Scrolling for My Attention Span
My daughter told me my TikTok videos had too much information. Too many graphics, text, stickers with funny things. Too much for her generation, the “Gen Zs” to assimilate. She said they have a limited attention span due to the continual assault on their senses with information. She neglected to inform me that some of that limited attention span was due to the continual assimilation of endless selfies, TikTok videos and videos of snakes wrapping themselves around someone’s head in a grocery store.
What I mean is, the Gen Zs and the rest of us, frankly, are choosing to be bombarded with information via these social channels. It’s like reading a trash mag at hyperspeed. Or reading 20 newspapers in a day. Or watching a shitton of bad TV over the course of our hours.
But hey, it’s fun. I truly enjoy TikTok. I’ve found so many cool videos of The Grateful Dead, interviews with Jerry Garcia I’ve never seen before; I’ve seen videos of faraway places with giant mountains and tiny bridges strung over a deep, deep gorge 2,000 feet down—and if that bridge broke you could say sayonara to ever getting the iPhone 17 in your life.
So I understand that our attention spans are shot to shit. I’m one to talk. I scroll past endless videos, barely watching 10 seconds, and if the video goes really long and the person on the video seems to be rambling or I’m not that interested in their information, then I’ll scroll. Scroll, scroll, scroll.
It's kind of like popping little candy bites in our brains. Or sitting in the middle of a proverbial room with a giant box of chocolates on the floor. In this box are thousands of different chocolates. Different flavors. Different fillings. Different colors. And we’re just picking away at the pile, trying a bite here, spitting it out or tossing it over our shoulders. This one’s caramel. That one is vanilla with a little sprinkle on the top. One is filled with fudge. One coffee filled. Another is raspberry with a dark chocolate coating.
And we keep shoving these chocolates (our social media consumption) into our limited attention span. Trying another one, and another one (usually only taking a tiny bite) and on and on—every minute of the day.
And our fingers are all covered in chocolate and we’ve got a great sugar high. It’s wonderful.
Unless you’re allergic to chocolate. Then you should just read a real newspaper.
We’re accustomed to this endless barrage of information. Our mental metabolism is jacked-up and ready for the social media ping pong game.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s our new way of learning. Our new way of interacting with the world. We’re better, faster, stronger…
These social tidbits are like little windows open on our computer brains. We’re jumping back and forth like monkeys shoving blocks in circles and squares.
I still like to take in a book now and then. And being as I’m a writer, I hope other people take in books now and then and especially more now as I’ve got a book currently for sale.
Yes kiddies, you should all read more. Off the phone. And let your mind go into vast spaces of endless lines of text and story and internal sounds of vowels and consonants.
A pure, unadulterated FLOW…
Then once you’ve read for a few hours or at least 20 minutes a day, then jump back on the TikTok train or take a few more selfies posing with your California roll at some fancy sushi joint.
We all want to know where to get the best California rolls, don’t we?
©2022 Bruce Palma. All rights reserved.