Wait, What? This is the question we all shout out loud when we’re trying to concentrate on social media and chat with someone else. It is a clear indication of the negative effects of social media on our attention span. Now, what does that say about the millennial in all of us? Well, not much because social media, advertising, and our own sucky ways to interpret it all have managed to broadcast it into 2 millisecond “picture-videos” that perfectly depict the attention deficit in all of us. We can’t watch a 30 second video anymore; and we scroll down our picture feeds so fast that we barely retrieve any memory of what we actually saw.
The app BOOMERANG from Instagram allows one to record a fast gesture, almost like a moving image. The background of the image is still, but the center portion of it depicts the fast gesture. Similarly, GIFs are becoming the emojis of moving image, while conveying expressions. I had only discovered GIFs on Twitter, but Facebook has changed their ‘like’ button options with emojis in order to convey expression. As if we need to know more about how people feel. So, how did an outdoor activity such as, Frisbee and the boomerang become the key concepts behind a new social media revolution?
It goes back to the plummeting levels of concentration that surround us.
Why can’t we concentrate?
Media has become its own social vortex of spiraling content thrown at us. News channels aren’t ALL about the news anymore; we see entertainment and celebrity news mixed in. One segment isn’t enough to have anymore, channels are trying to cover all aspects of the world in 1 sitting and the audience is actually flying through that vortex. If we look at the history of media, there was much more subtle approach to it. However, we don’t pay attention to subtle things and we never really have for that matter. We do seem to like jolts of information thrown at us so quickly that we can barely make any sense of it, whether it is in combined image-video or longer segments of television viewing. To me new social media features such as, the Boomerang app and GIFs are fast attention seekers and if the world of media catches on to them we may see advertisement stemming from it. Although, social platforms with a very high following are currently using/promoting Boomerang.
At this rate, it is going to become harder to spread real content all over the world. Apps and features such as these are temporary trends that developers are giving us in order to analyze our behavior as users. They tend to not stick around because we eventually stop using them. As all things that come to an end with the cycling of new and old content, so will our attention and concentration.
Here is a link to an article about research conducted on the issues I addressed.
by Alyssa Deitchman