Sarah Brown

The List App

You probably don’t need to hear me wax poetic about the beauty of lists and the immense satisfaction of checking off list items. We love lists, for reasons documented in several studies: lists are calming because they put things in discrete categories and have a specific, predictable endpoint, both things that make human brains happy.

You may have already read my colleague Kate Daniels’s excellent post about Wunderlist, an app she uses both for personal task organization and to stay on the same page with others on shared projects. I’m also a Wunderlist user, so I concur with her evaluation of this particular tool.

But, I just downloaded another new list app, appropriately named The List App, that adds a social dimension to list making. Created by B.J. Novak (who you likely remember as Ryan from The Office, creator of the WUPHF service) and a team of developers, The List App allows you to create and share lists. You can also follow the lists of celebrities, news organizations, and friends.

I’ve only had the app for a couple days, but I’m already a fan because opening it gives me the same sense of peace and security that I feel when I walk into The Container Store. I like that the shared lists serve different purposes:

Strictly Informative: The New York Times is sharing a “5 Things to Know” news list each day

Information for Travel: “Top 10 Cemeteries to Visit,” from National Geographic

Information for Food: always important, and LA Weekly made sure you won’t go hungry with their “Best Places to Eat After 11 PM on a Weeknight in L.A.”

Trivia: Mental Floss shared “Things You Might Not Know about Mister Rogers.”

Humor: Novak’s list of “Two Lies about Seinfeld”:

  • It was about nothing
  • Its characters were unlikeable

I’m interested to see how different users experiment with this format. Lists are often private, so thinking about lists for a wider audience, while not new, is still likely a shift for most people trying this app. The List App is currently available for iPhones, but the creators say an Android version is on the horizon.

Sarah Brown

About Sarah Brown

Sarah has worked in the College of Education and with FITS since 2010. She also teaches in the Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse department. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Secondary English Education and Writing at the University of Findlay in Ohio, and after teaching at Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Dayton, Ohio for two years, she moved to Chicago to earn her MA in Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse at DePaul. When she’s not teaching or testing out a new technology, Sarah runs, crochets, and cooks.

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