Once upon a time there was a little shepherd who grew bored out in the fields while tending his flock. So, to spice up his life, he cried Wolf! and everyone in town came running. However, there was no wolf to be seen. Over the next two days, the little shepherd repeated his act twice more out of boredom. On the fourth day, while the shepherd was tending his flock a wolf showed up. Once again, he cried, Wolf! Only, this time, the town folk ignored him because they assumed he was lying again.
I thought of this story on my drive into work this morning and how it relates to technology in education and society. So many people seem to have the “drive-thru,” fast-food ideology anymore that seems to fit in with this story. When we announce to our readers that there is a concern, update, or new information, I often wonder how many people are actually pausing to listen to the message. We seem to hear everything, and listen to very little anymore. For example, I recently started a student technology-update blog for my campus. I send it out to the students about every 2-3 days with tidbits that they might find interesting or useful. The first one I sent out measured over 1300 hits, which is great on a campus of 2800 plus. However, the second entry only measured just over 300 hits, which is not so great.
Given that research shows that adults only absorb about seven chunks of information at any given time, and students have about a 7-10 minute attention span for information, I wonder how we are reaching the people we need to. I’m beginning to believe that we walk a fine line between communication and sensory overload when it comes to technology. I myself tend to subscribe to blogs or newsletters that I find interesting, only to mute those subscriptions after a short while. What do you think the appropriate time length is between each communication?