Attention spans are getting shorter, that’s now well established.
There’s a documentary about it on TikTok that goes pretty in-depth. I don’t know how it ends though. I zoned out and went back to scrolling on my phone after about 35 seconds.
This declining ability to focus on a subject is partly due to the devices we are digitally married to and it’s partly the Internet’s fault.
But mostly it correlates with the steadily increasing volume of information we swim in each day.
It’s now at the point where we are trying to drink from a firehose of information.
We are nearing the saturation point thanks to the enormous flood of news and views and our brains fill to overflowing in seconds rather than minutes.
I’ve thought about cashing in on the trend.
I’ll set up a click-bait advert that hooks punters in for a wellness ‘retreat’. The advert will read: “This one weird trick will have you Living in the Moment. Click here.”
The ‘retreat’ costs $1600 to join and lasts 28 minutes.
The itinerary will include ‘unplugging’ strategies to use around the home, but not until the retreat is over because it’s all on Zoom, so you’re already at home.
After the retreat everyone unplugs. But only for a moment, because it wasn’t the moment they paid $1600 to live in.
It’s not easy.
Any place where you can be at one with yourself is rammed with other people being at one with their followers.
Visit the Mona Lisa in Paris. There is a scrum around Da Vinci’s Renaissance masterpiece, but no one is scrutinising Lisa’s inscrutable smile. Instead they’ve all got their backs to her trying to get a selfie.
But it’s evolution at work. As our attention span shrinks to a vestigal remnant, others on the food chain benefit. Politicians, for example, have learned they can harness the power of “Oh look, shiny thing!”.
If they make a huge cock-up or they get caught with their trotter in the trough, they don’t go all Boomer and resign, they just wait a few hours until the public moves on to the next distraction.