I seem to have developed the attention span of a gnat. I never used to be this way. I used to be able to spend hours reading a book, pass days considering a painting or fritter away entire nights talking to my friends about politics, art and science. I don’t do this anymore, and I miss it.
I worried it was me, that with advancing years my mental acuity was on the wane. An introspective afternoon has given me the answer: I am interrupted too much.
It occurred to me over a recent weekend, where I’d spent a pleasurable day celebrating the day of my birth and gaping into the ever-nearing maw of death and oblivion. Do you know how many happy birthday messages I received from brands? I lost count at 10—and interest after the first cynical attempt to engage me.
I realised that I resented the amount of uninvited noise imposed on me, and I promptly turned off my phones, tablet, landline, laptop and TV. I listened attentively to both vinyl sides of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and took pleasure to pause and appreciate a fine piece of music.
A subsequent holiday in rural France, sans technology, reinforced this feeling of being overwhelmed.
Is it that modern life is rubbish, or just that we are hammered with incessant crap? I think it is the latter. In fact, Mies van de Rohe was entirely correct: Less is definitely more.
The best clients—the wise ones—appreciate that fewer and better communication is the route to engagement and retention. Make it good and make it timely. Thus, the question we need to ask is: Just because you can, should you?
Adam Proops is the business development director at gyro London.
Follow him @adamproops and @gyrolondonloves