Thursday, April 7, 2016

Are we fated to shorter attention spans than a goldfish?

Is this a definitive truth, limiting all of us to thoughts with the same depth and meaning as a Twitter post, or are we creating a machine that teaches us little of value extends beyond 8 seconds?
This was part of a #socialnomics video I watched during a social media class at Northwestern. I don't think we're yet doomed to a world that can't comprehend Shakespeare or Frederick Douglass yet, but it will require a conscious choice to avoid such a fate. 
I have four school-age children as well as two brands I manage on social media. I see school reaching out to the lowest common denominator, touting that as the new norm, rather than driving aspirational thinking. However, when parents demand more and create a culture of intentionality, children can leverage longer attention spans and learn, truly learn, anything. Same thing with social media--we can dedicate our entire marketing effort to the lowest common denominator, or we can speak to those who are looking for depth as well. let's be honest--some concepts cannot be adequately expressed in SnapChat, especially B2B services.
You can't believe that everyone is looking for a James Joyce novel, but you also don't want to speak so simply that the nuance of your message and brand is lost.