The Attention Span of Social Media

Social media is a great way to spread ideas and reach and influence people who might be uninformed. Although the increase in speed at which information can be disseminated has been very helpful, it doesn’t come without a cost, shortened attention spans.  Shortened attention spans mean that people might read a post or comment, but they won’t care about it for very long.

The data from this study, originally published in March of 2013, is a bit old now, considering how quickly social media changes.  Much like how scientists calculate how long it takes a value to reach half of its original value, it is possible to see how quickly social media content reaches half of its value.


According to the graphic shown above, which is courtesy of Elliot Burfurd, YouTube comments have the longest lifespan of the major social media platforms at a surprising 7.4 hours, while Twitter has the shortest life span at only 18 minutes.

I’m sure an updated study would show that the numbers would be much lower now. Especially the numbers regarding YouTube. Granted, the article does state that the information regarding YouTube could be misleading because content on YouTube is easily accessible no matter how old or new the content is.

With each new platform of social media, the users attention span shrinks just a little more, hopefully we as a society never reach the point where regulate our attention spans to only 140 characters.

By Chase Burgess


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