How my top 8 list will get you to read this blog post!
It’s called “spray and pray.” At least, that’s a term a colleague once used to describe this practice. I, however, call it a guilty pleasure — the mass emails sent by PR reps with factoids and interesting information they eagerly hope someone will put on their website.
I have to admit, I sort of love them. Most writers I’ve met, however, don’t.
The term “spray and pray” has its more recent roots in first-person-shooter video games. But in this context, PR agencies will spray a press release far and wide and then pray that someone out there will use it for a news story, a blog post, or even a clickbait post with a headline stating “You’ll never believe,” or “Top five things…”
There are many PR emails that do this, but WalletHub is a good example. It’s a credit reporting service that often offers random rankings to draw you to their website. While a few colleagues in my newsroom roll their eyes when these emails show up in their inbox, I like to see how they’ve managed to spin some factoid into a graph or top 100 list.
Let’s take Father’s Day, for example. WalletHub consulted three experts to find the best states for working dads. They include Shelly Lundberg Ph.D; Stuart Sidle, Ph.D.; and Jennifer Augustine, Ph.D. That’s right, three highly-educated doctors — specializing in demography, sociology, and psychology — to determine the best states for working dads. They considered 22 metrics and rated them each on a 100 point scale.
Add it all up and what do you get? Washington is the 9th best state in the nation for working dads — it’s in the top 10!
You have to admit, that’s some pretty impressive number crunching for a “top something” list. Especially in a field where Joe anonymous can crank out a top five blog and spread it around the internet in the time it takes to finish a cappuccino at the corner coffee shop. Top it off with a generic open-sourced photo featuring some attractive people, order lunch, and you’ve got a list.
In honor of my guilty pleasure, I present my favorite spray and pray from recent weeks.
Top 8 spray and pray
Baby boomers love Washington state: At least, they love the cities in Washington state, compared to the suburbs. Spokane has the zip code with the most Baby Boomers. But adding up the top 20 zip codes shows that Seattle has the most Baby Boomers in the state at 59,807. Spokane has 30,369, Vancouver has 22,242, Everett has 15,538, Kent has 9,393, and Bellevue has 7,296. This list comes from the folks over at RentCafe who discovered the zip codes with the highest numbers of Baby Boomer residents.
Seattle is the best city for gamers: That’s right, Portland! Sorry Boise. Seattle tops the list, not just in the Northwest, but the entire nation when it comes to eSports and gaming. The folks at WalletHub say that Seattle tops a lot of categories — more games stores per capita and most arcades per capita, for example. Six experts crunched the numbers to place Seattle as the best city. Side note: Detroit is the absolute worst city for gamers.
Sammamish is the best in Washington: I have to say, I quite disagree with this assessment. I’ve lived in the area, now I drive through it. While some may like Sammamish, it’s certainly not the best in the state. HomeSnacks cranked out this conclusion — a website that has little to do with homes and nothing to do with snacks. Still, it says that Sammamish is the sixth best place to live in the nation, and the best in Washington. It considered schools, employment, crime, property values and more to come up with this ranking. It also considered cost of living, which makes me conclude that Sammamish must have the greatest schools on the planet influence the ranking. HomeSnacks didn’t consider the “boring-factor,” however. If it did, I think we all know where Sammamish would rank.
Washington is the 4th most fun state: We’re not as fun as crazy California, but we’re better off than Wisconsin. Four WalletHub experts boiled down some statistics to rank Washington as the fourth most fun state in the nation, especially considering the number of movie theaters (fifth in the nation). Washington mostly gets its fun cred from its entertainment and recreation offerings. The the state lags when it comes to nightlife, preventing it from ranking higher. And sorry to everyone in West Virginia, the least-fun state in the nation.
Washington is so fun that Seattle ranks no. 7 on the list of best cities for a staycation. Not only that, Spokane ranks at 45 and Tacoma ranks 61. No need to travel for your kicks. Stay local. Six WalletHub experts calculated the staycation scores factoring in the number of museums, coffee shops and beer gardens, spas, golf courses and tennis courts. Washington is a great place to not go anywhere.
Where Seattle renters are moving to: Not only did the folks at ApartmentList look at who is moving where, they creating a crafty tool. Type in any city, and you’ll get the to-and-from statistics. For Seattle, most people (7.9 percent) are moving to Portland right now. ApartmentList largely credits the tech industry for this move. Portland is a more affordable hub than Seattle and San Francisco. Portland is also sending a fair share to Seattle at the same time — 9.6 percent of people leaving the Rose City are headed to the Emerald City. Los Angeles (6.8 percent) and Phoenix (5.7 percent) come in as the second and third place destinations from Seattle.
Jobs, startups, and the economy: Washington has the best economy in the nation, and is the second best place for jobs. A lot of these factors overlap between these to rankings. Considering business growth, STEM jobs, opportunities, average salaries and more, Washington is a hotbed of economic activity with great job potential, according to WalletHub.
On top of all this, Commerical Cafe recently named Seattle as the third best city for startups. Why? The city is attracting millennials — 16 percent growth in five years (millennials are now 32 percent of the population in Seattle). Also, tech education is a big thing in Seattle with 11.5 percent of residents having a science and engineering background. The one downside is a lack of local investor support, which may be hampering startup growth. Seattle’s 14 percent startup density shows little expansion, according to Commercial Cafe. In comparison, the top city on the list, Austin, has nearly 18 percent startup density.
Seattle has 8th highest parking ticket revenue: CarRentals.com took a look at parking ticket information from the nation’s largest cities and found that Seattle takes in about $20.8 million annually in parking ticket revenue. Not only that, Seattle drivers spend a lot of time just searching for a parking spot that will inevitably lead to that parking ticket. Every Seattle driver spends about 58 hours each year just looking for a parking spot. The city boasts the fifth highest search time in the country.
Washington has bad taste in candy: The CandyStore.com is renowned for its online candy map, showing which treats are most popular for various occasions state-by-state. I’m consistently disappointed in the region’s tastes. We’re pretty disgusting. Sure, we prefer pear flavored Jelly Beans — that’s OK. But we choose candy canes as our favorite Christmas treat — an abomination of peppermint if you ask me. Kurt Cobain called it — Washington prefers a heart shaped box of chocolates for Valentines Day. A classic though not very original. But we choose salt water taffy for Halloween — salt water taffy?! Out of all the candy in the world, for the holiday largely based on sweets, that’s what we go with. That’s like the Sammamish of candies. Shame.