Beware the list…

7 10 2008

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” the saying goes…..

In the last few weeks, we have seen list after list of ‘top 50 social media sites’, ‘top 50 blogs’, ‘top 50 communities’, ‘top 50 new cool toys you need to play with and waste your time on’…… the list goes on and on….we read through them…. some we recognize, some we have no idea about and some we click on just to see what all the fuss is about. And here is what all the fuss is about most of the time…. NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

That’s it. A big fat zero. Nada. Rien. Which makes the more critically literate amongst us in the social media sphere ask the following questions…..

1. Who is the source?

2. Why are they telling us about these sites and not others?

3. How did they choose the ones on the list – what were their criteria?

4. Should we be on the list?

5. How the heck do we get on the list? [You know, just to be disruptive and all that.]

I wish there were comment boxes where we could ask these questions of the list creators and propagators, but alas.  There is not. Because then we would ask them some seriously discerning questions in a seriously discerning tone. Because that’s the kind of people we are. We’re not looking for some ‘quick list’ here people, we want some in depth analysis. But we suspect that that is not the goal of such list makers. Google loves easy stuff and so do some of the “not-so-critical, just give me the answer, easy peasy lemon squeezy, I am out to make a fast buck” charlatans out there.

So, next time a list invades your inbox, RSS feed, Twitter account, stop. Look at the source. Track it back if necessary. See if there is a comment box. If there is, ask them how they got that list. See if they respond. Then make a mental note about their credibility. Because transparency counts. Transparency builds trust. Then tell us and we’ll make our own list of incredibly reliable, worthwhile, kick ass sites you can work with (maniacal laugh here).

With well deserved kudos to Mr Mark , Jon Hicks and Saxsolrac for their images!

Kirsti

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One response

2 11 2008
viki

Right, who writes these lists…..maybe a holdover from that hackneyed journalism trick, “Listicles”…..list/articles, easy to create, fun to read, look over magazine racks, people LOVE lists.
worry not, I won’t be relying too much on these.
Viki

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