Media Analysis

Every day the world around us changes new inventions are being made, new discoveries, and the public is becoming more informed. As the world becomes more informed and more connected than ever before the attention span of the average person has dropped drastically. According to a Microsoft study the average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, but by the year 2013 it was reduced to only 8 seconds. Which is shorter than a goldfish whose attention span is believed to be around 9 seconds.{Hooton,2015} The noticeable element that caused this dramatic decrease in attention is the rise of technology especially the internet in the past 13 years.

Canadian Scientists in the year 2000 took 2,000 Canadian participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). “Canadians with more digital lifestyles (those who consume more media, are multi-screeners, social media enthusiasts, or earlier adopters of technology) struggle to focus in environments where prolonged attention is needed,” the study said, “While digital lifestyles decrease sustained attention overall, it’s only true in the long-term. Early adopters and heavy social media user’s front load their attention and have more intermittent bursts of high attention. They’re better at identifying what they want/don’t want to engage with and need less to process and commit things to memory.” {Hooton,2015}

When I mention the word attention I do not mean exposure to a media message that takes place in the attentional state; conscious awareness of the media message. {Potter, 2014}   I mean a concentration of the mind on a single object or thought {}

The internet and the development of technology like mobile phones has un-doubtfully changed the world for both better and for the worse. But whether we like it or not technology is here to stay and will continue to get more advanced. For instance, satellite telephones have made communication in even the most rural country accessible so in the wake of natural disasters they can call out and receive help. Other technology that has helped is online maps that automatically update and are more accurate and on the plus side you do not have to try and fold the map. IPhones have in some ways replaced computers you can play games, make calls, text, listen to music, take photos, and videos in the palm of your hand. You can now install an app on your phone and we have all done it gone way and cannot remember if you locked the door, turned off the lights, closed the garage door, or even turn heat or air on or off. You would simply pull up the app on your smart phone and tell it what to do. Maybe the most important technological invention that has developed is online streaming services like Netflix. But not all of the advances have been a good thing the ability to hack has increased, lack of privacy has been a growing concern, information breaches have started to become a common occurrence, and binge watching a show on Netflix  for days straight instead of doing work has become a widely accepted activity in today’s society.

Only a few years ago mobile technology was in its innovation stage touch screens started being introduced but did not work well, you could access the internet but it was slow and cost a fortune, had very few games, did not have a camera, and had black and white screens. It was not until 2007 until the first IPhone was released which changed the cell phone game. The iPhone had an operating system, a touch screen that worked well, and you could have apps.(Evolution of Mobile Phones) With our technology becoming more advanced and smarter we are selves have not we rely on our devices more and more as the days go on. Earlier this year in my Emergent media class our professor had us make a media log of all the media we used over a three day time, how long we used it, and why we used it. This assignment made me realize that I used my technology way more often than I thought I did. I found that most of the time I did not take notice that I picked up my phone while I was doing school work or stopped studying or writing papers and found myself  scrolling through Buzzfeed or watching a 20min long video on Youtube.

When this study first took place in the year 2000 the world did not have as advanced technology. For example there were only 413,425,190 internet users in 2000, in the entire world. While in the year 2014 there were 2,925,249,355.As of July 1st, 2014 the largest consumers` of internet is not the Americas. The leader in internet consumption was Asia taking up a total of 48.4%. The Americas both North and Southcame in second place using 21.8%. Europe came in third place with 19%, fourth place was Africa at 9.8%, and in last place was Oceania with 0.9%.{internet users} Also the internet in the early 2000’s  there were dial up modems which lets all be honest we never want to go back to.  Dial up was where your internet was connected to .your land line and you could not operate both at once so it caused a lot of family argument. Also dial up had a terrible screeching sound that it made while it was trying to make a connection that we all put up with to have internet I will put the link here so you can reminisce.   {The sound of Dial-up Internet}



Social networking is described as platforms for  individuals and businesses to create an identity on the Internet and provide information to friends and the public about themselves. {Potter, 2014}  Social media sites like Facebook, and twitter are the most commonly used and the most commonly complained about normally just about what people post. But it is hard to focus on one thing when your phone is constantly vibrating with twitter, Facebook, text, calls, snapchat, Instagram, and email notifications. Each vibration is like the little app is yelling out like in the

By John Atkinson

picture and usually when you pick up your phone to look at what message you got you lose the battle you will no longer focus on what you need to. Even if you do manage to ignore the vibration you still get stuck with thoughts of “who’s calling me what if it’s important?” I wonder if anyone responded to my text message I sent 5 minutes ago.” Social media has affected our attention with word limits most websites have word limits of less than 300 words. Twitter has character limit of 140,Facebook’s character limit for statuses are less than 70, and even the standard text still has a
character limit of 160. Because of this we as a society now get our information is small little easy to understand bites while in the last few decades you had to read the page long story in the newspaper, watch the evening news for that one three minute topic you wanted to hear about. And honestly most people like how fast they can get that information now but that could be the reason why our attention span is dropping.

Our dependency on technology has even gotten so bad that most of us suffer from Phantom Vibration Syndrome. Which means that you feel a “phantom vibration” where you think that your phone has vibrated and it hasn’t. Technology, regular cell phone usage, and constant access have rewired the brains of most individuals in today’s society.(Plumridge,2013)This has an effect on attention because I have had this happen I’m sitting in a class trying to pay attention and my phone is in my pocket. I swear I feel my phone go off I start having distracting thoughts about who is texting me and why then I finally get to check my phone at the end of the class and nothing is there a black screen no notifications. Although, we learned in our Emergent Media class people do not want to believe that media affects them people want to believe that they are independent thinkers that they do not want to think that media changes them in belief, behavioral, attitudes, and emotional ways. So even though most people have suffered from this at least once they won’t want to believe that media has rewired there brain because that means they are not as independent as they believe they are.

It is very clear that the reason there has been this huge decline in attention span is technology more specifically cell phones. Technology itself is distracting as I’m writing this I keep getting distracted by the TV. When you think about it technology is a lot like this photo with the man

media from: 

sitting at the desk and all the objects trying to get your attention the same is with cell phones just with notifications. We as humans cannot pay attention to everything and in my opinion we will always put our attention on something we like for instance our cell phones rather than that essay we need to be writing.



Citation Page

Dictionary. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from


Evolution of Mobile Phones: 1995 – 2012. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from


Hooton, C. (2015, May 13). Our attention span is now less than that of a goldfish, Microsoft study finds. Retrieved from


Internet Users. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from


Plumridge, N. (2013, August 1). Is the internet destroying our attention span? – Psychminds Everyday Psychological Discussions. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from


Potter, W. (2014). Glossary. In Media literacy (Seventh ed., pp. G-1,G-11). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.


Rosen, L. (2012, April 9). Attention Alert: A Study on Distraction Reveals Some Surprises. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from


The Sound of dial-up Internet [Motion picture]. (2008). Youtube.




What is Phantom Vibration Syndrome? (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from


Social Media image by John Atkinson

Man At desk Image from:


One thought on “Media Analysis

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