|Traversing the Consumer's Attention Span in a Social Wasteland
By: Cameron Kirkwood
I’m sure any of my coworkers can attest to the fact that my favorite phrase of late has been that “Social Media has propelled society 20 years past its time”; increasingly so, the younger you go generation to generation.
In fact, it’s advanced at a rate that the average consumer’s attention span can only read at a range of four sentences per paragraph without being utterly discouraged, ignoring the piece all together. Some may call this sad. I just call it the power of a completely connected world.
With this overbearing change, the industry has been forced to succumb. Social medias such as Twitter and Instagram latched on to the concept early. Each new medium is progressively becoming shorter, sharper. Character restrictions, focus on imagery, bigger type — these are all very common practices amongst both new social mediums and adaptations of current popular social medias. Of course, this provides a bigger challenge for people who work social for a living. (Calling out you social strategists & content managers.) The true struggle here is the necessity to condense important/interesting information into less. Copywriters have a natural knack for social gaining as their work practice is very similar. Blogs, articles, and news stories can all be seen starting to begin this practice. I truly wouldn’t be surprised if entire books began to fall to the might of the young consumer's ever-tiny attention span.
Want proof? Well…
That up there was a test. I bet many of you skipped right to this much cleaner, less brain-inducing array of text here. Heck, that’s if you even made it to this point.
Maybe some of you caught on and called me out on my bullshit halfway. How are you going to preach four sentences per and write that atrocity of drowned-out sentences and icky words?
That's precisely my point. Writing four or fewer sentences is a necessity and a practice I utilize when writing blogs or even posts on social media. In fact, I occasionally only write in 1–2 sentence blocks on social media to deliver sharper punch lines and provide a cleaner, quicker read to social surfers.
So if you made it this far, I applaud you. My young, 21-year-old attention span wouldn’t have traversed three sentences through that barren wasteland above, and that’s just the hard truth.
For we are all just camels stopping for water in a neverending sand ocean of mirages.
Cameron Kirkwood is a recent graduate, but a forever student of advertising. An aspiring brand strategist and digital aficionado, Cameron seeks to change the game through new and different channels of advertising in an ever extensively growing industry.
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