Since last class, I have really been thinking about how we are a visual based generation. Almost everything we do is through visuals, such as social media, television, everything on the internet, and even speeches/presentations. There always seem to be pictures or videos involved. One of the first programs I learned how to use was power point which incorporated text with pictures and videos. I was taught visuals were necessary in order to give an effective presentation, because you are incorporating more than one sense-auditory and visual senses. The more senses you could connect to your presentation, the better your audience would remember it. However, is your audience really remembering anything at all since it is all written down and spelled out for them perfectly? I somewhat feel that if the auditory sense was the only target, the audience would work harder to process what was being addressed. Since we have been so spoiled by unlimited graphics and visuals, our attention spans have suffered greatly. I also think our imaginations have suffered, because the pictures are already laid out for us.
According to Neil Postman, as technology increases, our attention span decreases. In chapter 4 of Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman talks about how in 1858, Lincoln and Douglas had debates lasting up to 7 hours (45). Audiences would simply sit, listen, and encourage the speakers for hours on end. I can barely sit through a 75 minute lecture without wanting to get on my phone, tablet, or computer. Postman even addresses the question of, "Is there any audience of Americans today who could endure seven hours of talk?" (45). I am going to go ahead and say probably not.
This also raises the question of are we less capable of breaking down complicated sentences? Do we need visual aids in order to understand concepts effectively? And since so much emphasis was placed on speaking then with it being the primary discourse, are our political speakers less eloquent now? It seems majority of our political leaders read speeches that were written for them from a teleprompter and often get flustered during debates (possibly because they have to come up with their thoughts on their own). Does attention span reflect intelligence or rather our preferred form of discourse?