The Shortened Attention Span: Good or Bad

With the advent of social media and the advance of technology, we are much more likely to be overwhelmed with noises and ignore one specific message. Therefore in the new era of social marketing, “short” becomes one of the most important principles for content creators.

Not only texts are limited to 140 characters, which can seldom tell a complete story without accompanying other media, videos are also appealing to a broader audience when they are short enough. Instagram and Facebook introduced the 15 seconds video in the news feed, and Vine pushed the number down to 6 seconds. Why so short? According to a recent poll, 15 seconds is the max acceptable time limit on ads.

With such a short time and small screen, the common belief would be that there won’t be any valuable or complete story on these social media sites. However, it turns out that the six seconds limits only encourages the creativity and enhances the quality.

“The limitations of six seconds can actually lift the storytelling,” explained Gabrielle Kessler, account manager for Something Massive.

Our short attention spans force content providers to create precise, entertaining and eye-catching content. The video has to present the condensed point with creativity to catch the trend. A news provider called “NowThis News” is a perfect to Jeff Petriello, producer at NowThis News, this news provider is the social web’s first digital video news network. NowThis News is the news in our pocket. They create short-form, digital video news segments for the mobile and social web. They put a lot of resources into producing great content for Instagram, Vine, and their app – stuff that’s native to the platforms and not promoting a website or TV program.

With the 6 seconds of limits on Instagram, NowThis News did a great job telling a complete and beautiful story.

For content providers, the shortened attention span of audience definitely means more challenges; however for content consumers like us, this probably means more efficiency and a faster understanding. The shortened attention span itself isn’t a good thing for sure, but to evaluate the result of what it produced can be a controversial topic. What do you think?


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