Why Are Millennials Obsessed with Lists?

BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, even BridgeWorks' very own blog—the internet cannot get enough of content organized into lists.

From the year’s best cat GIFs to '90s toys that we still long for, Millennials heavily traffic sites that post listicles (lists + articles). Why is this generation so fascinated and entertained by lists? Check out the—you guessed it—list below for some possible explanations:

They're concise.
Whether it’s on the bus ride to work, during a lunch break, or sitting on the couch at home, listsicles are quickly scrollable and don’t require vast amounts of attention or concentration. They get straight to the point and are easy to read. In the same amount of time it takes to read a chapter of a book or the first few pages of the newspaper, you can read 10 listicles on virtually any topic. For a group that is used to dividing their attention, Millennials find lists a time-efficient medium.

They're convenient.
Smartphones have changed the way people interact with information. According to Pew Research, 83% of Millennials own smartphones, compared to just 74% of Gen X and 49% of Baby Boomers. It’s no wonder so many sites gear their content towards the younger demographic. With an infinite number of apps for any website you can imagine, access to listicles is literally a click (or tap of the finger) away.

They’re nutritious and delicious.
It’s true that quite a few listicles are silly or nonsensical with a vast number relating to cats, but they can also be a digestible form of current events and “serious” news. The Millennial generation grew up during a very somber time—Columbine, 9/11, the Recession. Listicles offer a way of staying informed on important issues without being overwhelmed or needing much previous knowledge. This group also looks to lists for collections of advice, inspiration, or product recommendations.
They’re relatable and shareable.
My favorite listicles are ones where I’ve laughed out loud or let out a few “aw”s. When I come across something that reminds me of a friend, I immediately share it with her on social media. This sentiment isn’t limited to Millennials, of course, but this group’s first instinct to text, tweet, or post their findings reminds us how media savvy they are.
They’re a different (and fun!) medium.
According to a study done by Adweek, this generation is open to all kinds of content, whether it’s high or lowbrow, as long as it “resonates with their worldview.” Lists offer content in any mix of mediums: text, pictures, GIFs, and even video. If you’re looking to expand your library with 100 classic novels or need to feed your obsession with Harry Potter, this medium can deliver.

Ready for some list inception? If you can’t get enough of this medium, check out this list of my favorite lists:

  1. 32 of The Greatest Things That Have Ever Happened On Tumblr
  2. 65 Books You Need to Read in Your 20s
  3. 10 Famous Writers and Their Daily Creative Routines
  4. Are These the 43 Funniest Gifs of All Time?
  5. 99 Creative Logo Designs for Inspiration
  6. The 21 Most Adorable Puppies of 2014
  7. 11 of the Most Hilarious Product Reviews on Amazon
  8. 2014 Photos of the Year
  9. Top 10 Most Gender Equal Countries in the World
  10. 6 Generational Terms to Make You Sound Cool at Happy Hour