Is high-speed Internet access creating a society that has the collective attention span of a flea? Several News.com stories in the past have touched on this concern, such as "At Demo, it's speed dating for products" and "Internet users judge Web sites in less than a blink." Hurry up, get that information, moving right along... after all, everyone has places to go, people to see, projects to complete, etc.
What does this mean for your organization? For starters, you don't have much time to capture the attention of your customers. What's even more important is that once you've got their attention, there has to be some sort of plan in place to keep it! According to this recent news story, there's a tech conference in San Diego—O'Reilly's ETech Emerging Technology Conference—that concentrates on tackling this particular issue: "Techies ponder how to cut through info overload."
"Focusing on what the confab has labeled 'The Attention Economy,' speakers on Tuesday repeatedly called on Internet executives and technologists to figure out what it now takes to draw consumers' focus. Sounding a bit like academics, tech executives offered deep thoughts on—and new business approaches to—overstimulated consumers... There's even a name for the attention deficit disorder some fret the tech industry has created. 'Continuous partial attention,' as they're calling it, is an adaptive behavior pattern many consumers have adopted to cope with the need to multitask and boost productivity in the digital age."
Multitask... boost productivity... both of those are $$$ words on a resume, aren't they? In fact, being able to multitask and be productive are valued in just about every area of life, not just your occupation. So, how do you stop and smell the roses (or get sucked into someone's marketing plan) after such vigorous conditioning? I'd be extremely interested in hearing what kinds of ideas were presented at the O'Reilly's ETech Emerging Technology Conference. I have a vision of clowns juggling while riding unicycles, but I think public schools have already tried to capture kids' attention with that one (unsuccessfully, I might add).
How does your organization maintain customers attention in today's gadget-jammed, sensory-overloaded culture?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.