Shelf Life and Attention Span on the Web

They are both getting shorter every day.

Did my best this weekend to catch up with my inbox. Still a ways to go; if I haven’t answered a message from you yet, thank you thank you thank you for your patience and understanding. There’s this thing called work (which I still do love, can’t help it) which has this nagging way of interrupting me.

One of the things I noticed was this flurry of new LinkedIn connections and MyBlogLog connections that came in over my Ho‘omaha (my December-January hiatus). Since I’d been offline (and for sanity’s sake marked everything in BlogLines as already read) they were completely out of context for me; what was the hoopla I missed? A whole bunch of ‘em in the span of about nine days, and then they just stopped. Have they fallen out of favor already?

What’s really interesting to me, is that lurkers who will never leave a comment on any of my blog posts then show up with invitations to connect with them in LinkedIn and MyBlogLog (just two examples). They openly post their pictures too, but without the conversation I’m afraid it doesn’t help me much; I will meet and begin to recognize you in your comment conversation or via email, and when there’s a real name versus some cyber alias. I truly don’t mean to be rude by not answering you, but I’d like to get to know you first” but maybe you’re already on to something else.

Wonder what’s coming up next. The abundance of open source toys on the internet goes to prove that even free loses its shelf appeal at some point, and the time it takes to reach that point gets shorter and shorter.

But not conversation. Conversation lasts longer, both in memory and in heart. Conversation comes with aloha. What do you say; let’s talk story to make the toys more meaningful.


  1. says

    Rosa, conversation is food for the self, without it we would stop growing.
    Thinking back on what might have created the flurry of activity, the z-list came out while you were on Ho’omaha. That could have triggered the action.

  2. says

    Well said, Rosa. When we lose sight of the fact that business, activity, goals, family, achievment, everything is about and for PEOPLE – we lose our very souls.

  3. says

    I’ve noticed this as well, especially in MyBlogLog. I think that Steve is right, that the Z-List buzz had a lot to do with it but I’ve also noticed that unless the new web 2.0 communities make it big (Digg for example) as time passes people’s attention moves on to the next new community that pops up. Maybe its the instant gratification of seeing the connections come in, regardless of where they come from?

  4. says

    I guess we all can succumb to this quantity versus quality gratification with blogging stats and such, can’t we. Click, click, click” the ease of our increasing online wizardry does make playing for the sake of simply playing irresistible :-) All in good fun I suppose. Web candy.
    You make a good point though Tim when looking at it from the creator’s stand point; it is increasingly hard to keep everyone’s attention as the options continually increase.

  5. says

    Quantity can help to bring in the quality because that is really what we are all looking for, good conversations.
    There was a good line that arose from to the US Womens soccer team’s win in the 1998 World Cup. You may recall the famous or infamous shot of Brandy Chastain twirling her shirt in celebration? “They come for the Brandy and stay for the Hamm”, refering to another player (Mia Hamm) who helped to make the team so special.
    We could redo that line to say “They come because it’s in, but stay because they’re in it”.

  6. says

    Mmmm …Great insight Steve.
    There was a similar line that we often used at the Hualalai Resort to remind our staff what a difference they made to our customers, for we were looking for conversion from hotel guest to resort resident; A well known (and greatly loved) resident there has explained, “We came for Hawaii’s beauty, but we stay for the people.”

  7. says

    You’ve made some good points here! I have been feeling quite overwhelmed by the information overload I’ve been experiencing lately! I can’t seem to keep up with all these different ways that we can connect, but in the end I do feel that it is quality, and not quantity, that counts. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. says

    Aloha Maria, we hear you! There is a small bit of comfort in the saying that we’re all in this together, and empathy is becoming quite plentiful too!