14 Secret Traits That All Successful Listicles Possess

33f1a34Scientific studies would show, if they studied this sort of thing, that what you read on the internet is really important. Wait, maybe they do study that. I think I read an article on some Spirit / Science website that the things you read on the internet make you a good person if you’re reading things about spirit and science and if you use your mind to do quantum mechanics, but only in a positive way.

Since we understand how very important reading is to using everything from Buzzfeed to your favorite Instagram hashtags, it’s crucial to understand the best way to read online – the listicle.

The listicle has plenty of advantages that make it the best way for you to read. First, the whole thing is numbered, so you don’t get confused about which paragraph you’re on while you’re jumping word-to-word from left to right. Second, they’re easy to understand because of the number thing. So maybe there’s only one advantage.

Anyway, if you’re going to read listicles at a high level, you’re going to need to know what makes a successful listicle so successful. Then maybe you can implement those success factors into your own listicles or even your relationships.

1. Remove Negative People

This is one of the most important listicle items ever, appearing in what Forbes calls “98% of all internet listicles.” To be able to spot a negative person all you need to know is whether or not that person agrees with you. If they do, they can be in your listicle or pilates class. If they disagree with you, they are “negative” and they will only cause you to question yourself and your beliefs, and you might find out you’re not doing something right and that will ruin your listicle or pot luck dinner. Seriously, kill everyone you know who isn’t named Pollyanna.

2. Be Vague

Most listicles don’t realize how important it is to say really general, non-specific things. This is “negative” like people are. If you say specific things, chances are people will stop paying attention or maybe disagree with you and then you, my dear listicle, will be forced to remove those people (see #1). By being extremely vague and not insightful at all, you can make people agree with you, according to Time Magazine.

3. Say “Look At Me”

This may sound simple. I mean, all you have to do is write “look at me”. I just did it twice. Trust me. It works. If you’re worried that it won’t work, try “hey, look at me,” so you know you have their attention first.

4. Be SO Headlines

If you don’t know what this means already, you’re probably a terrible listicle and shouldn’t have any friends to go to the movies with. You need to start your headline with a number, and this is one time you don’t want to be vague. You should be very specific about what your number is. It’s best to use the amount of items in your listicle, but this isn’t crucial because no one will check. What is crucial is that it’s an exact number. No confusing fractions. No big numbers. Also, no ugly numbers like 10. 10 looks like a skinny person next to a fat person and that will only make people feel pity or shame, and they won’t want to read your listicle items or take you to prom. Also, it’s important to use your headline to make them think they’re about to be stunned or amazed or have their lives changed or that they will “win the internet” with you.  That’s how you get and keep a man.

5. Use Three Big Words to Sound “Legit”

One of the best ways for people to know you’re a smart listicle is for them to see exactly three big words somewhere in your listicle. This will let them know that a truly prophetic writer is among them (that’s one – prophetic – hope you’re paying attention). If you use more than three big words people will mistake you for a book or an essay or an article for “normals” and then you will lose them as readers or people to build sandcastles with.

6. Make People Feel Good Without Effort

Now that we’re in the meat and potatoes of our adventure, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s called “manipulation”. Don’t tell, or else people will think you’re “negative” and burn you with a cattle brand. Manipulating people is totally okay if you do it for the right reasons. People generally, according to internal Monsanto studies, don’t mind being manipulated if you make them feel good, sooooo… make them feel good! One way to do this is by telling them they’ll achieve great things by doing exactly what they’re already doing and thinking what they’re already thinking. This is where we remember #2. Make points like “all successful people eat meals” or “the greatest artists of all time agree that you should have some amount of ‘me’ time, no matter how much”.

