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