I just posted this on Reddit:
I think a lower attention span is good. Schools and government, ignore the following:
Humankind has had several “ages”. Stone age, bronze age, industrial age, etc.
The internet made spreading information cheaper and faster, so we were thrust very quickly into the information age.
The difference between the information age and the others is how fast it developed. There was no time to make all the information “good”. That is, usable, beneficial, and valuable. Think about all those thousands of email forwards you used to (and probably still do) receive. Wasted time.
Since we grew accustomed to digesting mostly worthless information, we also trained ourselves to quickly recognize wasted time. And as a result, we have what some could call a low attention span… as if it’s a mental disorder.
The disorder is actually in the presentation of information itself. Since there’s so much of it, there’s a natural need for organization and sorting by value. That’s why Reddit does so much good – to allow for the very best informationto float to the top. It creates a system that makes information efficient.
tl;dr So Reddit isn’t just decreasing our attention span; it’s forcing information to be presented more efficiently.
Oh, and schools and government – on second thought, please do read this. The students and citizens aren’t broken because they don’t pay much attention – it’s the delivery of information that needs to grow to keep up with us.