We’ve all seen the words that accompany clickbait articles on our social media feed.it.
The words that tell us how much of our precious time will be spent reading the article, if we click. At first I didn’t think much of it. When they started appearing, it was something I barely noticed to be honest. Then i started to see it more and more often.
Two Minute Read.
Four Minute Read.
Three. Five. One. Seven.
Have we really become so busy, so lacking in time and energy, that we aren’t willing to commit to something that grabs our interest unless we have a promise of how much of our time we will need to invest in it before we even start? Are we really at the point where we have to choose so carefully how we ration out our energy and time?
When did we become so habituated to living frenetic, rushed lives that we can’t even click on an article without being able to decide whether it’s worth our time based on how much of that time it will take? When did this pace of exhaustion and burnout become normal? How have we evolved to a culture that makes us feel like we are not doing enough until we are doing too much?
How many of us will admit to half-reading the article while looking at the page to find where the end is? Mentally and intellectually moving on to the next attention needing task before we are done with the one we should be focusing on; the one right in front of us. What happens is that each thing that is in our field of vision, either literally or metaphorically, ends up being short-changed. Whether it’s the fluffy article, the science journal or the partner sitting next to us as we nod and don’t really listen to the conversation.
Maybe the most important question though isn’t thew how or why are we like this, but rather, why are so many of us okay with it?
The answer that gets bantered about is that we just simply don’t have the disposable time and energy anymore to “waste” it. That our energy and time is so stretched to the limit that we have to be acutely conscious of how we spend it. Every single minute of it. It’s a simple explanation and one that makes sense. It’s also an explanation that begs the question of why are we not more concerned with trying to change that than we are with how long that article will take us to skim through.