What List Means To Me; or, just li.st

Inspired by @jaidub and answering her question: "What has list meant to you since you joined?" In hindsight, this got away from me a little bit. This is probably far too long and overthought. Short answer: I list because it's fun and 97.4% of the people here are amazing and awesome.
  1. โ€ข
    This took a long time, J Dub.
    Also: I'm going to include some photos that won't make any other list just to break up the slab of gray text.
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    It may be a manifesto.
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    It may be a love letter to you all.
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    It may just be a sign I have too much time on my hands.
    But it's not, because I mean what I say and I say what I mean. And I'm on vacation โ€” staycationโ€” this week so I have plenty of time.
  5. โ€ข
    I've been thinking about it a lot
    @lifeisbeautiful and I had a shorter, kind of related version of this conversation via List Request several days before you posted your list. So it's been on my mind: Why do I list? How much of 'me' do I share here? What does list mean to me?
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    Big question
    Sort of? I mean, we are strangers using a convenient new social media platform to share a bunch of stuff. It does feel different (to me) than the other social media I dabble with. And this app is presumably being developed for an income/profit generating group of investors, perhaps not today, but someday (and for the rest of our lives.) So we listers have to use some restraint and caution, and always be prepared for change, from subtle to radical, particularly when monetization begins.
  7. โ€ข
    So here's what I have, a stream of consciousness ramble about ... why I list.
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    Storing stuff outside my brain
    When I first heard about The List App back in October (the EW article as I recall), I was intrigued. I've always been a list maker, and it seemed like maybe it would be a good place to store some of these lists (states I'd been in, dogs I've known, baseball parks I've seen, etc) outside of my head, in the cloud.
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    Lists!
    So I joined and wrote lists. Most of my lists are lists of stuff I like, and it's fun to try to categorize or rank favorite national parks or baseball caps or Wes Anderson movies or whatever. It's fun to see if the idea translates into a list, and then it's fun to organize the list items into a clever whole. Which led to:
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    Fancy Lists
    As a former story-telling journalist:๐Ÿ’ก๐Ÿ’ฅ. My long dormant journalist/editor/blogger brain started to fire some of those creative synapses. My Vice Presidents list, for example. How to create chainmail. My 100th list. I engaged big-time.
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    Other People's Lists
    More importantly, I discovered I also love reading other people's creative, intelligent, amusing, insightful, ranking, pop culture, story, photo and travel lists. And I enjoy commenting and engaging the list authors in their comments, which naturally led to:
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    Other People
    I'll admit it: I'm attracted to intelligent creative people who have a certain 'something' going on (personality, intelligence, sense of humor, cleverness being the 'somethings'). ListApp is crawling with these smart attractive people. So... Now... here's a place that is unlike anything else in my 'real' life, crawling with smart attractive people who I would never come across in my normal day-to-day routines and work life. And I want to talk with these people, so I find myself:
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    Showing off
    If I'm honest, many of my lists are me showing off for the smart attractive people, or, more accurately, me attempting to show off. Hey! Look at me! Over here! Why? Because I'm a human being on planet earth and even if we are no longer children, what we humans really want is:
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    Attention
    I didn't expect likes or comments when I started writing here. And then I started to get some positive feedback, which of course makes me (human, earth, etc) just want more! And this one is weird for me because 'in real life' I don't like attention and have well-arranged my life and personality over many, many years to mostly avoid getting any attention. But li.st has maybe proven me wrong? I love the likes and comments and relists. Tending! Featured! Yes please! But: I know it's a false high.
  15. โ€ข
    I don't want to list for attention
    So for awhile there I would try to chase likes and trending because of good ol' ego and attention. It felt good. I figured out (sort of) how and when to increase my chances of trending. @pili_ervin and I ran an experiment. (Of course the real deal is to write a really smart, clever and hilarious list. People will find it. And of course I have no ability to correctly predict which lists people will like; it's never the one I think it will be. BTW: @HisDudeness has the equation)
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    Weird?
    Is wanting people to like my lists weird? I'm a freaking grown-ass man with a mortgage and two kids out of college and a career and hobbies and pets and a full happy life with a woman I've been with for 29 years. And yet, I do want people to like my lists. I have li.st crushes on many of you. I still don't know how I feel about this apparent neediness. So I ignore it, like all grown-ass men.
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    Friendships - a digression
    One of the hardest things to do as you get older is to make new friends. If you have children along the way, you may befriend the parents of some of your kids' playmates, and if you are super lucky you can remain friends even after your children outgrow each other. You may also come across a couple of real friends among hundreds of co-workers you're stuck with over the decades, but (in my experience) it's very rare. Where else do you find friends? Nowhere. So: finding new friends after 40? Hard.
