This isn’t a list post. I hate them. I hate seeing them scroll by in my Twitter feed. I hate seeing folks retweet them. I hate writing them. I hate a blogging industry that encourages writers to produce them.

I hate the phoniness of their numerical significance. I hate the facade of "the top."

Most list posts don’t explain why things are “the best.” Instead it’s just a list — a linkable, likable piece of blog-bait.

Top 10 things that came up when I did a Google search. Top 10 reasons to click on this post. Top 10 reasons to retweet it. Top 10 reasons to share this on your Facebook profile. Top 10 reasons why a blog rocks at SEO. Top 10 reasons why readers suck at Web and media literacy.

It’s particularly painful to see the proliferation of these posts by education blogs.

I’ve complained about this on Twitter before, and some teachers have responded that they love having lists of resources to choose from. But that’s a bit like saying you love the phone book because it gives you a long list of people you might call. A directory is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s fairly meaningless if there is no context, no review, no rationale, no rubric — other than boosting a blog’s traffic and/or feeding the affiliate marketing schemes that prey on those who search for educational content and educational opportunities.

It’s been over a year and a half since Dan Meyer wrote “Stop Linking to ‘Top 100 Blog’ Lists,” explaining how for-profit schools and for-profit-portals-capitalizing-on-for-profit-schools use these posts to boost their search engine rankings. Dan’s post is as relevant today as ever.

To echo Dan, stop linking to them. Stop tweeting them. Because I can guarantee you, the for-profiteers won’t stop writing them until we stop clicking on or sharing them. Let me list the Top 10 Reasons why...

I do think it's possible to compile and rate and share resources in a way that adds value for your readers. (Hell, I'm in the midst of writing my year-end "Top 10 Trends in Ed-Tech" series.) I But let's set the bar a lot higher than thinking that "adding value" means adding numbers to a post or to a headline.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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