Top 10 reasons that Top 10 lists suck

The Top 10 list is as prominent in most bloggers’ toolboxes as hammers are in carpenters’, um, toolboxes. Bloggers love to compile lists. Readers love to judge, debate and share those lists. In theory, everybody wins. However, if you’re a fan of travel writing – or any writing, for that matter – the Top 10 list is the embodiment of the death of narrative. Sure, Top 10 lists can entertain readers, share information and convey feelings, but too much of a good thing can be bad. Travel blogger Michael Hodson (aka @mobilelawyer) decided to take on Top 10 lists in a recent post on his blog, Go, See, Write.Hodson points out that “No one even bothers to do them right – A Top 10 lists should be a countdown from 10 to 1.” Well, he has a point there. We should be celebrating number 1. We’ve been guilty of that mistake here at Gadling. Heck, we’re guilty of using top 10 lists often here on the site. Why? Because we think that we have ideas to share. So, while Hodson claims that “Every good Top 10 has been done,” I must respectfully disagree.

I think every bad Top 10 list has been done several times over. I also think that many bloggers use the Top 10 list as a crutch to hide poor writing skills, muddled ideas and laziness. However, I think that Top 10 lists can be helpful. But, as Peter Parker’s uncle once noted, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Top 10 lists written purely for the sake of shock value or to generate some page views are a disservice to readers. Top 10 lists that are well thought out, promote discussion and truly share useful information have a place in the travel blog world. And, yes, so do Top 10 lists that are just plain hilarious.

Hodson’s post is worth a read and should give travel bloggers pause before they write their next Top 10 list.

Photo by Flickr user sam_churchill.