Is social media reducing our attention spans? Well, I’ve probably lost half of you already! According to a study by Buddy Media, Facebook posts with 80 characters or less had 27% higher engagement rates and according to Twitter Insights, tweets that contained less than 100 characters received 17% higher engagement. We also add apps such as Instagram and Vine with videos just six seconds in length. Moreover, most of Pinterest pins lack of description or even a title – just a J can say it all! And let’s not forget the use of text speak like LOL, NM, B4, and the other 92 most popular text terms!
In three words, we could summarise this new trend as creating quickly digestible content and you’ll win the battle to attract the attention span that may be as short as eight seconds!
But our attention span is less EVERYWHERE! The Retrevo Gadgetology Report examined data from a thousand Facebook and Twitter users and found that 27% allow social media updates to interrupt meals, 12% allow “electronic messages” to interrupt them while they’re in the bathroom, and shockingly 11% admit to checking updates during sex!
I think the worst part is the fact that we are becoming too lazy to read! We want to find the “catch” or “saucy bit” of the story immediately; usually accommodated by a “tl;dr” section at the bottom. So my question is: is social media changing the way we communicate, consume information and how we interact with each other?
Here are some crazy stats that back up my theory:
– 16 million fewer letters are now posted through Royal Mail every day compared to five years ago.
– sales of traditional greeting cards have fallen by roughly 60% over the past decade
– 23% read printed newspapers; down by about half since 2000 (47%).
– 32% of respondents in a American survey said they’d rather communicate by text than phone
– we receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls.
What do you think of it all? Have you noticed your own attention span declining in recent years? If you’ve managed to make it this far, I’ll thank you for your persistence and invite you to raise the debate with your friends. Assuming they’re paying attention.