7. Make People Feel Superior Without Effort

This is the second step in the manipulation of readers or of fellow Starbucks line inhabitants. Make them feel better than other people even when you know they’re not and they know they’re not and everyone else knows it too. Good ways to do this are to A.) be vague and B.) set up a “second class” of citizens who are the “bad people” i.e. the people who aren’t doing the good things your listicle tells you, whether or not you know anyone like that. Say things like, “you’ve raised your standards” or “you have empathy for your common man”. It doesn’t matter if everyone believes they have these traits. In fact, that’s better! That means everyone will feel superior to everyone else, completing a perfect circle and sending you to sit at the right hand of the father, while everyone else gets snuffed out like a Red Wedding style massacre.

Have at you, Gluten!

Have at you, Gluten!

8. Use ‘Game of Thrones’ References

Self-explanatory. Don’t be dense.

9. Be All Affirmations

The best way to get people to read you / like you / want you to be the one the arrow lands on when you’re playing Spin the Bottle is to give them positive affirmations all the time. This is the last step of the manipulations. You might ask, “why wasn’t this grouped with the other manipulations at #8?” and the answer is simple. I only just now thought about the Game of Thrones thing and realized how important that was and ALSO now you’re distracted from the fact that this is basically the same as #6. It’s important to realize that all truly happy people need to tell themselves over and over that they’re happy. Otherwise they would forget that they’re happy while they’re doing other things besides reminding themselves and then they might feel bad while reading your listicle and then we’re back to #1 and you have no one to play catch with.

10. Cite Sources

It’s important that people believe you have a mastery of the subject matter and the best way to do this is referring to other people who had the idea first. It actually doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a good source or a bad source. The fact that it is a source will let people know that you’ve done your research and then they will trust you. Good sources to cite are ones that you know will fulfill all the rest of the items on this listicle. At all costs, do not make people go to another site where they might feel bad or have their views challenged or you will end up with no one in your wedding party.

11. Write One Incredibly Smart Entry in the List

If you write one AND ONLY ONE smart thing if your listicle, you may be able to trick 50%+ of the ‘educated’ population to share a listicle on social media that they wouldn’t share otherwise, this according to the good people at lawofattraction.com. One smart and insightful thing will get that precious share and then you’ll have even intelligent people wasting their day reading the rest of the listicle items. Make sure to write it well. It’s probably best that one of the three big words be in this entry. Again, be sure not to have more than one smart entry or else people might have their views and opinions challenged and then you will have no readers and people will steal your waterskis.

Unknown12. Use Pictures of Awesome Things

When people share your listicle on Facebook, a picture will come up. If that picture is of Jennifer Lawrence or a weird castle built into a cliff, you will attract more readers and then you’ll have someone to hold your soda while you use the restroom. Celebrities are great to use, especially if you can “manipulate” your reader to think that they might be as successful or good-looking as that person. Then they will share your listicle and maybe let you get to 3rd base on the second date.


This is the most important thing I have to say. That is why I put it last. A big finish is important, says Reader’s Digest. Plus, you know that readers of listicles always make it to the end. These people have exceptional attention spans. That’s why making sure you have an exact, whole number in the headline is important (see #4).

Every listicle is the same and you don’t want to be different. SO BE THE SAME. I can’t stress this enough. Every listicle is the same list of items, just with a different headline. That’s why it’s important to be SOOOOO headlines. Just look at the hero of all the internet, Elite Daily. That site hasn’t had a new word on it in 12 years. They just shuffle the headlines between articles and WHAM-O, new content. If only every listicle could have realized that groundbreaking technological breakthrough at the same time, the internet would be skinner and they wouldn’t have to have birth limits in China. So make sure your listicle is the same as every other one if you want it to get a real job.

Understand, the joy of reading listicles is that you’ve already read that listicle! Why waste time reading for new information? Your old information is good enough, especially when it looks like new information. The other joy is not having to notice different paragraphs. Oh, shit. No one will read this.









What Not to Do On Facebook (Especially in LA)…Part Two

It’s been a while. Your Facebook page has evolved. So has how you use it. And by “evolve” I mean, gotten way, way worse.

