How social media is killing your attention span and making content creators more creative

You’ve probably heard that social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are reducing your attention span but do you know that social media has also inspired a new level of creativity in web video content production?

There are commonalities between human thinking and social media news feed. A Facebook news feed of updates and statuses resembles the constant train of thoughts in your head. You like some, dislike others, scroll past third and hold onto fourth until you’ve caught up with the newest posts or something else around you draws your attention; later on, everything repeats all over again.

Social media can greatly affect the way you think and your ability to focus in particular. Your mind may adopt the addictive news feed scrolling habit and you may at some point feel a strong unconscious urge to “move forward” and scroll down in real life, for instance when having a conversation, listening to a lecture or reading a book. Inevitably, you will get frustrated because you can’t fast forward life, and impatiently begin to look for something else to provide a brief distraction which often is the social media app on your mobile phone. Further, due to the reduction in focus and increased general laziness of the brain of most highly active social media users, Facebook and Instagram now automatically play videos when you encounter them in your news feed. It is a different question whether you’d watch the entire video after seeing a few seconds of it. This is when unique and engaging content stand out.

The fleetingness of social media has fortunately influenced a new level of creativity in web video content production. Shorter attention span in users has posed a restriction on the length of videos being produced for social media. The shorter and snappier is generally the better. That has in turn encouraged another level of creativity in storytelling. Conflict and story are laid out quickly and effectively in viral comedy videos, such as 7-second vines and 15-second Instagram videos, in order to grab the viewers attention and sustain it. Presenters in web videos often speak as fast as understandably possible. Engaging web commercials on YouTube are usually between 15 and 30 seconds long. Good promotional videos on YouTube last between 60 seconds and 2 minutes. Content creators therefore aim to use the most informative images or video shots that convey emotion within the least amount of time possible in order to keep the audience interested and entertained. Thus, content creators develop better perception skills that allow them to easily recognize what makes a great emotive image or take during the creation process.

One thought on “How social media is killing your attention span and making content creators more creative

  1. Hi Vlad,

    Thanks for your blog post.
    It’s extraordinary how media has the ability to manipulate & mirror our thinking patterns.
    Being concious of this enables us to avoid getting into this unhealthy pattern of always wanting more, becoming more impatient and may even be able to lengthen our own concentration & attention span.

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