The Comfort Zone

The Attention Span Has Died: RIP Attention Span

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Here lies the ability to focus on one task at a time — the attention span. He leaves behind siblings Hyperfocus and Mindfulness. His health declined greatly in the last decade due mostly to the increased demand for television and online media consumption from consumers. In lieu of a memorial service, we’ve posted a vine video. Don’t worry; it only takes 6 seconds to watch.   

After sitting through a session titled Inter-Generational Communication and Innovation, at the recent MSCA 2013 annual educational conference, I was frustrated. It was a great session with quality content but the main message I took away from that class was as a whole, attention spans are shrinking - therefore our content needs to shrink. Okay, this is nothing new. We’ve been hearing for years that the “average consumer of media has the attention span of a squirrel on Ritalin.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being compared to squirrels. I still believe that there are people (media consumers) out there who prefer quality over quantity. If that wasn’t true, publications like Rolling Stone and The New Yorker would no longer exists. The Twitter account @longreads has over 100,000 followers who tweet out quality “long reads” from a multitude of publications for online media consumers.

It’s now our goal to post quality content in a shorter form. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m not going to insult our readers by thinking that I’ve only got their attention for 6 seconds. I think that between the 500-word news items we can squeeze in a 1200-word article and it’s still going to get read and shared through email or Twitter. Maybe even a Facebook post!

Have you adjusted the way you communicate with your consumers lately? What has worked for you and what have you found challenging? Post your comments below!

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