Did you make a li.st?


If Buzzfeed’s “listicle” style articles are any indication, people love lists. List makers, list checkers, list sharers…and one app found a way to capitalize on that. The List App, or li.st as it was renamed in May 2016, is a list-based social media platform predicated on building and sharing lists of interest.

The app’s popularity began with, in the words of Tech Crunch, “getting a number of notable names on board” including celebrities and big brand publishers like the New York Times. There were initial concerns by some that it was just another way for brands to market themselves, but list making as social-sharing has seen enormous growth in social media and new media outlets. Celebrities provided immediately interesting content for users to engage with, but the core user base is what sustains the app. List making and sharing is self expressions and entertainment.

Initially I was skeptical of this, I think because in my mind I associated this kind of list making with something like grocery list making, but entertainment-like lists such as “25 gifts to get coffee lovers” have a lot of shareable value. So why lists over other social content? The founders stated:

“We just love lists. They’re the best. Human beings are innately inclined towards structuring information; it’s one of our primary means of understanding. Lists are simple, powerful; the gold standard of sorting and sharing information for thousands of years.”

This li.st community is simply interested in what other people are interested in. (A bit creepy, no?) But the short, digestible and sharable content is prime content for social media. Compared to other social networks, however, the user base is small and concentrated. It has just $2 Million in seed funding and a user base of 150,000 people. By social media standards, barely a blip. But a concentrated base of highly invested, high activity users can make even a small network of users powerful.

Users share content based around numerous topics including movies, fashion, relationships and dating, food, and bucket list content (30 places I want to go before I die, for example). You can also find social commentary about race, gender and inclusiveness (names I hate to be called by the opposite gender, for example).

Li.st is not just text-based lists. It includes photos and combined photo/text lists, GIFS, as well as commentary and recently introduced direct messaging. The app is primed for sponsored content, especially from new media outlets and celebrities, and does not have anything against this in the terms of use. This would be a natural, and organic-feeling, content for advertising, which is rare. Through some digging in Google, it does not appear that traditional advertising is currently supported through the app. List remains independent from other apps.

Bottom line: If you’re a list maker, this is the app for you. I prefer my Buzzfeed community posts honestly. I like lists, but not enough to be social around them. Though interesting, this is not a social network I will be adopting.

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