Attention span, what attention span?

The BBC recently promoted their new series “Comedy Feed” by saying that all the episodes “are less than 10 minutes long, so there’s no excuse for not watching.” God forbid that anyone would want to sit down and commit to watching anything for longer than ten minutes. What do they take us for, intelligent, discerning human beings with a thirst for good content?

The History Channel in the US recently launched a web site called Asterisk which “seeks to make readers connect with the past in new and exciting ways.” At the top of every piece of content there’s a little clock and a warning telling readers how long it will take them to read each article.

“5 Minute Read,” it says.

Oh God, if it’s going to take me that long to read something, surely there’s no point even starting. Five minutes? I could be dead in five minutes. There’s certainly a serious risk that my interest in that particular subject will have waned by then. Best not risk making that kind of time commitment. Got anything I can read in 15 seconds or less?

When MTV first went on the air many media people said it would shorten the attention span of an entire generation to little more than 3 minutes. Then we were told that the 6 second Vine was the new 30 second commercial. Six seconds? Sorry, I’m too busy.

Now that Vine has gone out of business I’m guessing that all content will soon follow the rule of three. It’ll be either three seconds long, or it will contain a maximum of three words.