Hey. Over here. Stay with me. The internet is pretty busy these days. There’s a fierce battle of eyeball real estate going on; somehow, I won you over to my blog. I promise to be quick.
Have you noticed the strengthening pace at which attention spans are weakening? I have. My attention span is becoming less like Greek Homer, and more like Springfield Homer.
The internet is just too much for any one person, I’d say. Everything is given to everyone all at once. It’s absolute madness. We have so much information and so little time; we’ve encapsulated data and communication into tiny, bite-size segments. Facebook updates, Twitter feeds, Youtube videos, Instagram pics.
I’m starting to wonder if our over-stimulated, short segmented behavior will bear negative, long-lasting effects on our brains.
Pinterest is a worthy case study, and my favorite example of short-term focus.
If you’re not familiar with Pinterest then let me give you a summary: it’s pictures of things. There’s creative looking things, tasty looking things, funny things… a bunch of things. No set up, no take down, just pictures. It’s like showing up for dinner and finding a steak on the floor.
Since my wife is a Pinterest fan, and I’ve enjoyed some great meals from it, I can’t really hate too much. Some would argue that this mass influx of information, specifically on Pinterest, allows for people to expand their mind by putting to use all these recipes and crafts. Instagram, a Facebook owned social media phone app which also rewards short attention span behavior, is similar to Pinterest in that it motivates its users to experience life by taking pictures of interesting things and sharing them with their friends.
Are we motivating people to do more by giving them smaller, more accessible ways of experiencing life? Is a weakening attention span just a side effect of a more active community?
In ten years, I wonder if we’ll even have the patience to explore deep themes in art or build long lasting personal relationships, if we’ll be able to concentrate and solve large problems. (Slippery slope, just a little bit, yes).
Will our books and novels will be filled with only flash fiction? Good God, what will our musicals look like?
ACT 1: Scene 1
Tom: I doth eat at Applebees
Beth: Here, a funny picture of a cat
Albert: I made this
Suzy: Isn’t Ryan Gossling hot?
Charles: “Inspirational quote”
Sally: Vintage jewelry for sale!
Kevin’s Final Thoughts
The internet panders to our short attention spans, yes. In truth though, the internet isn’t evil, Facebook isn’t the devil, and Pinterest isn’t Ticketmaster. They’re just websites and tools we use. Like alcohol, TV, or coffee before it, the internet has no safeguard. It’s us who carry the responsibility of moderation.
We are an internet driven generation who is over-stimulating the same area of its brain on a daily basis. I think it’d be wise to keep this in check, to take a break every now and then and, if possible, reward our sustained attention span with a mental cookie.
Before you go, I’d love to hear your thoughts in response. What’d you think? Stay with me.. no… nooo… noo…
Further Reading: Internet Fasting: My Googless Week
In defiance of my depleting attention span, I bought a copy of “Don Quixote” at a used book store today. I’m seriously considering taking a reading retreat where I do nothing but read, eat, sleep and pray until I’ve finished it.
I’m not sure I’ll actually do it, but right now it’s standing on my shelf like a windmill in the distance, waiting to be conquered.
Good for you, Tony! I need a good novel to get into. I have plenty of theological stuff to read, but nothing fictional to dive into. Any suggestions?
Have you read “To Kill a Mockingbird”? It is perhaps my favorite.
Sad, but oh so true!
I am re-reading “East of Eden” by John Steinback. I read this book more than 10 years ago and fully enjoyed it. Now, it’s hard for me to keep my attention span long enough to read through all of the description. I want movement, I want dialogue – just in these 10 years my attention span has shortened. Makes me sad 😦
One of my good friends just read “East of Eden.” He said it was really good but really long. I’m totally with you though, my attention span has dwindled in the last few years. Books are a great way to find the mind, though! Turn off the phone and dig in!
Awesome blog site!!!
I have just recently had the horrific experience of singing on the praise team. There is so much pressure put on us to preform to the point of overexertion of concentration of how you need to move, what cues to look for and of course practically yelling so they can get the sound they are looking for. I have been singing since I was a toddler so has my sister. We both have light melodic voices. I was asked to help out a praise team that basically consisted of family and close friends of family. I now see why. My singing is something similar to brandy Norwood. When I sang I noticed jealousy. Since then I was accused of not singing in my microphone. I heard this every rehearsal. I was literally eating my mic every sunday because I was tired of the accusations. One Sunday my daughter recorded the performance. I say that because that is exactly what it is. I saw and heard myself and was disgusted with them. If you have a light weight soprano and two heavy voice weight altos who will you hear more? We’re supposed to be worshipping God but it seems that we’re trying to move people’s emotions with music. This is NOT true worship. I don’t think God is interested in whether you can sing on key or loud enough. He looks at the heart. They want crowd participation but everything they do says Look at us. You can’t sell gifts. I think it’s using someone’s talent to provoke more members to come. My sister also experienced the same thing at her church. After years of being told how to preform she finally quit. The pastors wife prophilied to her and said that her tongue would cleave to the roof of her mouth. This is when you come to the realization that you were pleasing man, not God. They work so hard to make people feel the spirit but it never works because they are not worshipping in the spirit and in truth. Secondly worship is supposed to be done by the body of Christ. That means everyone. Well since then I’ve had the fortunate experience of visiting a Jewish messianic church. Totally different. .