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More On Joost

JoostI continue checking in on the Joost beta from time to time.  As I noted earlier, bandwidth and reliability issues still exist, but that's exactly what you'd expect from a beta like this.  After watching a few different sample videos on Joost, however, I'm discovering one critical fact about my online video viewing habits: I lose interest after about 3 minutes.

There are quite a few lengthier videos available on Joost.  Some of the more interesting ones are the National Geographic shows that provide an insider's view of The White House and Air Force One.  They're well-produced and very fascinating...but too long for online viewing.  What is it about my attention span that causes it to shrink when I'm in front of a computer?  I'd probably have no problem watching those same videos in their entirety on my TV, but I can't watch them all the way through on my computer.

I keep thinking, "I wonder if there's a new message in my Gmail in-box...maybe I should check."  Or, "what's the score of the Yankees game...I should click on that tab in Firefox to see."  I guess Jerry Seinfeld was right when he said that "guys don't care what's on TV...they just want to know what else is on TV."  That problems seems to be even worse when applied to online video.

I'm guessing I'm not in the minority on this and despite the convenience of online viewing, the more popular videos will be the shorter ones.


Joel Fugazzotto

I think it's less about your attention span shrinking and more the fact you have choices when in front of the computer. The only interactivity the television offers is changing channels and adjusting the volume (though I hear the tint slider is a favorite of our friend Cecil), while the content is limited to what channels you receive. The computer on the other hand, has limitless content, you have control to follow the content that interests you at the moment, you can interact with the content to customize it to your needs, and you can even communicate with other audience members. So to me it's less about attention span and more about no longer being confined to the limitations of the passive TV and more about actively exploring and learning through the web. So I think you are right, Joe. The video that get the message across in the shortest time are most popular, since the control of the content is in the user's hands.

Joe Wikert

Hey Joel, I think you've hit the nail on the head. It's the difference between the "lean back" model for watching TV and the "lean forward" one for anything on a computer.

James Howlin

I have noticed that my attention span is shorter when viewing content on a computer, but I work around that by having multiple (three at the moment) screens on my desk. This way I can watch a video, have my emails open, and be doing something else, without having to choose one thing to focus on exclusively.

shel israel

You make a good point and I think three minutes is about my limit as well. But I suspect we are showing our age, and that it is our habit to do business and not be passive when we are in front of our computer screens.

I don't think the three-minute warning alarm goes off on young people, who use computers for communications and recreation. And as you know, they will be in front of the screen a lot longer than you or me.

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