Too often, we talk about how the consumer mindset is changing. Naturally, the movement to the digital landscape provides a clear example. The way consumers interact with ads, how they consume content, how social media has taken over traditional forms of communication, and more. Not often enough do we look internally at how these very same trends are impacting our meetings, the way we collaborate, our decision making, and our progress.
As we look deeper into that one mega trend of digital emergence, we can notice larger impacts on how it’s jolted human behavior. It’s changed the way we communicate, the way we exchange ideas, and, more significantly for products, brands, and marketers, it has altered our attention. Here’s a look at a few changes:
Multi-tasking attentions. Technology is a gift and an opportunity. We can do more because of technology. Plain and simple. Yet, we sometimes try to do too much…all at once. A study by Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University–Dominguez Hills —Rosen’s study, published in the May issue of Computers in Human Behavior — sheds light on how this is impacting the younger generation. Here are some highlights…
- Students studied less than 6 min before switching to technological distractor.
- Those who preferred to task-switch had more distractors and were more off-task.
- Those who accessed Facebook while studying had lower grade point averages.
Grabbing attention. This has become more difficult than ever. With the proliferation of digital content, everyone is competing for attention. This has led to more compelling headlines and over-dramatizations (since when did the weather man use the phrase “polar vortex?”). They grab our attention. True. But at a point we become desensitized, and our attention is less likely to be alerted by something of that same scale. It needs more shock. It needs more relevancy.
Shortened attention span. It’s theorized that our attention span online has shrunk to 2.8 seconds. Just enough time to read a 140 character tweet. Here’s and example: According to a study by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute (find the full report here) roughly six in 10 people acknowledge that they have done nothing more than read news headlines in the past week.
My goal is not for us to abandon our technology. This is merely one example of how our world is changing today. And we are being naive if we don’t believe it affects us and our co-workers as well. Products must excite. Marketers must tell compelling stories. Leaders must inspire. To do this, you must stay abreast of the changes and constantly look at how we, as society, are evolving.