It’s to the point where the original What Not to Do On Facebook (Especially in LA) doesn’t come close to accounting for all of the inane shit you are (or maybe only I am?) forced to wade through on a daily basis.  So without further delay…

Last time I wrote about an epidemic level of narcissism.  I doubt much about that has changed.  It’s certainly as real and as omnipresent as ever.  But here’s the good news – and all of you who are obsessed with your self-help books and your replacement churches will love this – it’s totally not (all) your fault!  I know how much you need to hear that everything you do is wonderful…and it, like, soooooo is.  Don’t change a thing.  If other people don’t like every damn thing you do…well, you know…they’re just not positive enough.

The truth is this.  When you get attention on social media – Facebook ‘likes’, retweets, Instagram ‘likes’, cock pics on Snapchat (that’s all Snapchat is for, right?), your brain releases all the happy chemicals that it used to release when you were actually doing happy things, like laughing, or cheering, or hugging, or receiving cock pics in a text message like it was 2011.

(For the record, cock pics are never a good idea.)

And while it is completely your fault for being an attention whore who can’t survive without other people’s admiration or glowering jealousy, it’s not your fault that the chemical reaction in your brain has you addicted to repeatedly validating yourself in the face of all those ridiculously unnecessary insecurities.  So, with that said, please remember that it’s okay if you do these things.  You just suck in the eyes of everyone around you.  Even those who clicked ‘like’ on that picture of your cat.

Their last twenty ‘likes’ were on the pictures of your tits.

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You Eat McDonald’s. Every Day.


Just fuckin’ eat me.

You eat McDonald’s.  Every single day.

I bet you didn’t realize it, but it’s true, I promise you.  Just today you ate a McRib for breakfast.  And the McRib isn’t even in season!  Mmm…rib season.

Today, within ten minutes of getting up, making some coffee…

(Oh, no!  Caffeine!  You’re Satan, caffeine!  We should all just drink green tea instead and then listen to our Eckhart Tolle tapes. Oh wait, that’s not Eckhart Tolle, that’s the computerized Apple Talk voice telling me to eat a McRib.  They sound the same.  Eckhart Tolle is the reason I ate a McRib!)

…anyway.  Coffee.  Yeah, I made some.  Then I poured it in a funny souvenir coffee cup that my brother brought back from Cabo San Lucas.  It has a joke on it that some overly P.C. shithead would be offended by, but really, it’s not remotely offensive.

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If You Look Up “Gullible” in the Dictionary…

Facebook for Dummies

Every couple of months, a new status update worms its way through Facebook promising to protect the “private” information you’ve been sharing with a bunch of virtual strangers on the internet.  The newest one hit last night, and boy…it’s really…something?

Let’s just cut to the chase here.  If you reposted that, there’s a big part of you that is a gullible moron.  Now, I know that sounds mean, but seriously.  You just read something online – a place not known for its veracity – and then reposted it without doing any research at all.  People repeating what other dumb people tell them is one of the surest symptoms of being dumb.

In the future, you should realize that if a bunch of your dimmest friends on Facebook are reposting something on Facebook and engaging in an internet meme, that internet meme is probably total bullshit.  Let’s consider some of the biggest ones the last couple of years:

Remember when you guys all posted that video about that mean African warlord so some rich white kids could make money and encourage U.S. military involvement in an oil-rich foreign nation…because we all know how well that usually turns out, and how many innocent children that saves?  Oh, wait.  No it doesn’t!   And remember how you were going to buy your anti-Kony kits and bring him to justice this year and have a special day on 4/20 (you still did that) for that Christian evangelist organization who’s running it?  Remember all the research you did before you reposted that?

What about the time when you changed your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon to help prevent child abuse?  I know, it sounds silly now, but you were just trying to raise awareness about the problem of child abuse and cover that 0% gap of adults who aren’t already aware of that problem.  We can all agree that raising awareness is a good thing, right?  Well, no.  Raising awareness in an incorrect way is a very, very bad thing, because you’re encouraging people to do something that doesn’t need doing and then making them feel good about the nothing they just did.  Those are bad things.

