We sit at a fascinating point in history. On any given day, my very scattered Rolodex of a brain can round-off the Cole’s notes of a number of recent events; breaking news headlines in addition to a relatively impressive peppering of celebrity gossip, and discount codes ripe for the taking. The planet is dying, the world is politically corrupt, and it seems we’re just along for the ride, so keep up or get left behind. Right?

If we’re to take the shortly lived attention, allotted to something as arbitrary as our momentary stint with World War Three speculations, within seconds, what should have logically evoked sentiments of fear or at the least a relative degree of concern, instead triggered a rat race. Meme accounts see the topic of the day and cash in on this prime real estate to yield that day’s most virally mocked content. Our response? Logically a mass DM, a repost to the Instagram story and a double-tap just to stay in tune and on task.

Would you look at that, five hours of screen time already. Our feeds are constantly saturated with easily digestible, non-threatening and easily clickable content to be perused that more often than not, keeps us as the incessant consumers of content, up to date and on-trend with the most socially relevant cause to publicize our deepest condolences and solidarity with. The world’s biggest problems are fine-tuned to be served up as compressed, snack-sized versions of their original selves, all to be sandwiched in between a few Bon Appetit updates and the throwback to Exchange post that the person (who you shared a floor with for eight months) is just dying to mix into your feed. The very way we’ve grown to operate when it comes to the world we live in has evolved to counterintuitively fuel the shortest attention spans, and the highest degrees of desensitization to the world and the many issues it houses.

For a generation that’s widely regarded as disconnected, we manage to keep up relatively well. With much thanks to the unrelenting and unavoidable need to blossom into the changemakers preceding generations have so graciously requested of us, can we blame ourselves for checking out and making light of the chaos that ensues daily?. Thirty- two mass shootings in the US since the new year, forty- four dead, one hundred and twenty- two –– oh wait, a Tasty video? Next, next, scroll, click. Sorry, where was I? Oh right, our decreasing attention span and hankering for quicker, witty content to be curated and streamlined into the palm of our hands. The lines between pop culture and real-world news have come to be so intensely blurred for the sake of pure convenience, and an attempt at maintaining functional levels of sanity. As a generation that’s already widely referred to as easily triggered, disproportionately mentally ill and seemingly disconnected, it’s most logically in our best interest to tune out the noise. Platforms are adapting, generating news sources like The Gist to give us the bare basics of what we absolutely need to know.

This piece was written by Lauchland Lee for issue XX, check it out here

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