  18. โ€ข
    And here comes ListApp. List quickly introduced me to a bunch of people who share many common interests. Potential friends!
    So by commenting and sharing lists with other people, I've 'met' a couple dozen people who I 'like' a lot based on our interactions. But I use quotes there in 'met' and 'like' because is it the same, here on Li.st as it is in real life? Does it even matter if it is or isn't? I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter, it's just different.
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    Community and shared experience.
    Part of the early charm of ListApp to me was so many new people, what they liked and listed, their favorite things. You could include them or tag them or reference them. It was like building a community, and you could seek out people who lived in our state or city, or grew up with same cultural references, like the same bands or movies it TV shows. You could all make a different take on the same list. All this made you (well, me) want to spend more time on ListApp with this great community.
  20. โ€ข
    However...
    I remember reading* somewhere sometime long ago about the 'right' size of human groups/communities/tribes of ancient days. How a certain size was good because you knew everyone and it made you more cooperative, but once the group grew too large, the groups/tribes lost that intimate knowledge of everyone in their extended family tribe and became less ideal. (*At least I think I read this. @ladyprofessor? Is this in your wheelhouse?)
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    Perfect size?
    ListApp for me was the ideal size! I knew all of the two hundred people I followed, and I also felt like I knew the couple hundred people who followed me. We had an intimate shared experience built over the course of perhaps five months. And then the name changed, B.J. did a publicity tour and thousands more joined. Even I picked up a few hundred followers: some of my friends are now pushing 5000 or 6000! I could not handle that. I like my small group. Very much.
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    Loss of Intimacy.
    All these new people! Welcome new people... But so many! I can't keep up. It leads to a loss of intimacy, a break of community. I'm sure the Betas felt this way when the Gammas arrived last October. I know they did and I appreciate those who remained (Looking at you @eatthelove). All those new people last fall (me!) upset the community/intimacy balance. I feel this way now with the arrival of the Deltas and Androids. Do you think the Neanderthals felt this way with the Homo sapiens showed up?
  23. โ€ข
    So...
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    I for one welcome our new corporate overlords.
    There will always be new people. I can't control that. There will always be software changes. I can't control that. There will always be changes to look and feel. I can't control that. There will be lots of money to be made off this wonderful community, because it IS a wonderful community, once they figure out how to do that. But I can't control that, either, or how or when they make money off our content and the community we've built on these elegant lines of code.
  25. โ€ข
    I can only control my reaction.
    My reaction is this: I like writing lists. I really like many of the people I've met on lis.st, even if our paths never cross in meat space. I don't and won't follow celebrities or brands on li.st because that is not what I want from it. I want to share and comment and relist and like and connect with all of you funny, smart, beautiful, attractive people. You know who you are.
  26. โ€ข
    Thank you my ListApp friends.
    I really do like you. You've made my life better. You have a beautiful brain and a wonderful personality. We HAVE built a swell community together here, and I hope we continue to work at it so it remains a supportive community. As long as I feel this way, this is why I list. For you. For me. For us.
  27. โ€ข
    ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ…โ˜ฎ๐Ÿ’ก
    Plus: You taught me to speak emoji!
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    s/ eric
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    โ€”โ€”โ€”
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    โ€”โ€”โ€”
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    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”
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    โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”โ€”
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    PS: Poems
    I've been writing poems since college, but I have never shared them, read them aloud, or asked anyone to read them due to the age-old, fear-based question: Are the poems any good? Am I any good? I've felt so good about the people and community here on li.st that I finally shared some. And I'm happy that I did. So if nothing else ever happens, at least li.st and you gave me that pleasure. So thank you for reading my poems.
  34. โ€ข
    UPDATE:
  35. โ€ข
    All of the above is still true. I'm also adding this update on March 14 2017, aka the Draftpocalypse. The loss of relists was difficult, the loss of drafts appears to be the last straw for many of us.
    I'll still be here, for awhile at least, a caveman as the rest of you Time Travel and Selfie in and to new and exciting places. As a DayLi.sterโ„ข and a work-from-home person who sees you as a weird kind of co-worker in this thing called life, today feels like corporate announced a big layoff. Many of us will remain, and many of us will disappear with our cardboard boxes of lists. If you leave, thanks for everything! I've enjoyed your lists! If you stay, see you tomorrow. I'll get the lights.