How does an article go from being just another post on a blog to a web-wide sensation overnight? I would argue that at their core most of these strike the right blend of fascinating, novel and mainstream: they are compelling enough to grab your attention, strange enough that they present new information and yet of general enough interest to have a broad appeal to many people who frequent the world wide interwebs. Here are 12 great examples that illustrate these principles in more ways than one and are incredibly entertaining to boot!
LifeHackery’s 99 Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Objects another great ‘themed’ post built around items that everyone has in their home – what better way to draw readers immediately than to point out that boring old objects laying around might have strange secondary uses? Some of the particularly clever/innovative ones come complete with pictures which provide a great initial boost to the article.
OddOrama’s 5 Brilliant Reverse 419 Scams is immediately understood by anyone with an email account, because we have all gotten those strange scammers who offer us billions if we just help them out, right? Better yet, this article shows how people got back at those scammers we all love to hate. Images help break up the content visually and provide some interest on top of the text.
DarkRoastedBlend’s Art of Extreme Sleeping is an excellent example of a themed image collection that, no doubt, started when the author found one such image and became determined to find more related images. There isn’t much text, but not much is needed: the title is self-explanatory and the work of assembling the post comes mostly in the form of finding great photographs for it.
DeputyDog’s 13 Worst Fake Accents in Film taps into classics that many people have seen, and is sufficiently comprehensive (as a list of thirteen) to include something for everyone. Moreover, who hasn’t cringed when they heard a truly terrible accent from a famous actor whose nationality is painfully obvious? Of course, no such post would be complete without a series of YouTube videos as examples.
Ecoble’s Man-Made Mexican Island Paradise conjures the age-old idealized goal of living somewhere on one’s own private island. Pictures and videos help fill in the details for sure, but the article taps in on a more basic level to a combination of popularly held dreams and extreme oddities. After all, it isn’t every day you read about an island built from a quarter-million plastic bottles!
OneMansBlog’s How I’d Hack Your Week Passwords hits you on the head with the first sentence: it addresses the reader directly and in a highly alarming way. A lot of us realize in the back of our minds that we have weak and possibly hackable passwords but we tend to try not to think about it. This post explains how some strategies are weaker than others, helping (after scaring) the readers.
WallStreetFighter’s 11 Photographs that Look Photoshopped but Aren’t ties into the classic debate about images found online: are they edited or are they real? Well, this collection of images highlights the fact that images that seem impossibly surreal may actually have been created by unconventional means and yet may not have been edited after the fact – you just never know.
PocketGadget’s 10 Accidental Inventions again ties together the basic argument of this article: that web-wide successful articles and blog posts involve elements of the familiar and the unknown, tied together under a common theme that everyone can relate to. Some of these inventions you will be familiar with, others undoubtedly not and all are quite interesting.
EliteFeet’s Eaten by Trees immediately conjures a seductively strange and implausible mental image – one that begs readers or potential link-clickers to reach forward and find out more. And when they look? A potent and somewhat humorous set of illustrated examples of the passage of time, with objects being overrun by trees – a seeming paradox since trees are some of the slowest-growing things on Earth.
CapnWacky’s 20 examples of Unusual eBay Feedback really hits home for most any mainstream web user. Who hasn’t used eBay or a similar site and checked feedback to see what a seller’s or buyer’s reputation is? So readers can instantly relate to the content and yet it is probably funnier than any similar content they read on eBay (and they almost certainly have never seen so many strange ones in one place).
WebUrbanist’s 7 Abandoned Wonders of America brings home a strange point: that even in the wealthiest of countries in the world there are buildings that remain abandoned and unused. For American readers this is perhaps a strange awakening, though many of the locations are in major cities that people are familiar with and maybe didn’t know contained abandonments.
AllSux’s collection of strange articles that went all over the internet … oh wait, that’s this article?! Well, it is impossible to say for sure what will happen with it, but it does fit the formula I argued for: you can of course relate to popular articles on interesting subjects, the topics chosen are of general interest to web readers and hopefully you haven’t seen some or all of these before so this post contains new information. Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this article feel free to pass it along.