My ability to pay undivided attention to anything on average lasts in the region of 4-6 minutes on a good day. Thus making the compiling of this very thought something of a miracle in and of-itself. The average for a human being is around 20 minutes and our world has become formed around that fact - tv programs for example tend to fit into nice 22 minutes chunks if you take into account ad breaks, the average time to skim a newspaper is around the same and interestingly another media has began to slip into the 20 minute fold - Facebook. According to Google's Ad Planner tool the average time spent on Facebook by an individual is about 26 mintues - per day. Now I know you are saying to yourself there is no way I spend over half an hour on Facebook a day, but you would be surprised how quickly those quick dips into your social graph from your phone over coffee with a friend, or the constant window flicking on your PC at work can rack up.
However, despite the amount of time being spent on Facebook, the way in which consume content on the site and other social networks like twitter is changing drastically, and it's all getting shorter. 140 Characters / 90 Second Videos / 10 Slide PowerPoint Decks
Marshall McCluhan in his almost prophetic vision to the future technological world wrote that "We shape our tools and afterward our tools shape us" - i.e by the very act of inventing new technologies that have sped our lives up and shortened the time we dedicate to things, we have in turn become adapted and used to having things in bite size chunks, easily searchable and in preferably no more than 140 characters.
It certainly calls into question the format of the lecture/sermon/public speaking gig does it not?
We all know that if you intend on standing in front of a group of people and delivering some kind of talk that is has to have 3 key points all preferably starting with the same letter and if possible a pop culture reference cutely attached. I sometimes wonder if the Apostle Paul or Martin Luther King Jnr. were to return today reincarnate would they bother wrestling with a PowerPoint and Projector... I like to assume not.
This new information age excites me and enthrals me, I can feel something changing in they way I / We / You are working, absorbing the world around us and interpreting our own actions. However beneath of of that activity something far more subtle seems to be happening - the very way we think is changing.
If you have managed to read all of this very blog post - well done. Maybe there is hope for us yet.
Over to you
Have you felt the way you work/play/think change over the past 5 years?
Do you think this more breadth less depth way of thinking is a good thing?