Is Your Attention Span in Need of Attention?

I was commenting to someone recently about how short my attention span is, and how consequently I often have trouble following the plot of movies if they’re any more complicated than a rom-com. My mind wanders off somewhere else, and then…er…then…what was I saying? Something about cats was it? Or milk, yes I need to buy some milk. No, movies! Anyway, I decided to create a little comic strip to illustrate what it’s like to watch a movie with me, so that you can see what poor Neil has to put up with (you’ll probably need to click on the picture to make it bigger so that you can read it) –

Vanessa comic strip

Anyone else have this same trouble?

By contrast, here is a really cool video of somebody who has a super long attention span. In 1977, At the age of 18, this guy video’d himself interviewing his older future self, and then waited 38 years to film his older self replying. It’s really worth watching, very poignant in places. It’s 3mins 58secs long.

How’s your attention span? …Hello? You still there?

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84 responses to “Is Your Attention Span in Need of Attention?

  1. First! And I thought it was going to be just another dull Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Listen…there’s nothing wrong with your attention span. I’ll bet you develop and laser-like concentration over things that are interesting and meaningful to you. If the director would’ve made a more compelling film, you wouldn’t have these problems focusing on it. You’ve got a lot on you mind. If someone wants to capture your thoughts for two hours, they’d better put slap pretty compelling material up on the screen.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. First of all, I raced over because I initially read the title as “Is your attention to spam in need of attention?” … I went – oh wow – Vanessa has a follow-up post to mine!

    OK … so it wasn’t … Loved the cartoon, but I’m on Neil’s side with this one … and the video was awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yup, my wife does this too. She can remember some error I made nineteen or twenty years ago with absolute clarity though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the cartoon! That video is hilarious. Reminds me of this one, done by a guy who lives here in Maine.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1. How did you create the cartoon?
    2. The video is amazing!
    3. How did you create the cartoon? (Just in case you forgot the first time I asked).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That video is a really neat thing – a quite original idea! Thanks for posting it! But I must say, is there anything to psychoanalize in the fact that in your cartoon you made yourself a bunny rabbit (?) and made Neil a frog? Hee hee …
    Seriously, I have trouble following movie plots, too, but I think it’s because I may be getting hard of hearing. I have trouble understanding what the actors say, particularly women who talk too fast in high pitched voices.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hear you on this one, Vanessa. It’s not so much that my attention span is short; it’s more that I have a zillion other things on my mind. So in order for a movie to keep me grounded in its storyline, it has to be really good. Otherwise I start taking shiny detours like you.

    Loved the comic strip!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello? I’d like to place an order for pick up. One beef and broccoli with fried rice. And one orange chicken with white rice. … Hello?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Than comic strip is pretty much every conversation I have with my dad.

    And the video is kinda brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have the attention span of a gnat. Seriously a baby gnat. The video is almost freaky and I confess I checked my text messages twice watching it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Don’t you remember? Your already saw that movie!

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  13. Rather scary stuff V, hope you remember to turn electrical devices off. You’d better get some more smoke detectors to be on the safe side, but what if you forget what the noise means arrrrrgh. It just goes on and on and lists gets bigger and bigger on the fridge, be safe 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t worry, I didn’t say I was generally very forgetful, it’s just my attention span when it comes to following movie plots! I’m particularly good at double checking electrical devices are switched off, so you don’t need to worry there 🙂

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  14. The video clip was fantastic! Great concept! Also I love your comic strip. Did you draw those, they are very good!

    As far as forgetfulness, that’s me but not really because of attention span. I have a good attention span. Now Rick is more like Neil, he can remember verbatim dialogue from a movie he hasn’t seen in over ten years. A movie he only saw once. It truly amazes me as I am the one who has to ask the name of the character again and again.

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  15. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Watch the great video on Vanessa’s blog 👍😃

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s a great cartoon, Vanessa! I will definitely check out the link for making them. Great video, too! A clever idea well-played, and I loved the Star Trek fight scene in the middle. 😀

    I think our attention spans in general have gotten much smaller, at least in the “first world” societies, because we have so much open access to information and media, literally 24/7. I don’t know if it’s so much that we’re unable to concentrate on one thing for long periods of time, but we’re so accustomed to that bombarding stimulation, we’re constantly on the lookout for what’s coming next. One article I’d read posited that the human brain cannot actually multitask in the same moment, but we’ve conditioned ourselves to be able to switch our focus at such a rapid rate between different stimuli – we’re talking milliseconds – that it feels like we’re doing several things at once. Quick-cut entertainment certainly shares some of the blame for that. Though, one colleague of mine said that his students would not sit still to watch a 30-minute program…but they would sit still to watch 10 3-minute programs. If that isn’t indicative of the younger generation’s MTV attention span, I don’t know what is.

