It’s not so much that I love lists, but that we love lists. List posts simply work.

At least we seem to.

I do now wish to come clean that the title of this post is a bit misleading. It implies I know why blog posts with lists are shared more. I don’t.

I do have a good guess which I picked up from others.

When people live in a oral tradition (before writing is invented) lists are a useful device for learning and remembering things.

For most of human history and pre history, we shared information orally.

Humans have been around for about 200,000 years, and writing is less than 5,000 years old.

We may be biologically wired to respond well to lists because they served us so well during most of our time on earth.

To illustrate how not new the use of lists in written text is, there are ancient Buddhist texts (2,000+ years old) that make extensive use of lists.

However, does the reason something works have a bearing on how well it works?

Most people who turn on an electric light have no clue what happens behind the scenes to make that light light up. Yet their ignorance of the science and technology behind the scenes in no way diminishes the benefit the receive from artificial light.

Is not the same true of your use of lists in blog posts?

Since they work, why not use them?

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