I don’t mean to pick on anyone in particular here, because a lot of people I highly respect use some of these terms.
But generally, in the web design/dev blogging niche we tend to fall into the trap of following trends even in our use of words (especially in headlines and book titles). This even occurs on the better sites, not only on the “list-based” ones.
Here are some terms that I think have been overused and that we could probably eventually do without:
The problem with using these (and similar) terms (especially in book and article titles) is that they arrogantly tell the user the value of the content without waiting for the user to judge for themselves (sometimes insulting their intelligence in the process). Don’t tell me it’s “ultimate”; it’ll probably be out of date in a couple of months. Don’t tell me the photos are “inspiring”; that’s subjective and not everyone will agree. Don’t tell me I’ll become a “ninja”; I’ll decide what I’ve become when I’m done reading it. Don’t tell me it’s “fresh”; I don’t even know what that means.
What do you think? Should we try to improve the way we write headlines, and avoid this kind of fluff? I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this at some point, too, so I’m not claiming innocence here.
Are there any other words you can think of that are overused that end up overhyping the articles they introduce?
UPDATE: Interestingly, on the same day that I published this post, Douglas Bonneville wrote this piece about list posts, which is a follow-up to his new site idea. I hadn’t read either of those articles when I wrote this one.