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Published on December 30th, 2013 | by Randall Castillo

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The Ultimate 2013 List of Lists: You Won’t BELIEVE What We Have To Say! It will LITERALLY make your entire YEAR!! Inspiring!!!

The year 2013 seemed to emerge as “The Year of the Lists.” For better or worse (but mostly worse), social media imploded with the sudden emergence of these write-ups, which feature broken-down, numbered paragraphs and plenty of pictures. Barely-literate audiences have never had it better.

All that being said, what better way to commemorate the year than with The Ultimate List: A List of the Top 6 List Websites of 2013!

Viral Nova

The sorta-aggregator site seemed to crop up out of virtually nowhere. Specializing in taking stories that exist elsewhere (usually Reddit) and slapping some ridiculous, click-bait title on top of it, Viralnova is the page your weird, out-of-touch relatives are most likely to share on Facebook.

Don’t believe me about those click-bait titles? Try “Murder Usually Isn’t a Good Start to a Marriage, But This One Was Meant to Be” and “You’ve Never Seen a Hospital Patient Like This Before. Seriously, OMG.”  Numbered list posts include: “If You Have Nerves of Titanium, These 13 Unbelievable Places Are For You. Wow.” and — literally — “These 25 People Made 2013 Better By Doing Something Stupid and/or Hilarious. LOLOLOL.

 I wish I were making these up. Viralnova is the Lifetime Original Movie of list sites.

Mashable

Although not strictly a “lists” website, the something-for-everyone Mashable did seem to up their “Top X” format this year, including recent stories such as “7 Scary Vintage Ads That Predicted the Future” and “Cozy Up To These 10 Winter Cocktails.” Nothing too extreme.

The Huffington Post

Huffington Post made perhaps the largest change on this list of lists. Starting off as a sort of “MSNBC : Digital Edition,” the online-only, left-leaning blog apparently realized the ad-revenue potential of new emerging article styles, cranking those bad boys out more and more as the year wore on.

 Although the most dramatic shift in style had HuffPo trading in more traditional titles for “THIS thing will make you feel THIS emotion!”-type headlines (a less ridiculous version of what Viralnova and Upworthy do), they have started to share more of those list-style blog posts as well. Thankfully, they’ve toned down the sensationalism (even when compared to their ordinarily misleading “news” headlines), to sport such examples as “Top 10 Cities for Young People” and “The 9 Best Guilty Pleasure Moments of 2013.” Pretty standard fare.

The Onion

The legendary satirical publication jumped into the fray with the hilarious headline, “9 Photos of Jennifer Lawrence That Will Make You Reassess the Scope of the 1986 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Between States and International Organizations” — clearly a jab at some of the sites on this very list. Of course, no list parody would be complete without a slideshow or two, and The Onion does well with the 42-picture epic “3 Dogs; 2 Clever Backyard Projects; 4 Candy Bars You Forgot Existed; A Woman Drowning; 2 80s Hairstyles We Loved and 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30” and “Top 2 Tsarnaevs of 2013.” For a final bonus, try “10 Crazy Optical Illusions.” Just … read the text.

Thought Catalog

Oh, Thought Catalog. Where would we be without you and your professionally amateur staff of writers delivering such hard-hitting lists as “A 24-Step Guide to Running Into Your Ex Over the Holidays,” “13 Perks of Dating a Stoner,” “5 Things I Learned After Getting Mugged” and “4 Simple Reasons You Need to Visit Vietnam?” The site, which enlists the use of bloggers the Internet over, apparently has zero limitations over what their little journalists can write about. Veritable fountains of knowledge such as “8 Things Only Totally Sober People Know” (?) to “The 6 Types of People Your Friends Become When You Move to a New City” (??) to “10 Ways to Make Sure Someone Never Falls in Love With the Person  You Want Them to Fall In Love With” (???) are at your disposal via ThoughtCatalog. And if you’ve ever found yourself lying awake in bed at night, wondering, “What are the 15 Rules to Abide By When Dating a Woman From the Balkans?,” wonder no more, because TC’s got you covered.

Buzzfeed

Here it is. Buzzfeed. Ground zero for today’s zombified-blog-Listpocalypse. Not since “Late Night With David Letterman” have we witnessed such booming success of lists. By now you already know the formula: numbered items contain a brief statement — usually about some TV show you used to watch in the 90’s, or how perfect some celebrity is — accompanied by a static image or appropriate GIF. Buzzfeed is essentially mental junk food — quick, substance-less bits that will make you feel somewhat guilty, asking yourself “Why did I just do that?”

If you want a quick idea of everything the site is about, just take a glance at the top right corner of the home page, where circular link buttons divide their content by subject: “LOL,” “win,” “omg,” “cute,” “trashy,” “fail” and “wtf.” That about sums it up.

That said, I will certainly hand them this: Buzzfeed knows what works. According to Forbes, the site has just about tripled its unique visitors per month in only two years, and their YouTube account has generated over 110 million views. Who knew so many people would be interested in 31 Hedgehogs Who Had a More Miserable Christmas than You? I guess Buzzfeed did. And for that, we salute them.

For all the grief we’ve given these sites, it remains a fact that their unexpected success can be attributed to a model that works, and works damn well. People are flocking to read about the “Ten Babies that Will Change The Way You Think About Doppler Radar” — alright, I might have made that one up — but they do  care an awful lot about “The 30 Stages of Having a Traumatic Hair Experience.” They really do.

And as we leave 2013 behind in preparation to take on what 2014 has to offer, it will be interesting to see how these destinations continue to grow.

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About the Author

A proud Twitter-er, Tumblr-er and only child, he has simple and humble ambitions of writing and directing major Hollywood films, and frequently pursues ventures in comedy, journalism, photography, production, art, business, athletics, advertising, motorsports and psychology. In the meantime, he writes for SOUND.



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