In today's clickbait-driven, Internet-dominated world, it seems that the easiest way to make a buck is to create a list of the top ten ways to have great sex, the nine most promiscuous celebrities or the eight fattest supermodels. Hence, my personal roll of the top seven reasons to avoid Internet lists entirely:
1. Internet lists are arbitrary, artificial classifications of people, places or things that often have little in common. Web writers are increasingly forcing unrelated items together just for the sake of creating another silly list.
2. With every passing year, it seems that more and more websites are jettisoning serious journalism for short enumerations of the latest pop culture memes. The proliferation of lists is sad evidence of the ongoing dumbification of our culture.
3. Like chocolates or potato chips, lists are tempting and appear to have substance but rarely do. And just like calorie-laden treats, after you've finished consuming them, you feel guilty, ashamed and ultimately unsatisfied.
4. They're written by idiots for idiots. Well, they're not exactly written by idiots because the writers are clever enough to create a headline that gets us to click on it like Pavlovian dogs. But there's little doubt that we, the readers, are not the sharpest clickers on the keyboard.
5. On-line lists are incredible time wasters. You can spend hours scrolling through one list of fluff after another. Worse yet, more and more of these inventories of factoids, photos and videos are now followed up with teasers to get you to click on yet another menu of trivialities.
6. When's the last time someone e-mailed you a link to something useful? These days, all you get are the top five cat videos or the seven best tips to reduce your waistline or increase your chest. Isn't it time we instead started receiving the four best explanations of quantum mechanics or the six all-time favorite differential equations?
7. Finally, here's a handy hint to help wean yourself from these insidious and ubiquitous lists. Just remember the three Ks: kids, kittens and kings. If you can avoid clicking on lists of anything to do with cats, children or the Royal family, you're half way home to a brand new list-free literate life.
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