We just can’t pay attention
So in keeping with my new year’s resolution about writing more, I’ve been constantly thinking of what to blog. Then (as I tweeted), a few days ago I had a brilliant idea to blog about while peeing. Alas, I somehow managed to forgot what it was by the time I left the toilet… till now that is. I suddenly remembered the topic I wanted to blog about:
Our attention span is getting way shorter, and we are seriously impatient.
With the Internet and everything, I sometimes wonder how the hell people of ye olde days could survive. I’ve read and watched Pride and Prejudice multiple times, and I simply cannot fathom how people then passed their time. I mean all they ever seemed to do was:
- Dress up in the most extravagent way possible
- Read tons and tons of really thick books
- Spend a ton of time on meals
- Talk to each other about everything, in the longest manner possible
I mean one brilliant example of how boring their lives were in that book was the part where Elizabeth was chatting with some other woman (can’t remember who) in Bingley’s library. The two girls can’t even start talking right off the bat. They got to sit down in a lady-like (pompous) manner, then the other girl had to “invite” Elizabeth to walk AROUND THE FREAKING ROOM to chat with her (which means they can’t go up to each other and say “Hi!” but have to start off with “May I say “Hi” to you?”). So they get up and start walking around the tiny room talking about something boring for awhile, then Bingley comments lamely about how he was observing their “form” as they were walking, and then the- zzzZZZzzz…
And yet somehow none of them actually died of boredom (or did they?). Fast forward to today and we can’t even write properly anymore. I mean every1 nowadays wanna rite in teh shortest way possible, lol.
It all started with SMSing I’m guessing, trying to squeeze everything within 160 characters and with the minimum keystrokes possible so our hands wouldn’t cramp up. Then even with full fledged keyboards people can’t be bothered to type properly, till the point that we have to come out with acronyms for everything. Brb, afk, lol, ttyl, omg, wtf, etc. It won’t be long before we come up with stuff like ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC (which by the way is actually a real acronym).
The Internet only seems to encourage our impatient attitude. First came the whole concept of “microblogging”, then Twitter came along and more or less dominated that arena, feeding on people’s desires to consume bite-sized amounts of data at a very rapid pace. For many people, Twitter is where they get their daily news, not the long, in-depth reports and articles on the New York Times. Why waste precious time reading a long report when you can just get the whole story summed up in under 140 characters? Then Tumblr was born to encourage short-form blogging (e.g. throwing a picture in a post without offering any commentary whatsoever). Then we have Youtube, which even encourages its own high-profile video uploaders to post stuff that’s less than 5 minutes long becuase the average user won’t bother with anything longer than that. Not to mention most of the multi-million viewed videos are less than a minute long.
And while Charles Bingley could spend his whole life just reading books, it’s shocking how few people still enjoy reading. The next time you get on the train take a look at how many people are reading books vs. watching videos on their iPhones (or one of those ridiculous “portable” DVD players). Books used to be one of the best ways to entertain ourselves on long journeys, but ever since our phones became “smart”, books just seem so boring in comparison.
But of course the opposite can be argued for books. It’s probably the only remaining form of media that doesn’t provide immediate gratification (compared to say, Twitter, movies, video games) and yet still remains exceedingly popular. Though I have to say the number of people I know that read on a regular basis is startlingly low. Certainly way lower than what they were during Charles Bingley’s era.
I mean the fact that I can’t even focus on finishing this whole post in one sitting (because I’m being distracted by MSN convos and other websites) just goes to show how much the world we live in today is trying its absolute best to distract us from whatever we’re doing. Now if only I could concentrate long enough to fini