WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
In the digital universe, lists win. It's just a fact. If you want readers, you make a list. Top five third basemen in the minor leagues. Top 100 death metal albums. Top three swimsuit models. Top six most memorably annoying moments of this reality TV season. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. So, in the interest of doing what all the cool people do, here is a list of reasons for lists in social media.
1. A list gives us a sense of hierarchy. Winners. Losers. Tweeners. Gives us something to relate to. Someone to root for.
2. A list creates a sense of order in the world. In our lives full of unemployment, underemployment, questionable retirement, career false starts, uncertainty about how much to go into debt for our kids' educations...order is good. Even if it's only order regarding whether Heather is more annoying or less annoying than Rachel.
3. A list can make me feel smart and informed. I may not be able to understand Socratic method or Aristotelian structure or what central bankers do. But I can certainly understand "the three most important things anyone has said during this campaign season."
There are probably more. This is not an exhaustive list. But all you need to make a list is three. And that's what you get.