Snapchat, Vine, and the Death of Attention Span

Snapchat, Vine, and the Death of Attention Span

Welp, that’s it. It’s been a fun ride, but it’s time to lay our near, dear friend Attention Span to rest.

It wasn't a bird, but it WAS shiny.

It wasn’t a bird, but it WAS shiny.

Doctors tried to save him with a semi-healthy dose of Ritalin, they were unsuccessful in their endeavors. It’s a shame. I really enjoyed paying occasional attention to something.

But we need not worry about permanence or focus. No, not with Snapchat and Vine. These two suddenly-thriving additions to our potpourri of messaging and social networking have brought about the destruction of consistent concentration.

To enlighten, Snapchat is a messaging system based around sharing media that disappears within a scheduled amount of time under 10 seconds. Vine [http://blog.twitter.com/2013/01/vine-new-way-to-share-video.html], a recently acquired app attached to Twitter, provides an even-stricter brevity than Snapchat by allowing a maximum of 6 seconds of video to be saved. Vine, contrary to its secretive sharing counterpart, does not destroy its videos after a certain amount of time. Instead, each Vine video is essentially turned into an animated GIF and looped with or without sound.

Is that it? Is that all our brains can manage? Are we so envious of goldfish as to adopt their shortest-term memory? Yes, that last part’s a myth [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1106884/Three-second-memory-myth-Fish-remember-months.html], but the point stands. In a world of “too long; didn’t read” (or tl;dr, since we’re too busy shaving time to save time), these two apps seem to be the epitome of our modern mindset.

Even this fails to snag attention these days.

Even this fails to snag attention these days.

That brings up another curiosity: in an internet’d world of “pics or it didn’t happen,” does anything exist on Snapchat? Actually, yes, according to sources [http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/28/technology/security/snapchat-security-flaw/index.html] that state things shared on Snapchat aren’t guaranteed to disappear. Considering Snapchat’s joint criticism and acclaim stems from the potential for secretive sexting (sending sexually-based text messages), these security gaps [http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2012/11/guide-snapchat-app-s-kind-instagram-only-more-boobs/59509/] could deter users from believing their discretions are safe.

Then again, most of the teens and young adults that use this app are more tech-savvy than their parents and authority figures, so those wishing to discover this naughtiness are the least likely to figure out how.

Vine, on the other hand, seems to have more of a worthwhile purpose. Several companies and brands have decided to utilize the looping app for marketing purposes [http://mashable.com/2013/01/25/twitter-vine-brands/]. Some companies- as seen with Moose Tracks, Gap, and Birmingham City Football Club- have taken to the succinct virality with humor and relevant stimulation, while others- specifically Urban Outfitters- have offered nothing but coils of convolution.

After seeing the length of social media’s devolution, Myspace’s sagas of sorrow -> Facebook’s lengthy-to-quick wall posts -> Twitter’s character economy -> Instagram’s pictures-telling-a-thousand-filtered-words -> Snapchat’s hopefully-vanishing act -> Vine’s 6 seconds of game, I wonder what’s next for our WiFitional pleasure. When will internet acronyms hit the point of tl;dr? Are you already to the point that your attention is snagged elsewhere between the “h” and “i” in “hi”?

Hey. HEY. I’m talking here!

Ooh, new text!

Ooh, new text!

Print Friendly