Posts Tagged ‘attention span’

Instant Appearance

15 March 2011


Dear J-

Just lately figgy has been chiming in after each shot taken and sometimes after certain picture storybook phrases that pique her interest: “Can I see can I see can I see?” Humans are by nature visual creatures and there’s no mystery in it really. Who doesn’t want to know just how that turned out? The moment frozen in an instant should last at least as long as you’re interested and the visual record may serve as an important goad for later recall of the mood or feelings. I know that I’ve spent time paging through old yearbooks when I thought no one else was paying attention, killing time with thoughts of time gone by courtesy of those old photographs.

But nowadays every digital camera can serve the Polaroid function without the shaking or packet of chemical goop. figgy takes instant review for granted and why not? Every camera she’s ever had the opportunity to experience has had the screen to show off you latest array of pixels shot, and the auto systens of today mean that it’s hard to screw up a photograph unless you’re really trying at it. The kids today aren’t going to know the agonizing wait of the fotomat (one whole hour!) or the embarassment of having a stranger handle your film and prints — I wonder if Robin Williams in One Hour Photo is as culturally irrelevant as the hula hoop and poodle skirts.

As we go forward we find that the technology that survives is the tech that makes things faster. There’s a browser on this phone that I neglect in favor of focused specific applications for Google Reader and Wikipedia, for instance. A revolution in transportation isn’t going to gain traction until you can show demonstrable time savings, but find a way and cars would go the way of film. And they worried that MTV would give our generation the attention span of SPAM. Sometimes I fear that the kids are never going to learn to delay gratification but we keep trying to take opportunities to counsel patience.