In any SWOT analysis it is often easiest, and most fun to examine the weaknesses. There was certainly no paucity of examples to cite in this area and as a group it was difficult to minimize our commentary. Following is our analysis on some of the greatest of these weaknesses.
Image Source: www.digitalcurrent.com
Failing to match your content to your Audience
- Content not true to title– We have found that there are many listicles here that fall into the trap of promising one thing in the title, however the content falls short of completely articulating its intended meaning. Two listicles that did not have supporting content were:
• 5 Ways Small Busnesses Can Use Twitter to Expand Their Consumer Base (typo in title)
• 5 Ways Facebook is useful
- Not co-opting popular trending topics that are individual focused- In the listicles, we find that some of the topics are not appealing. The content of the listicles suffers from poor topic choice or focus on topic that are not at the forefront of what people are interested in, such as in the listicle entitled “5 Ways Facebook is useful”. In examining Google Analytics for the site, the view rate for more popular topics that relate more to individual people tend to get more views.
Image Source: www.compliancewave.com
Failing to Identify your target audience
3. Knowing your audience– In “7 Reasons Why Live Chat is Beneficial for Business”, the author is using the format of a listicle to speak to owners of businesses who are of the caliber to implement a 24/7 live chat interaction feature on their company’s website. If the intent of the listicle maker is to appeal to large groups of people, thereby returning more clicks, it may be valuable to consider a wider audience. According to Google Analytics, the most popular of these listicles is “6 Typologies of YouTube Videos Explained”.
4. Timeliness- “7 Interesting Facts about Flappy Birds [sic]” lists information about the aforementioned mobile app that was removed by its author in 2014. The listicle was published in November of 2016. Timeliness is an important factor in presenting information to an audience.
Image Source: vandaleer.com
Proper uses of Imaging
5. Broken links- The writer of a listicle should not link pictures from an outside source as the source may be removed over time resulting in loss of the image. In “10 Civilian Communication Assets that are Shared Within the Battlefield”, all the pictures show up as broken links. Thus, whatever the writer hoped to gain from the use of these images is completely lost.
6. Citing Images– The writer of a listicle should also use a citation for images used. At a minimum, the writer should state where the image comes from (i.e. web page) if no information is given. In “5 Reasons Why You Should Use TripAdvisor for Your Next Business Trip”, the writer fails to use citations for any image when some of the images clearly come from the TripAdvisor website.
7. Image Formats- The author of a listicle should use the right format for the images used. In “Five Benefits You Will Get From Playing Video Games”, the first image inserted is stretched and slightly blurred. Using a correctly formatted image will fix this.
Image Source: buzzle.com
Citation and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Citations on Content- Early in our education we learned the importance of establishing sources to give credit to the author whose information we used. This is essential to all our book reports and essays. It helps us provide a trail so that others may find the research that we used. It allows us to give evidence to the claims we wish to discuss, but most importantly it helps us to avoid plagiarism of content that is not rightfully ours.
- Evidence- The most common mistake was that no credit was given to anyone who initially did the research that became subject for this content. For instance, in “5 Ways Twitter Can Promote Business”, the opening statement explains the “ways” Twitter can promote business yet fails to identify any evidence. We are left to assume as the reader that this is merely an opinion piece.
- Plagiarism– The authors of many listicles provide no evidence that these pieces were not wholly plagiarized from similar articles from other websites. Nearly every picture for each listicle has no notation of where it came from. This furthers the notion that all content was copied and pasted from a previous article that was explaining the same topic.
Image Source: photos-public-domain.com
Grammar and Spellcheck
11. Spelling and Grammar problems – Typographical errors could lead a reader to question the veracity of the entire listicle or to the wrong conclusion.
- 5 Ways Small Busnesses Can Use Twitter to Expand Their Consumer Base – spelling error in the title
- 8 Social Media Applications to Promote Yourself – incorrect combination of “you” and “are”
- 5 Ways Twitter Can Promote Business – repetitive phrases and run-on sentences
- 8 Ways to Promote a Bakery through YouTube – multiple typographical errors
- 9 Interesting Facts about Drones – the author appears to be unsure about their own fact by placing a question mark
- 8 Things Recruiters Look For on LinkedIn – incorrect words are in italics and the quote is missing one quotation mark, even when describing the importance of grammar
Concluding, we hope to have enumerated the detracting features of certain listicles. The general content can often be misleading or non-interesting. A sense of purpose or audience may not always be evident. There are often many problems with the images used including broken links and plagiarism. Lack of citation makes the listicle impossible to vet and verify and may also lead to plagiarism. Finally, and most egregiously, grammar and spelling are the major differences between poorly written dreck and cogent, articulate presentations.