By Khalailah Bynoe
A bright screen evoking different emotions with every swipe provides a new kind of high that could become deadly. Social media platforms like TikTok are slowly deteriorating our brains. Gone are the days when individuals could sit down and watch a movie, fully attentive without getting bored. Everything around us is adapting to the ever-shortening attention span.
Movies are cutting to dramatic scenes without ease and flow because of the fear of viewers losing concentration. Meaningful information is getting harder to access as useless content floods the internet. Our attention spans are getting so bad that even influencers who make their living posting addicting content are complaining. Social media influencer, @Candacce on TikTok told Distractify that her comment section, after posting a 2–3 minute video on TikTok, is full of individuals telling her to “get to the point” and saying that they wasted their time.
People used to be able to sit through 10–20 minute videos on Youtube, and now watching a one minute video makes people squirm in their seats. There is a whole subgenre on TikTok where there will be a split screen of subway surfers playing on the bottom with a clip from a movie or show playing on top just to keep people’s attention.
Due to shortened attention spans, social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat have now added a video swiping feature where videos one minute or less can be posted. But is it too late? Not many people will want to band together to make longer videos. In the age of clout and social media, people are making more money posting 60 second videos than working a nine to five. So why would they?
We, as a society, are always trying to find new ways to get things done faster: Microwaves can cook a hot meal in just 60 seconds, Paying for anything can be done with just the tap of our phones, we can buy something online the night before and have it arrive the next morning. Contacting friends and family has never been easier with just a text; any message can be sent in seconds. The impact of these inventions is undeniable, however. We are supposed to be improving as a civilization, but there is a point when fast gets too fast.
Can we fix this? Yes, and no. Everything in the world is getting faster, and it’s up to you to decide to slow down. Every generation has its addiction to technology, and although ours might be furthering technological advancement, the short scrolling keeps us in a trance doing nothing.