Microsoft Says Short Attention Spans Are Fine - InformationWeek

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Microsoft Says Short Attention Spans Are Fine
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/16/2015 | 2:12:39 AM
Re: Microsoft Says Short Attention Spans Are Fine
@Broadway0474- Well, be my guest, of course. But the more I read the stidy, the more i see myself in it. I don't concentrate less than I do before. I simply concentrate in shorter bursts on more things. It allows me to confidently switch tasks quickly which is something I have to do in a modern world. The data shows we actually concentrate MORE, just in shorter bursts. That seems OK by me.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2015 | 12:04:39 AM
Re: Microsoft Says Short Attention Spans Are Fine
"digital lifestyles deplete the ability to remain focused on a single task, particularly in non-digital environments."

Anyway you spin it, I am not buying it. I can't see how this is good. Being able to focus on one task is not old-fashioned. It is a requisite of being able to do that task well. Can't concentrate on something? No one can concentrate on something? We're doomed to a world of ever increasing mediocrity.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
5/15/2015 | 8:23:12 PM
Re: Microsoft Says Short Attention Spans Are Fine
Like Mr. Carr, I've often felt this way over the last decade, and not without awareness of how it connected with my digital lifestyle.  If I'm watching a recorded TV show, I often find myself pausing it to check how much time is left before the end. Why? I wanted to watch it, didn't I? I find myself missing the natural break commercials gave me to get up and move around. Maybe that's the part advertisers are worried about (I was glad to see you note the study was carried out for advertising purposes) - on the plus side, streaming video gives them the option to insert fewer commercials more frequently to hold that attention span - annoying for me, but it does keep me put. The full study put it like this: "digital lifestyles deplete the ability to remain focused on a single task, particularly in non-digital environments."

That means, though, that we don't necessarily have as much trouble staying focused if we are in a digital environment. I've noticed this to be true for me  as well. Matches in some online games can last upwards of 40 minutes, but I (and many of my generation) have no problem giving that my full attention - but that's with constant audiovisual stimulation, mouse-clicking, typing, voice chatting, etc, all at once. I've appreciated how this can be a dangerous trend, but looking at this study and the amount of multitasking involved, I'm seeing the upshoot. A generation of people who could apply that to productivity could be great. Imagine that youngster who checks his phone at dinner grows up to be someone who simply texts his boss 'yes, I can do that' instead of interrupting the whole family's dinner with a ten minute phone call. That's not so bad.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/15/2015 | 4:47:34 PM
tl;dr
I forgot what I was going to say.
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