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Your Attention Span is Probably Dead

By: Renzo Guevara

teenagers with short attention span scrolling through their phones

It’s honestly a miracle that you’re reading this right now. Most people usually judge anything by the title and move on if they think it ain’t worth it. Let’s face it, no one’s really patient enough nowadays. 

You’ll never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

People want things fast. Food, entertainment, transportation, internet speeds, the workout your trainer gave you, your work hours, all of it. When you take more than a minute to reply to a message, it’s either your partner thinks you’re cheating or your manager is already contemplating firing you.
There is no in-between.
Our attention spans used to be 12 seconds back in 2000. In the year 2015, it went down to 8 seconds. We’re now on the same level as goldfishes. And people wonder why TikTok is so popular nowadays.
Short-form entertainment dominates the online space. Instagram stories, YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and the 140-word limit of Twitter. When people go on social media, they don’t want to read an article every other post or watch a documentary with every video.

The internet made us all dumb.

People consume online content like free doughnuts with no risk of diabetes. With the amount of stuff we can access in just a few swipes, it’s information drugs we’re all so hopelessly addicted to. We don’t like missing out on the latest.
When you’re in a buffet, you wouldn’t want to just stick to one dish, you’ll want to try out every single offering they have. Why?
Because you can.
Instant gratification at the maximum level. That’s what we look for on the internet. If a web page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, there’s an 11% risk of losing the viewer altogether.
How many times have you heard “back in my day…” which is followed by a variation of either the younger generation is lazy, studying nowadays is so much easier because of google, and how sending a message required a whole damn military operation to accomplish? Technology has eliminated the need to work more.
Accessibility allowed us to care less. We don’t have to pay attention to every single detail because we don’t have to. And because there are a million other tabs, links, videos, tweets, stories, etc. we can go to, nothing’s stopping us from exploring what’s already available.

“So you’re a man who has everything, and nothing.”

Words directed to Tony Stark after talking about his unlimited resources and where they have led him to. The same thing can be said for all of us.
Don’t get me wrong, the internet is great. I make a living writing in the damn thing. But the fact that you’ve reached up to this point already makes you better than 55% of online readers. I’m guilty of this myself. You don’t even want to know how long it took me to write this. I type in a word or two then I tell myself I deserve a couple of hours’ break.
When our brains are constantly overstimulated by thousands of things we see online, no one’s going to blame you for having a hard time choosing which one to focus on. Now, what are we talking about again?

ALSO READ: The Decline in Global Attention Span: A Modern-Day Challenge

About M2

M2.0 Communications, a public relations and digital marketing company, has been helping brands stand out and engage their audience through data-driven narratives. We offer a range of services including pr advisory, social media marketing, influencer strategy, crisis communication, stakeholder management, and media training. As one of the top pr agencies in the Philippines, we ensure that our storytelling strategies adopt an evidence-based approach.
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