Writing Online is a Radical act of Communication
If the personal is political, maybe you need to learn how to write a listicle
Our audience should be people who haven’t read us yet, people who favor what we abhor, people whose values are different from our own.
Any ecosystem that doesn’t understand we cannot coexist without dialogue and debate is uninterested in its own survival. The page is an interactive digital mirror and we can’t stop staring at ourselves in it. Our many reflections in smithereens at our feet, we don’t know which one we are anymore. The shards are echo chambers, sharp fragments of a society further alienating itself from itself.
Whatever the format we prefer, it may not be the one we need to get through to people who don’t like or even read it.
If the listicle is how words prefer to travel then so must yours.
If elation lends itself to lyricism, depression lends itself to the listicle.
When despair has exhausted all other avenues, writing a listicle demands of you the exact opposite of what you can do, thus forcing you to do it. You have to be pithy and clear.
The listicle delivers your thoughts back to you, organized and streamlined. Editorial self-love for when you wish you could give up writing because the internet is so dumb and greedy even journalism can’t save us.
The counterintuitive discipline of depression lets you do odd things sometimes. To assemble a listicle, think flat-pack thinking for the time-crushed. That can be anything that allows you to connect dots in novel ways.
Many listicles are hate reads, many listicles mollycoddle, but few make people look at what they refuse to see.
Any format can be optimized.
Listicles can unlock an audience you may not have had access to otherwise.
So if it takes mastering the art of bullet points to prevent the death of democracy then we can learn to be digital pamphleteers. Let’s make words matter again in the most impactful way possible.
Successful listicles give you a bro hug or a bitch slap, few give you a bad case of hives you can’t stop picking at.
If your writing serves a political purpose then it needs to cause the kind of discomfort readers are unable to ignore.
What if your words could help turn the broken digital mirror into a kaleidoscope?
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.