Mandy Miles' - "Tan Lines"
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Cyber-list addiction

You couldn't resist. Admit it.

The headline promised one of those tempting, easy-open, single servings of organized and intriguing information.

How many online lists with similarly worded titles have you clicked in the past month? Seven? 30? Do you delete your browsing history as often as an eighth-grader on a shared computer?

Well relax, you're not alone.

In fact, according to people who get paid to study this stuff, our brains are built to embrace these packets of information. We instinctively seek out these lists.

So let's start again ... "Seven symptoms of cyber-list addiction."

1) You stopped to read this article, based on the headline.

2) You have, at some point, clicked on every list at the bottom of a web page, and then ultimately forgotten what you were originally searching for. (But hey, at least you now know eight celebrities who changed their names; the 15 world's most expensive resorts, and the top 12 Android apps. That's got to count for something, right?

3) You get excited but also a tiny bit stressed by all the "possibilities" at the end of each web page. You find yourself struggling to keep track of which ones you need to go back and explore.

4) You've ever done a Google search on "Popularity of Internet lists" and then eagerly devoured the New York Times article about that exact topic. (See, we're not alone. Smart people -- New York Times people -- are into these things, too.)

5) You've every titled your grocery list: "Top 10 Things I need from CVS."

6) You secretly think you're crafty because you can spot -- and avoid -- those silly "sponsored" lists that are simply ads disguised as our precious "newsy" lists.

7) You've ever read a list about the lists you read.

See? You're not alone. And admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to explore the 15 best books for the summer.