Multimedia And Our Short Attention Spans

Multimedia And Our Short Attention Spans

Would you lug your desktop or laptop computer with you wherever you go? What about your home video game system, your stereo and your entire CD collection? Would you also take all your photo albums with you wherever you are?

Probably not, as it wouldn’t really make sense to do so. It would also be a major inconvenience and just plain troublesome. There are many people, though, who simply, either by necessity or by choice, feel the need to be connected to everything and everyone at all times. Or maybe, some of us have such a short attention span that we simply can not focus on something without the pull of music or video games to lure us away from whatever we are supposed to be focused on.

There are devices which, depending on your viewpoint, either prey upon our 24 hour need to be entertained, or merely feeds an appetite shared by many. The iPod Video can play music, videos, and show and display pictures. The Playstation Portable can play video games, as well as music, movies and more. Cellular phones do much more than and and receive calls – they are complete media centers in and of themselves. Today’s technology, in one sense, is far greater than the sum of its parts.

But, do we really need to have every form of entertainment with us everywhere we go, all the time? If items such as the iPod or the PSP were never developed, would society then, fret over the fact that we can’t watch our favorite movie on a 2” screen while riding the bus? Or would we just not even think about it, since the capability and accessibility to do so would have never been developed?

Maybe, because we are able to bring literally thousands of songs with us wherever we go, and always access the internet from our cell phones, that now we are addicted to convenience. We need to be able to surf, listen, burn, upload and download while waiting in line to see a movie. We have to spend our time between commercials text messaging friends from our cell phones, lest we have a free moment to do…nothing.

There is always a great hue and cry about whether or not children are over stimulated when it comes to extra curricular activities like soccer, swimming and piano. But what about when it comes to media exposure? Better yet still, what about teenagers and adults when it comes to the accessibility of entertainment? Is the new normal text messaging your friend for the time to meet up when before, you would pick up the phone and call or actually visit the friend?

When email first came out, it was hailed as the breakthrough that would free people from their desks. Now, people are frantic about checking email all the time. With the iPod, it was the ability to bring your music with you at all times. Now, music isn’t good enough, so you need video games, movies, pictures and more. If the ability for all this technology to do so much only results in asking for more and more, then is it really good for us in the first place?