Too Long; Didn’t Read

The signs of a short attention span are everywhere. Business plans become elevator pitches. Lectures are out; 18-minute TED talks are in.  The burning issue of the day stays aflame only for that day, turning to yesterday’s ashes when the next fire breaks out. Politicians and compa – nies brazen it out through scandals, playing the waiting game till the problem is out of sight – and out of mind.

It’s worth examining the factors that contribute to this phenomenon and certainly there’s no dearth of these in our modern lives. We cannot survive without our digital devices and checking these for messages, information and news has become an obsessive habit for most of us. Still, it is one thing to claim that these are contributing to the attention deficit problem and another to validate this claim with scientific data.

In this issue of Viewpoint, our expert contributors weigh in on how the relentless exposure to digital media may be impacting the human brain, particularly the adolescent brain. Others discuss the repercussions of diminished attention spans and a short public memory for businesses, communicators and society in general.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we did putting it together.