Our attention spans seem to be following the development path of micro-processors—smaller and faster.
The art of the long conversation, the slow contemplation of the future of the planet over a leisurely meal, and prolonged human concentration have become so rare that perhaps we don’t value depth of thought and long-form communication anymore.
Dinner parties could become 15-minute events.
When YouTube started to become popular, the videos were often two to three minutes. We were happy to stop and watch for a few minutes.
Now we are demanding videos that take brevity to a new level. You can even see the trend with the Old Spice campaign. The original videos were up to 30 seconds long, but as subsequent campaigns rolled out, the videos were often as short as 15 seconds.
Too short, too superficial?
Are we becoming consumers of the short and superficial, or as we have experimented with online video and social media, have we discovered that brevity is sweet and effective?
This fad for brevity can even be seen in the increasing popularity of TED Talks, which are usually limited to 15 minutes or less.