Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Attention Spans

So I saw this tweet
and thought to myself, cool, someone's measured change in attention spans over time. And then I read the piece it's based on. And then I realized, no, they didn't measure anything at all. It's a single person's reading habits.

In the research biz, we call this an N of 1.

Yeah, I know, how PhDweeby of me to insist on data, on analysis, on something more than man-on-the-pixel anecdotal evidence. Well hell, I've read all the Game of Thrones books. Bought the first novel in hardback when it first came out, you HBO newbs,but even so I feel (N of 1 alert) that my attention span has decreased some thanks to my various digital devices, or maybe as I get older. Again, N of 1. In other words, completely meaningless.

We know a lot about how many people download books to various readers and tablets, and we know a lot about how few they actually finish. Again, that doesn't tell us a great deal because everyone has stacks of hardbacks and paperbacks they never finished. They're the ones gathering dust on the floor near my bedside table.

OK, my attention is waning. Time to go check email or Facebook or something more interesting than this.


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