attention span

Tools and attention spans

Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter

Blogs wane as young people figure out it takes work to keep them up, and even more work to read them. Facebook and Twitter lend themselves to shorter attention spans and more easily attained popularity.

Chicken-egg: Are tools like Facebook and Twitter the right tools at the right time for our (TV) shortened attention spans, or, has the use of these particular tools shortened our attention spans (even more than they were already)?

All of us involved in online social networking have experienced the shortening of our attention spans as we scan large amounts of information looking for interesting tidbits. The question is, what do we do with the tidbits when we find them if they’re the tip of a long form article iceberg?

I’m noticing many on Twitter will re-blog this stuff without reading it which is a shame because sometimes their quick executive summary is way off the mark. Couple this with the fact that many on Facebook and Twitter are tracking thousands of contacts (some think more contacts = more popular) and you have a recipe for the dumbing down of information or certainly, the telephoning of tidbits that many aren’t taking the time to dig into and understand.

So, two things are happening that are creating shorter attention spans: Tools like Facebook and Twitter are built for chatter rather than long form writing and reading, and the sheer amount of information that many are tracking is growing, much of it chatter that gets in the way of or interrupts long form reading and more nuanced understanding.

Broadcasting tweets is a great way to build a revolution (Egypt) but it may not be the best way to build a new government and society. For that you need long form thinking, writing, reading, and understanding.

The Attention-Span Myth

The Attention-Span Myth

Maybe my own brain is faltering in a Web wasteland, but I don’t get it. Whether the Web is making us smarter or dumber, isn’t there something just unconvincing about the idea that an occult “span” in the brain makes certain cultural objects more compelling than others? So a kid loves the drums but can hardly get through a chapter of “The Sun Also Rises”; and another aces algebra tests but can’t even understand how Call of Duty is played. The actions of these children may dismay or please adults, but anyone who has ever been bored by one practice and absorbed by another can explain the kids’ choices more persuasively than does the dominant model, which ignores the content of activities in favor of a wonky span thought vaguely to be in the brain.

Brilliant.

On with my distractions.