Hell, I am not going to reel of rationale behind this seemingly crazy title!
To explain my method in this madness, I did a sample analysis of the top viewed posts on a popular professional networking platform, and this is what I found:-
18 out of the top 20, raking in 1 million+ to 500 thousand plus online hits / reader views have a number on them (Top 3 reasons, top 10 ways, 5 reasons, 8 signs etc)
What could be the significance, if any?
This only shows our fetish for numbers (I am not downplaying the fact, that all these have obviously been written by famous people and are good reads).
And, yes, you guessed right, this post is also intended as an experiment to test this gullibility 🙂
But why do we fall for it, or like to fall for it?
We seem fascinated with top/best/most “N” from god knows when, so much so that the moment we see this, we instinctively reach out for the same.
Because we are (born) curious. Because we love adjectives and we love numbers and together you have a deadly combination!
Let me explain.
From the time just after we are born, we somehow know the one most important person in our lives (Mom) and later extend this to another (Dad) and maybe also to siblings (if any) and to near and dears of your family gradually. So there you go, you would have established the top 2 / 3 / 4 people in your life almost instinctively and without knowing so / being aware.
I guess this is what lays the seeds for our continual obsession with top N or best X out of many, in line with our struggle for survival and growing up process. And then, there is a whammy of sorts when you attend school / college, what with peer pressure stemming from your colleagues, and family and society, all working (scheming) together to get into the top 3 spots in sports / studies / activities / schools / colleges and what-else-may-you?
Over and above the family and societal aspects that influence such behavior, there are a few other aspects that trigger a different set of thought processes / reactions in us:
A post about the top x or best n, obviously shows (usually) an expert’s feedback assessment on how something will work or won’t work.
This usually means a tried and tested/ best and recommended approach, for a solution to a common problem.
It also means a filtered list of something that the writer “promises” will interest and help you – which has possibly been prioritized, organized and structured into meaningful bits, out of all the mumbo jumbo that exists otherwise.
If you are a technical person, then think of this as equivalent to an index. Such posts I presume would evoke a similar reaction / response – given a choice, would you work with data which you know, does not have an index, or, would you prefer data which has been indexed? Works exactly the same!
Such articles not only
==> Appeal to our sense of curiosity, but I suspect,
==> also challenges our egoistical sense – do I know this already, or how much of this do I know / do already, and also,
==> probably triggers our FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome and push us into overdrive
As a result of which, we instinctively line up for the kill (YOU in this instance), without knowing that we are in the cross hairs of the author (ME in this instance).
Happy reading. 😀