Also, willfully disinforming people is a bad thing.  Everyone has the right to their own ignorance.  But go ahead and skip spreading it, okay?  There are enough of you already.

Remember how you, you internet anti-geniuses, convinced everyone that there was a question about Obama’s citizenship status?  Or how you convinced your uneducated friends that Einstein thinks The Secret really works, or how the Tea Party formed thinking the United States was founded as a Christian nation?  Those are all products of dumb people reposting things they don’t understand without questioning them.  That’s the mark of the anti-intellectual and it’s a good reminder of just how the education in our country is declining.  But let’s move on…

Let’s go straight for the actual status update:

There are ways to know that the “legal notice” isn’t a legal notice at all without doing any research.  First off, there’s an exclamation point – “For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!”  Legal notices generally don’t feel the need to yell at you and the validity and strength of the statements held in them don’t change on the basis of exclamation points.  That should seal it right there, by the time you finish the first paragraph.

If that wasn’t good enough, the convention the post refers to is the “Berne” convention.  Not “Berner”.  Although, I suppose, if there was a Berner Convention, and if it did discuss this, and did decide that there were new laws, and that your statuses were binding legal documents, it STILL wouldn’t supersede Facebook’s privacy policy which YOU ALREADY AGREED TO!!!  <– Exclamation points (not legally binding)

But let’s throw that away.  Let’s say that you reposting that nonsense really was legally binding and compelling.  That actually makes you look worse, oh bottom of your class.

If you just read and reposted something that in some way was going to legally affect your rights as a person and you did so because you read it on the Facebook Wall (!!!) of one of your dumbest friends you, my dear, are the dumbest friend.

We’ve established that you have no legal knowledge and no ability to research subjects and find answers.  Could you possibly expect yourself to know which passages of legal mumbo-jumbo (or in this case nonsense) would even be GOOD for you??  I could call up a lawyer right now and have him write a couple paragraphs that would probably commit you to serving a prison sentence in solitary confinement and you would repost it right away without knowing the difference.

And that’s the point.

Now you may think that this is trivial and I’m a jerk and why would I take the time to write this…and you may be correct on all counts.

But, it’s this sort of passive idiocy that allows Fox News to exist and for elections to be about topics which don’t matter at all.  It’s this sort of thing that lets people believe that the gays are ruining their marriages.  It’s this sort of thing that convinces people that global warming doesn’t exist or that evolution isn’t real.

Just because a bunch of people you know think something is true, that doesn’t mean it is.  Especially if those are your dumbest friends with the worst taste.  This is why you feel like it’s okay to listen to Nickelback.

Remember when your mom asked you if your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you?

Well, congratulations.  You just did.

Good Job

As I’ve said before, having to say “bless you” after a sneeze, or expecting other people to say “bless you” after you sneeze, is absolutely ridiculous.

Now, obviously I think about this more than people probably should, but I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of why people are such sticklers for their “bless you”s since clearly the person they’re blessing hasn’t contracted the black plague and their heart didn’t stop, nearly killing them.

If someone doesn’t say “bless you” and you think it’s rude or get upset about it, it’s probably about time that you admit to yourself you might be insane.

It seems like people just find sneezing to be worthy of public recognition, the same pay that you lavish your dog with “good boy!” after he successfully shits.

So if people want a little pat on the back for completing a sneeze, go ahead and give it to them.  You don’t need to say “bless you” though.

I’ve started going with, “Good job on that sneeze.”  I feel like this really gives the person the proper amount of support they need after doing something that even the deathly ill can also do.

But there are other options:

“I really am a big fan of your sneezes.”  That would work.

Or hand them a piece of paper and say, “Could you please sneeze on this next time and then autograph it for me?”

Or maybe, “I heard your sneeze and it has made my day.”

Or, “If I could sneeze like you, I bet I’d be the richest guy in the whole world!”

That way the person will feel recognized for their accomplishment and you aren’t the sort of rude asshole who would do something as awful as not blessing someone for sneezing.  Please use these in your own life.  Or let me know some other good ones.