Using listicles

How You Can Use Listicles, Too

The BuzzFeeds and Vices of the world have cemented listicles as a viable method to share information quick and far. This election, listicles have been bouncing around the web as a new style of political reporting. So why do they work so well?

SHORT AND SUCCINCT

Listicles can be lengthy, but good ones have short points. This makes it easy for the reader to scan a story and quickly comprehend the major arguments.

MULTIMEDIA

Most listicles feature a photo or video after each and every point, making them engaging and easy to follow. The most successful listicles typically deploy comedy in those photos and videos to add a lighter edge to politics – typically a “serious” subject area.

EASY TO SHARE

Listicles are designed to be shared, so they’re packed full of language that’s meant to resonate with the reader. Unlike objective hard news stories, listicles can be built to entice agreement or anger, and then prompt the reader to share within their own networks for confirmation.

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Digital Diplomacy Around the World

Canada launched its new “voice to the world” on Twitter this week, with the creation of the @Canada Twitter account.

The account, which will be managed by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) seeks to “capture the interest of audiences beyond our borders.”Since launching on Wednesday, more than 69,000 people have already followed. The French equivalent, @AuCanada, has garnered less than 2,000.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced the new Twitter accounts at a DFATD event on digital diplomacy, an initiative that Baird has personally advocated for over the past two years.

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UVic’s Brilliant Use of BuzzFeed

If you’ve ever attended, applied to, or even just stepped foot close to a university campus, you’ve probably seen them. Bright, colourful photographs of students showing off their school colours in all sorts of safe locales. Maybe they’re sitting in a campus café, or lounging under a giant maple tree, or chatting at a study table in the library, or just philosophizing on the meaning of life and their place in the world on the steps of the campus’ most iconic building.

These pictures are everywhere. And they’re unrealistic. The photos often feature those representing the student union, showcase clothing that would decimate a student’s budget faster than happy hour, and represent a homogenous school culture that appears to be the exact same no matter what campus you step foot on. Despite these shortcomings, this approach perseveres as the norm.

But could that be changing?

@cspeti4 Instagram photo samples

One of the students the University of Victoria featured in their BuzzFeed article, Corey. All photos from @cspeti4 on Instagram.

Enter: the University of Victoria.

While they’re still very much in the experimental phase, UVic has signed up as a “Brand Publisher” on the internet giant BuzzFeed. As one of the web’s most visited sites, which pumps out shareable stories by (what feels like) the minute, the fit might seem odd for a stuffy-old institution like a university to host its stories.

In reality,  it’s a perfect opportunity. They’re putting content out on the places that their students (both current and prospective) spend their time, as evidenced by Alexa’s response that people browsing from school are greatly over-represented on BuzzFeed. Rather than trying to drive traffic to their site, they’re being active in pushing out stories through a medium that students actually want to spend time on.

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