As young folks here at RAYGUN, we chuckle when cities tout city rankings. Not only are those rankings just algorithm-created click-bait with little value, but those rankings are created by the younger "Everyone Gets a Trophy" generation and then lapped up and celebrated by the older "Back In My Day You Had to Earn Awards" generation.
But we young folks realized was that getting awards rocks! Didn't do anything to earn it? Who cares?! You got after-game Keebler cookies, some ice-cold High-C, and a trophy for your dresser? Right on! Our parents belittled us with, "You didn't earn that" malarky. But they were just jealous: they wanted fake awards too!
And now the young writers at BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, etc etc are giving them fake awards in droves. There are lists for everything and cities are eating them up. Below are just the winners, but even the losers love it. A website puts Des Moines or Grand Rapids #3 or #5 on "Best Cities for Millennials" and the newspaper articles in GR just writes itself. The City Council is over the moon with joy. The Mayor's got something to talk about at the next Chamber of Commerce meeting -- chalk that Digital Participation Ribbon from TopTenz.net up to strong vision and leadership Mr Mayor!
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Vassar-grad writing for Gizmodo gets to kick back with his High-C and watch the clicks roll in.
Cincinnati - America's Craziest City (The Daily Beast)
Lumberton, NC - America's Dumbest City (Lumosity)
Tuscaloosa, AL - America's Laziest City (Business Insider)
New Orleans - America's Most Haunted City (TopTenz.net)
Seattle - America's Most Walk-Friendly City (The Atlantic)
Austin - America's Most Dog-Friendly City (Rover.com)
Tampa - America's Most Cat-Friendly City (Pet Insurance.com)
We couldn't find America's most lizard-friendly city. So that's an idea you guys at BuzzFeed can jump on!
Sedona, AZ - Most Beautiful Small City in America (Conde Nast)
East St Louis - Most Dangerous City in America (Neighborhood Scout)
Amarillo, TX - Windiest City in America (Weather.com)
Kansas City - Sweatiest City in America (USA Today)
Bridgeport, CT - Best Teeth in America (Total Beauty)
Everyone knows that Bridgeport is famous for it's great teeth!
Flint - Most Apocalyptic City (PolicyMic)
We never realized that cities could be more apocalyptic than others. But we also never realized that Flint was Iraq and Detroit (photos PolicyMic used thinking they were photos of Flint). Hey, they gave it a shot!
And the real kick in the groin, is that most of the lists we create for cities to celebrate are just about us.
New York - Best Place for Millennials (Vocativ in 2014)
Portland - Best Place for Millennials (Vocativ in 2015)
New York didn't even make the Top 10 only one year later on Vocativ?! Nooo!!!! They must have pulled some serious anti-millennial shit in one year.
Austin - Best Place for Millennial Homebuyers (National Realtors)
Washington DC - Most Popular Place for Millennials (The Wall Street Journal)
And then Local Niche knocks lists out of the park with "Best Counties for Millennials," "Best Suburbs for Millennials," along-side "Best Neighborhoods in Achorage." Anchorage? Apparently there are 37 neighborhoods in Anchorage, and Niche thinks that “North Star” is tops!
So cities of America, just kick back, grab some Keebler, and watch for yourself on the internet!
*And BTW: That photo above is Grand Rapids, not Des Moines.