Wednesday 5 September 2012

Apocalypse Theory 2: Death of the Attention Span

Attention Span Test: How many tic tacs can you see?  
I owe you all an apology.

In an earlier blog I suggested the end of the world would be caused by endless rain. But as you know, as soon as I posted that blog post, it stopped raining. Fortunately I have a new theory.

What will actually finish us off will be the complete collapse of our attention spans.

Are you still with me?
Ha. You were about to click on something shiny weren’t you?   

If you’re on twitter then you have already been infected by the disease. If you used to write 300 hundred page novels but now barely manage 100 word pieces of flash fiction, then you’re also in grave danger.

I myself will be one of the first to fall.

Today I looked at my computer screen and found that I was simultaneously buying a book, editing a short story, tweeting about spelling mistakes, educating myself on internet marketing and of course, signing a petition to save the arctic.

Multi-tasking it was not. I was doing many things and doing them all badly. 

I failed to buy the book because I got distracted mid-payment, my short story was left unfinished, my tweets were illiterate, my self-education ended before I picked up one tip and I didn't manage to save the arctic because what with so much internet activity my computer crashed.

A month ago my attention span was already down to fifteen minutes.
Now it’s down to twelve and falling.

Admittedly, doing a bad job is not life threatening in itself. Unsatisfying, yes, but not enough to bring about the end of the world. The problem will come when our attention spans become so short we can’t concentrate long enough to eat a tic-tac.

There will be many markers along the way towards total disintegration.    

For instance, I’m writing this in the early hours when I should be asleep. 

Could I be awake because my shrinking mind can’t cope with the idea of doing the same thing for seven hours straight?

It’s a theory, take it or leave. I’m bound to have another one next week.   


Bob Keim said...

ADD people of the world unit!

Shop Girl said...

Haha - Bob you have worse ADD than me, you didn't even finish the word!

mrscoffee said...

Interesting thought! Thanks for the post.