Great Social Media Idea: Ain't No Party Like a Listicle Party

Like any self-respecting internet snob, I find myself the embodiment of dear old Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy when it comes to slideshow/listicle click bait: "Tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me." I understand their value and - with apologies to 'Sheed - click don't lie, but I do lament in many ways how the internet is so thoroughly in their grips, especially when just a week ago The Oregonian (my hometown newspaper) announced it is laying off half of its newsroom, slashing home delivery to four days a week, and is transitioning to a new "digital" model, which doubtless will borrow best SEO practices from BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Bleacher Report, and the like. Why read original and investigative reporting and in-depth community coverage when you can see a gif-list of "20 Reasons Why Portland is Weird!" instead?

(Yes, yes... I'm being curmudgeonly and will readily admit that bitterness is indeed like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.)

At their worst, listicles are mindless, SEO-optimized, content-thieving fluff. But at their best, they are authentic, breezy, fun, and uniquely capable of encouraging sharing and engagement. Yes, even a bitter kitten like me will happily acknowledge the virtues of listicles - I've even written about them on this blog before!

Which brings us to this delightful entry from Marquette University 

Listicles are OK, but personally, I'd rather have a popsicle. 

Listicles are OK, but personally, I'd rather have a popsicle. 

This works on every level, with the primary reason that it is so obviously authentic. It's not just a fluffy PR piece... there was some real thought in including charming bits like the campus belltower playing the Harry Potter theme, which - no joke - made me squeel with delight like one of my teenage nieces watching a One Direction video. It effortlessly accomplishes the task of making the university feel fun, hip, and fresh while also "eating its vegetables" by hitting the typical higher ed marketing stuff like committed teachers, service, close-knit community, etc. 

A list like this is obviously perfect for social media, and - as would be expected - it blew up when Marquette shared it. As smart little digital marketers we know the importance of creating good content, and this does that in spades. 

So job well done, Marquette! If you can get a cranky old Luddite like me to praise a listicle, you done very, very good! 

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The Week in Links