Emerging Media: Attention Span Killer?

Time is the most valuable commodity.

Time is so valuable people create tools to manage it,  multitask to save it, and hire others to use their time.  A study by Lloyd’s TSB Insurance in 2008 claims that attention spans have decreased from 12 minutes in 1998 to five minutes at the time of the study, over six years ago. Although there’s speculation about the validity of the study, it is obvious that something is happening.

Many experts accredit the explosive growth of the Internet to the decline of  attention span, and as new media grows, people will find even more things to split their time between. Below is an infographic depicting social media’s affect on the human brain. Note there’s a mistype and should be five minutes, not five seconds, but pretty solid information nonetheless!


This prompted me to consciously think of my own attention span and disruptions. During the course of me creating this post, I stopped my stream of thought and read five emails, watched a youtube video (but quit watching after minute four of six), read two unrelated articles, replied to a Facebook post and queued up the last episode of Scandal to watch on my iPad.  While some people call this multitasking, I argue there’s truly no such thing, as each task is interrupted to do the other task.

Are you noticing a difference in how you pay attention (or don’t) on the web?



Moore, M. (2008 November 26). Stress of modern life cuts attention span to five minutes. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/3522781/Stress-of-modern-life-cuts-attention-spans-to-five-minutes.html

Plumridge, N. (2013 August 1). Is the internet destroying our attention span? Retrieved from: http://psychminds.com/is-the-internet-destroying-our-attentions-span/

RKT. (2011 December 13). How social media is ruining our minds [infographic]. Retrieved from: http://assistedlivingtoday.com/p/resources/social-media-is-ruining-our-minds-infographic/


2 thoughts on “Emerging Media: Attention Span Killer?

  1. What a great graphic! I totally agree — social media has certainly had an impact on our lives and our relationships. I see it within my own family. It’s not unusual for the four of us to be sitting in the same room together, each engaged in our own screen (or screens) but not with one another. A 2012 study found that Twitter is harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol. Other research has linked excessive use of social media to anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression and some psychological disorders. Pretty sobering. (Koikai, 2013).



  2. Really really informative infographic!! My friends tell me all the time that the reason they have done something was for instant gratification or because they do not have patience. It’s honestly scary to think about how social media can really change the way our brain is wired, does this make us more shallow? How can we not remember names of our friends or relatives?

    I have also been reading about the Selfie Generation and how the behaviors, outcomes, tendencies of this generation may be closely tied to the effects of social media. I’m looking forward to seeing more studies and research done about this topic! Here’s a Forbes article about the selfie generation:


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