It's no secret that I'm on Facebook a lot (more than I should be, truth be told) and that I like to read articles that friends post there (you may note that they are often fodder for my own blog posts here). So, allow me to make a few enumerated observations about these articles:
1) A large number of these articles are enumerated lists. You know, "6 Things I Learned From Slamming my Finger in the Door". "8 Reasons to Buy an Eight-Track Tape Player This Holiday Season". "The 40 Best Gregorian Chants of the Decade". Not only that, but I've noted that . . .
2) The number of enumerated lists seems to be increasing. In fact, I believe the majority of FB articles I see posted are these types of articles, and this was not always so. But I see a reason why, because personally, I find that . . .
4) My blog posts which are enumerated lists seem to get more hits than normal. Every once in a while, I post a list of three's: "Three Lies". "Three Reasons Not To Date". "Three Things NOT To Do When a Woman is Crying". I'm always surprised at the traffic they get. And it's not because they are more brilliant than the other things I write. Nobody knows how brilliant they are until they read them, and they have to click on them to read them. People are apparently more likely to click on them when they see the number in the title. In other words, I'm not out of the mainstream in that regard. Now this fact leads to the following . . .
5) I find myself wondering why we are more likely to click on enumerated lists to read. As I said, I don't even have to necessarily be that interested in the topic at hand, but a number in the title draws me. And clearly, others have figured this out, too, or there wouldn't be this plethora of such articles popping up. And I have a theory . . .
6) Enumerated lists are easy to skim. Most of them are formatted the way I have formatted this one: the main point is in bold with an elaboration of that point following. This means that I can just read the points in bold if I choose and get the gist of the thing and decide if it's worth deeper reading. Or I can pick and choose the items that I want to hear more about and read more closely there. And because of how I think, I jump from this fact to a larger observation about our modern world . . .
7) Our attraction to enumerated lists reveals a shallowness in our society . . . or at least in the subsection of society that makes frequent use of social media and the internet as a source of information. We live a mile wide and an inch deep. We revel in sound bites and catchphrases and witty captions plastered over photos of angry-looking cats. If you didn't come to Facebook with ADD, you are likely to leave Facebook with it. No, that's incorrect -- you're not likely to leave at all. And a final note . . .
8) My wondering about our attraction to enumerated lists is not in the least bit strange . . . no matter what my eldest says about it. She is always telling me I wonder about the weirdest things. "Why do you want to know who Wurzbach Parkway is named after? Who cares? What difference would it make if you knew?" No, this is a very normal and practical wondering I'm engaged in. It speaks to effective communication and the nature of humanity. Nothing weird about it. "Weird" . . . please . . . this from the girl who pondered last week why the rear wheels on school buses are placed so far forward, leaving so much of the body of the vehicle suspended over air in the back.
And she made me wonder about that, too. If anybody can answer that one for me, I'd be much obliged.