I like making lists. I’m referring mostly to “best of” lists, but I think I even am starting to coming around to making “to-do” lists (In fact, making this cartoon was on my to-do list today… talk about meta). I have recently joined the social media app li.st co-created by B.J. Novak in which you… well make lists. You make them, you share them. Finally all those weird lists I make, like “Best Pranks from The Office” finally have a voice. I wonder how popular this app will get. On one hand, why would I care what stranger Jeremy in Kansas’s favorite topping are? (Do I even care what my friend Jeremy in NY’s favorite pizza topppings are? hmm… maybe.) On the other hand, people already like Buzzfeed and sometimes I look for best songs by “x” lists whenever I discover a new band and wonder what people like. (Note by “x” I just meant insert band name here, it was not a misspelling of dream pop band The xx, whose best song is “Basic Space“)
What’s interesting about li.st is that it is a creative social media in which people can be earnest about their feeling and create thought provoking ideas. People can create lists that help people find new art, movies, or games. But also people will use it to share things that are racist, sexist, or just plain uninteresting and pointless. Let’s hope that the former is the one that wins out in the end.
Like most geeks I love making top ten lists and reading other people’s “top tens”. Unfortunately I think that some of us nerds do a poor job with it, because they fall victim to the “Top Ten Overfill”. This is where a geek loves a series so much that they fill their top ten list with superfluous information. For instance if a lister likes Lord of the Rings that’s ok with me, but you don’t have to fill your entire list with all three movies. If your top ten contains three movies from the same series you’re doing wrong. Seriously. Top ten lists are about this delicate balance of trying to include many things you like without filling them up with redundant information. Nobody would like it if I put six Wes Anderson movies in a top ten list even if the list was “Top Ten movies with striking color palettes and French music”
I have a friend and I know his top 13 favorite movies by heart: 1-6 are the six Star Wars films (yes prequels too), 7-9 the three Lord of the Rings movies, and 10-13 the four Indiana Jones movies (yes this means he likes Crystal Skull more than any other non LotR, Star Wars, or Indy flick).
Now I know what you’re thinking. Couldn’t he just say his number 1 is Star Wars, number 2 is Lord of the Rings, number 3 is Indiana Jones, and then his number 4 is his 4th favorite movie (I believe it’s Braveheart, but I honestly can’t remember for sure because too much of my memory is spent trying to remember the order of his favorite Star Wars films). It’s a good idea, but I don’t like that either. Just pick one. If I ask what’s your favorite movie and you say Star Wars, I don’t know what to think. Is Empire his favorite or does he like Speeder bikes and Ewoks of Return of the Jedi? So just say my favorite movie is Star Wars: A New Hope, it’s a specific answer but I can assume you like other Star Wars movies. Once again, I’m not going to put six Wes Anderson movies in my Top Ten, but if I say Rushmore is my favorite movie, you can probably assume I like other Wes Anderson movies or at least I give you a follow up question.
“Do you like other Wes Anderson films?”
“Yes! I’ve really got a thing for rich color palettes and old songs I can’t sing along to!”
So next time I ask you what your favorite movie is and you say Star Wars, don’t be surprised if I answer with: “My favorite movie is Wes Anderson.”