1. Lists are guaranteed to have useful information.Before you clicked this link, you knew there would be seven distinct, interesting pieces of information. How else could we have gotten as far as seven? There was so much to say that we literally had to divide it up and present it in a disposable, easy-to-digest format. Click through to a list, and you get tips on nutrition, dating, which features might be in the next iPhone but probably won't, the limit is limitless. Lists provide the knowledge you need to live a better, healthier, sexier life. And better means not only healthier, but sexier. Because of lists.
2. Boredom. Look, we know how it is. Right now, this very second, you need to be doing stuff. Work stuff, school stuff, household stuff, family stuff — there is a TON of shit waiting, if only you'd get off the internet and start. And you will! You totally will. It's just that ... ugh, GOD, so boring. Boring, boring, boring. But a list you haven't read yet? That could be exciting. If you're reading a list, you don't have to do all your stupid stuff. Isn't stuff stupid? So stupid.
3. It was cross-blogged. The headline caught your eye from HuffPo or Mashable or BuzzFeed. You saw it during your morning roundup, a mix of industry blogs you check out plus a few folks you know who have been writing some cool stuff lately. A friend posted it to Facebook. One of your coworkers retweeted it. The link streamed down through your RSS feeds, lurking among all the other headlines full of lists. It was on TechCrunch. Reddit, maybe? Oh shut up, you saw it somewhere.
4. You are quietly hoping that one (or more [or all]) of the reasons will be adorable animals. In ascending order of preference:
Sloths >> Hedgehogs >> Otters >> Baby hippos >> Piglets >> Dogs >> Cats >> Maru the Japanese cat >> Puppies (tie) >> Kittens (tie) >> Kittens sleeping on dogs
5. Statistics. Four out of five lists use figures to illustrate their point. This was the finding of a double-blind study conducted to generate data. The goal of such figures will simultaneously be 1) to shock you, and 2) to convince you of the viewpoint you already had. Fingers crossed, the figures will be sourced to a separate blog post with a awkwardly tall infographic.
6. Clicking the link was an accident. Hey, it happens. No judgments. There's a lot going on in the average web layout, you probably click something by mistake half a dozen times per day. Especially if you have one of those thumb-wheel mice.
7. This crack in our souls that can never be cauterized. There is nothing left to discover on the internet. Nothing. You have seen everything there is to see. And yet you click. Oh, how you click. You click like it's a mission, a search for that one missing piece of the sky that will fit neatly in the chasm within you. Did you hope this link would be it? Ouch. Maybe try clicking again?
As for us, yikes. Don't even get us started on us. We tell ourselves that lists drive pageviews but it's not even about that anymore, it's a buzzing noise that can only be silenced by your left mouse button. Content? Whatever. Read it, don't read it — hell, it doesn't even matter anymore, please Jesus, just click our link.
Seriously though, dwell rate gives us sway with our ad partners, so if you could just leave the tab open in the background for a while that'd be great.