Media For The ADD Generation

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I was diagnosed with ADD as a child. My mom didn’t notice a difference in my behavior after I received the medication so she stopped giving it to me. I always wondered if I was still ADD and how it affects my behavior.

Nowadays, everyone’s ADD. Everyone’s OCD. Everyone’s got Asperger’s. I’ve never really noticed any particular behavior that I could identify with an attention deficit except for one one particular thing: I hate long things.

I only give a new song on Pandora ten seconds of my time before I switch to the next one. If I don’t want to continue listening to a song after ten seconds, most likely I wouldn’t want to listen to it at all. (So many songs have 30+ second intros it’s ridiculous. Don’t even get me started on songs with skits.) Even the length of the song is important to me, I genuinely believe that there is rarely ever a reason for a song to be longer than three and a half minutes. (I prefer my songs to be under 3 minutes.)

I read a lot of blogs. I read blogs by skimming the headlines. If a headline is interesting, I’ll check out the article. Sometimes I’ll find an article that is really interesting but it’s just too damn long. We’re talking two to three thousand words. After 500 – 750 words, I’m,”Cool story, bro.” and onto the next one.

Everyone loves movies. I don’t. I like ’em. They’re a nice format for visual storytelling, but again, they’re just too long. I’ll take a TV show that I can start and stop with no problem any day over a movie.

 I wonder if I am unique or if this is specific to my generation. But, really, there seems to be cultural corollaries. How long are Snapchat, Instagram and Vine videos? Short. So it is specific to this generation, but why?

I think it’s because we feel overwhelmed with this need to do something. To be something. To create something. Long media play lengths make it quite clear that we are passively consuming something rather than creating. If I watched an hour’s worth of World Star Hip Hop’s Instagram videos and watched one movie, what seems more productive? The depth of the experience is different too. I engaged in only one activity instead of seemingly dozens. It’s an illusion but a wonderful illusion that my generation likes to believe in.

Just like the Baby Boomers needed to believe that they were special, we need to believe that we are creating something meaningful. Our existence is no less self absorbed than our parents and grandparents but we hope to leave something behind that will outlive us or, at the very least, be bigger than us.

Whether it be a song, a novel, a tweet, a blog article, or just a selfie, we strive to express ourselves because, ultimately, creativity is our generation’s only path to greatness.