Facebook 'Pick Five' Lists: The Hottest and the Wildest

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As Facebook has rocketed to its current position as the most popular social networking destination on the Web, some people have wondered whether there would be enough things for all of those millions of users to do once they arrived. That remains to be seen over the long term.

But today, Facebook users are sharing more than 1 billion pieces of content (Web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) each week, and one of the most popular is the Pick Five list from Facebook app developer LivingSocial. LivingSocial CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy says that Facebook users created some 600 types of Pick Fives, while only "a couple dozen" were created by LivingSocial's 17-person staff in Washington, D.C.

If you visit Facebook regularly, you've probably filled out at least one of these Top Five lists. I have--they're hard to resist. The reason I like LivingSocial's Pick Fives such as "Five Albums That Have Shaped Me" is because they provide a structured way for Facebookers to express to each other who they are and what they're all about. Nevertheless, I suspect that it's more fun to fill out your own list than to look at other people's lists.

After meeting the LivingSocial people, we decided to find out which five Pick Five lists Facebook users are most inclined to fill out. We also wondered which individual choices made those top five Pick Fives most frequently. So we found out.

The Pick Five lists come in a multitude of categories, such as "sports" and "technology." Many of the Pick Fives focus on celebrities, the most popular category chosen by the Facebook community. After celebrity Pick Fives (30 million lists created), you have (by order of popularity) Movies (12.3 million lists), TV shows (9 million lists) and Pro Sports Teams (7.8 million lists).

Top Five Pick Fives

Let's start our tour of the top five Pick Fives with the most-often-completed list of all, "Favorite Movies of All Time," and see which films got the most support. Under each Pick Five, I'll list--in order of popularity--the five picks Facebookers made most often. After each pick, in parentheses, we identify how many Facebookers have endorsed it.

Pick Five: Favorite Movies of All Time

(completed by 6.4 million people on Facebook)

Okay, not too surprising. We love to talk about movies with our pals. And our favorite movies are a good indication of our tastes and our personality. But what movies appeared most frequently in those 6.1 million Top Fives about movies?

1. The Notebook (416,386 times)

2. Titanic (361,384 times)

3. Forrest Gump (338,756 times)

4. Twilight (319,174 times)

5. The Dark Knight (311,561 times)

The Notebook number one? This was a result I didn't expect. I mean, we're not talking about Ben Hur or Rear Window here. I haven't seen this movie, and I had no idea it was so popular. It's a chick flick, isn't it? Titanic at number two I totally get. It's a pretty good movie, and it's a love story, which tallies well with the theory that most people who create these Pick Five lists are young women. Am I being sexist? I don't think so. Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks's 1994 hit, is no chick flick--and it was no critics' darling either--but it's certainly likeable and memorable. Twilight? Wha? The $37 million film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's best-selling novel is widely called a chick flick, though girls in middle school may account for much of the "chick" support in this case; still, I had no idea that so many of them loved the film. Rounding out the top five is The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger's swan song. It's a good movie, not a great movie, and it made the favorite lists of almost 300,000 Facebook users.

Pick Five: Best TV Shows

(completed by 5.6 million people on Facebook)

Not surprising either. What do we talk about at the water cooler? TV. Now let's see what shows Facebookers picked most.

1. Friends (picked 951,650 times)

2. The Simpsons (950,511 times)

3. Family Guy (860,441 times)

4. House M.D. (686,563 times)

5. Lost (679,851 times)

Now I'm getting scared. Number one (by an eyelash) is Friends--sappy sit-com schmaltz involving insipid, pseudo-hip 20-somethings. It takes me right back to the '90s, and then makes me want to gag. I'm obviously out of step with the mainstream on this. Facebook users favored Friends over the consistently funny and poignant animated series The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening. Another well-written and consistently funny animated series, Family Guy, finished third. Rounding out the top five are current hits House M.D. and Lost. Good. I'm sorry to sound so strident, but I really thought we were over Friends.

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