it was called 50 best or 50 ways or 50 tips… and my comment was, wow it looks like you’ve spent weeks to write this post (because it was long and it was about 50 things). And the reply I received from Marcus was that it took him 30 minutes 🙂

    So I guess you’re right. I haven’t focused on list posts at all, but it seems that people love them, so I might give them a try – because I’m lazy sometimes too 🙂

    • Jack February 19, 2012 at 10:07 am

      Hi Jens,

      Thirty minutes to write 50 tips? That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make me wonder a little bit.

      A well done list post can be great, but when they are just banged out willy-nilly they can lose something.

  6. Bruce Sallan February 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Sorry JB, on this we disagree! I love doing my “lists” – it’s challenging and it works. There’s a reason people like lists. And, for me, when I write for them I get to write outside of my niche! Love that…

    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Hey Bruce,

      Some of the best blog posts are lists but it really depends on how they are done.

      You are not among the lazy blogger crowd, but there are many who are…

  7. Bill Dorman February 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Sumbich; I have nothing for next wk and I was thinking doing a list of something.

    It’s one of those things I could write about 100 things, but it all seems rehash right now so don’t know where I’m going; if anywhere at all. I guess we’ll see on Monday, huh? I could go silent…..

  8. Christina Majaski February 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I agree list posts are lazy and I love them. Except for the ones that u can tell required substantial research. Mine don’t but I still enjoy writing them.

    I’d say I should’ve both agreed to be Ernie btw. As they say, two Ernies are always more fun than one Bert.

  9. elena February 18, 2012 at 10:03 am

    lists posts are harder for me because I tend to ramble. being succinct is not a strength. Having said that, for the very same reason I like lists posts because topics tend to by synthesized information or thoughts so they seem easier to read (insert lazy).

    and I also loved the description of the interaction with your friend. so genuine and all out funny.

    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Elena,

      I am partial to rambling and think it is endearing, but that might be because I do it too. 😉

      Hope you are having a great weekend. Maybe I’ll include some more tales of time with the boys.

  10. Joe February 18, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I know they’re not technically “list” posts, but I like to see the list of songs you are listening to when you post them.

    I think I’ve done a couple of list posts myself and enjoy doing it every once in a while. Hard to tell a story in list format though. And that’s my agenda for the most part.

    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Joe,

      Yeah music posts really lend themselves well to a list. Might have to crank one of those out today.

      A story in list format could be fun, might be a bit choppy though.

  11. henry February 18, 2012 at 6:35 am

    hmmmm i wouldnt want to be Burt……i enjoyed reading the banter you and your friend had.a nice refreshingly diffeent post

  12. Carolyn February 18, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Hey Jack,

    I respectfully and vehemently disagree with you. Not about the wisdom of being Ernie versus being Burt, but about list posts.

    I think list posts are the toughest to write. If I write a list of the 10 best apps for road trips, it’s like writing 10 reviews for one post. Not only that, I can’t write a thorough review of each app, so I have to make a judgment call about which features are the most compelling for each app.

    If I write about tech, I want to know about it thoroughly, which means I need to be an expert on 10 apps. So much easier to write 10 articles about one app each.

    Similarly, when I write about other bloggers, responding to an award, such as the Versatile Blogger Award, it’s gut-wrenching. I have to name 10-12 bloggers which means I’m dissing the dozens of other bloggers I respect.

    So if you ever see a list post on my blog, I wasn’t being lazy, I was trying of overcome my fear of list posts.

    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Hi Carolyn,

      I’ll play both sides of the fence and say that I agree with you, see paragraph three.

      One of the many things I like about your posts is that it is clear you have taken time to learn about the topic.

      Many bloggers don’t do that. They just throw a few words on the page and hope no one questions them too hard.

      Or they regurgitate the same old thing that has been said a million times.

      It is kind of a waste. But I agree that a good list can be hard to write and that it takes time to do it.

      • Carolyn February 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

        Thanks, Jack. I guess you’re right, if you don’t bother to learn about items in your list, then list posts are easy. I hadn’t really considered that.

        I always want to be sure I understand what I write about so I can answer readers’ questions.