    Thanks for posting this! And, good luck with your NaNo!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes I do think that’s true about our attention spans reducing these days. Funnily enough, and I hadn’t made the connection till just now, a couple of days ago I was looking up on YouTube some clips from an old British TV prank show I used to like in the 80s, and when we were looking at them, I commented to Neil how much longer the footage was they showed on the show for each prank, like 8 minutes for a prank on just one person, compared to the prank shows my son loves to watch now where it’s bang bang bang, the same prank done lots of times to different people, each clip being really quick. We want instant gratification now or we’re done! Even though movies aren’t shorter now than they used to be, I bet there’s much more demand now for major things to happen quickly and regularly in them.

      Thanks Mayumi.

      Like

  17. With so much competing for my attention (and everyone else’s), it’s a wonder some days that I get anything done. And sometimes I look back on the day and realize I must have been on autopilot for so many chores!

    I have a doubly hard time with movies. With a book, you can easily stop reading if you’re not interested. But I find it harder to walk out of movies. So I tend to go to very few of them. Most trailers turn me off from the get go, too, so Hollywood is really not getting any money from me (or my husband).

    At least that’s one less thing vying for my attention…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do love going to the movies actually, I really like the whole experience, and I think I’m better at keeping with it when I’m in an actual theatre which I guess makes sense because it’s a darkened room with a huge screen and loud sound, so it’s working hard to keep my attention! If it’s not keeping my interest though it can be quite torturous can’t it, and seem to drag on and on. I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of a movie though. I’m a little concerned today actually – I’m taking the kids to see Spectre after school because they love Bond, and have been nagging to go and see it since it came out, I’m not really a huge Bond fan myself (ssshhh, don’t tell anyone), plus I’m quite sleepy as I’ve had a few nights of not sleeping too well this week, so I’m thinking I might be struggling to stay awake through it later!

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  18. Wow, you actually sit down to watch the movie in the first place. I’m impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Now that’s a man with vision and perseverance! What a neat idea. The closest I come to this is that I wrote a letter to Alex (my son) when he was born. The twist: I wrote to his 10-year-old self. Then, on his 10th birthday, we read it. I promptly wrote another to his 20-year-old self and have been doing the same each decade. It’s fun to have the letters and to see just hw bad I am at predicting his future!

    So I guess I have patience and an okay attention span for things that interest me. But if it’s something I don’t really care about…forgetaboutit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really great idea too Lorna! I bet that brings a few laughs. Yes that definitely shows some good attention span Lorna. I’m just too impatient, is impatience and lack of attention span the same thing? In some ways I think it is, or closely related anyway. Like sometimes when I’m ordering something online, I’ll pay more to have the quicker shipping, even if I don’t actually need it quicker, that’s just silly really isn’t it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s where you and I differ, V. If given the option for a later arrival date from Amazon AND a discount on my next ebook purchase, I’ll go for that–unless the thing I’m ordering is something I need right away. But I always order things well in advance of when I need them. I’m annoying, aren’t I? 😉

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  20. ‘Anyone else have this same trouble?’ – what?, needing to click on something to make it bigger?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. We writers don’t have great attention spans because we’re inside our (fascinating) heads, thinking up fascinating plots and conjuring up characters that keep our attention, you can betcha. Right? Right?
    (My 18-year-old self keeps talking to me, too – that always gets my attention…)

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Yes, I have a terribly short attention span. And it’s like roughwighting has said, I too think it’s the writer in us. Everything makes me think of how I can turn it into a story. It’s funny though, when I’m writing a story my attention span is ever so long. I hate to be interrupted, and I can keep track of all the characters and subplots and various settings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m not sure I can claim it’s the writer thing for me, I don’t have that kind writer’s mind that’s always thinking of stories, but I too can have a long attention span for certain things, can’t think what right now, but I’m pretty sure I do!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Yeah, I really liked the part where you…what was I talking about, now?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m really good at focusing, but I can’t have the tv on and someone talking. It drives me nuts. I found social media was really messing up my concentration, so I cut back and found my mind worked my better when I wasn’t online all the time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about the TV and someone talking, I definitely like quiet in order to concentrate. You know I think you’re right about social media, it sends your mind in so many different directions with all the different snippets of things going on, it’s no wonder we can have trouble focusing on one thing!

      Like

  25. What a cool comic strip, and what a cool video. You’re the home of cool, VJ!

    Like

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