Appearing in this week’s New York Times Magazine is an article that takes an opposing view to the widespread notion that our generation’s attention spans are decreasing as our tie to technology is increasing. The author rejects the premise that attention spans can be altered by technology, arguing instead that we are each individually absorbed or bored with whichever activities are naturally appealing or unappealing. Another key point supposes that having a long intense attention span isn’t necessarily a benefit at all, and that possessing the ability to multi-task carries its own unique advantages. In the end, the author argues that an “attention span” is a figment of our modern imagination. The underlying concept here is that content and form function together as the driving force of attention. Even if we take attention span to be a myth, attention itself is very real. I think this applies to digital history in that we must make history in such a way as to attract the attention of as many people as possible from within our chosen audience. I think the central idea is to make history that is engaging, accessible, and visually attractive on the screen.
(Week 13 entry)