I believe that, in general, the attention span of most technologically enabled people is getting shorter by the day. In addition the increased number of content channels and communication associated with the web leads people to become more biased.
I have not done any research, so I may be wrong on those ideas, but this is what leads me to say that:
- Automated spam (email, blog comments, direct mail associated with registering for a trademark, etc) which may even look relevant forces you to judge things quicker.
- Search makes it easier to get "good enough" answers quickly.
- The web (and search) let you self select social groups with predefined similarities.
- There is a far greater number of news channels than there were just a few years ago.
- We tend to consume media that fullfills or reinforces our predefined worldview.
- RSS (and devices like Tivo) make it easy to consume media how and when you want to.
- Sites like YouTube make it easy to embed other's content within your site.
- Google Video now allows you to link to an exact second of a video in their collection.
- My shorter and more straightforward posts usually get more comments and more quality editorial links. I also notice many of the Digg homepage and Del.icio.us popular URLs are short and straightforward articles titled things like "10 ways to x".
- The increased number of social aggregation sites is making it easier for people to see what ideas spread, how they spread, and why they spread in near real time.
- My biased and/or controversial posts usually get more comments and more quality editorial links. (And thus are more easily found and locked into more self reinforcing positions.) Can you name a popular political blog that is not highly biased?
- As the amount of information on the web increases and search engines trust old content until new content proves its value the new content is forced to be of a higher quality than the old content to gain exposure. Being of higher quality generally means being more citation worthy. Which frequently means being more controversial.
If you have been on the web for a while have you found it easier or harder to meet people off the web that are outside your realm of trade? Have your media consumption habits become more or less biased since you started interacting on the web?
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