Ultra-short attention spans

Every episode of BBC Two’s darkly humorous State of the Union begins in the same way. A crumbling relationship between Louise and Tom plays out inside a London pub. The two examine their marriage, trade witty barbs about their gnarly imperfections, then pop across the street to their weekly marital therapy session.

Before you have time to process the episode, it ends – at a trim ten minutes – leaving you either wanting more or feeling short-changed. The bitesize series, written by Nick Hornby, is leading the way in serialised short-form content… More here.

It’s kind of sad that we may have reached a point where our attention spans need such short content. I recognise this in myself which I thought was due to a lack of time, but I notice it when waiting for adverts before a YouTube video, when not being able to sit and watch a film without fiddling with my phone or iPad and when not being able to read for more than 15 minutes at a time. My attention span has been destroyed due to the huge volume of content I can access at any time.

Categories: Articles, News, TV

1 reply

  1. I agree. There’s so much other stuff that it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on the current. Then there’s also the attempt to multi-task which often ends up not doing anything well.

    Certainly part of the problem is the easy availability of so many interesting things, but our natural curiosity plays a part as well. You’re reading something and you get a beep saying that there’s an incoming email. Chances are that you at a minimum check to see who the email’s from and what the subject is. Of course that breaks your focus on what you were doing and it’s often hard to get that back.

    Of course you could turn the notification off, but these days, I’ll bet you’d want to check every so often to see whether something new had come in.

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