        Okay, so if I wanted a lazy post, which sounds quite appealing on certain days (see paragraph 4 above), I should try this. I could make a list post of apps I have reviewed in different articles. I’m liking this idea. 🙂

  13. Claudia February 18, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Hi Jack…brilliant, indeed…and you can write a gazillion list posts on music…when all else fails in my life, there’s always music. But the best line here today…”and most importantly, try to remember to be present with those you love”…. perfect….*aiming to be one of the 17*. 😉


    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Hi Claudia,

      Music really lends itself to list posts, just begs for it to be done. So do books, movies and television.

      In regard to becoming one of the 17 I understand that the board is meeting next month. That is when they normally accept applications for membership. 😉

  14. Annie Andre February 18, 2012 at 2:08 am

    This isn’t really a productive comment i just wanted to say that i enjoyed reading about the banter you and your friend had. For the record, i wouldn’t want to be Burt either.
    i’ve never done a list post, mainly because it seemed like a lot of work. Does that make me UBER LAZY. Oh the irony…is in there somewhere. i just know it.

    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Hi Annie,

      So what we have learned is that Bert gets no love from this crowd. 😉

      If you like banter the boys and I are good at it, maybe even experts. I am still trying to figure out how to monetize it. Mom always said to play to my strengths 😉

  15. Ben February 18, 2012 at 1:53 am

    I think you could also argue that list posts are good for lazy readers 🙂 And with so many potential blogs and blog posts to read, it’s all too easy to, um, take the easy way out 🙂

    As with anything, I think list posts can be overdone. I used to run a blog “Top Ten Blog Tips” – every post was a list of 10 items. At least it was consistent, but it was a pain to write 10 item list posts every time I published. Needless to say, it didn’t last.

    I think a list post is harder to write if you set yourself an ambitious limit – such as my post where I listed 50 tips for using Twitter. It sounds simple, but it took quite a while to write. Not what I’d call lazy. But a list post with 3, 4 or 5 items can be very quick and easy to write – and I do write some of these if I’m getting a bit lazy.

    Not writing lazy posts, lists or otherwise, is the lesson here 🙂

    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Hi Ben,

      Agreed. It is much harder to come up with a solid 50 tips than just four or five.

      That top ten list you mentioned earlier could be taxing too. I can see many benefits but also how it might be hard to keep up.

      In regard to readers some people argue that it makes more sense to write shorter posts and include bullet points because of “lazy readers.”

      I can’t say that they are wrong about that, but I prefer to cultivate a more dedicated group. That is probably a topic worth covering in a different post.

  16. Hajra February 18, 2012 at 1:20 am

    A friend challenged me to do a post titled “x lessons in x years” and the lazy writer in me thought “lists post are easy, let’s do this”. when I finished it, I was just glad I am 26. I also read a post titled “100 nice things about me”; not a pompous in your face post, but a good one about feeling good about yourself.

    But yes, I do write list posts when I am lazy.

    Sometimes it is nicer to take the easy way out, only if that is less painful. Life is funny, you just have to laugh right back at it.

    As for your list post, they are awesome, keep them coming!

    • Jack February 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Hi Hajra,

      Sometimes list posts can be fun, even if they help us take the easy way out.

      The ones that make me crazy are usually something that says “best” something or other. Most of them aren’t done very well and serve as linkbait.

      But I do see value in trying to come up with a list of x lessons in x years.

      Or even the 100 things about a person. There are some opportunities to find real nuggets in those.

  17. Hajra February 18, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I would agree. I do list posts when I am lazy. But a friend challenged me to do a “x lessons in x years of life” and that was a list and after I got around to doing it, I realized how lucky I am to be just 26! I am a lazy writer and I am trying to work on it.

    There are times when nothing really works; but there will be times when your struggle and determination will get you out of it. I know the superhero in you will rise and shine.

    As for list post, I just read a post titled 100 nice things about me ; not a pompous one, but a post to make you feel better about yourself. That was no way near to lazy. But yes, I ain’t doing it either.

    Waiting for your next list post. You are tight, they are freakin’ awesome! 🙂

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