The trend of the quick read — do readers crave more content?

Danny Stone
6 min readFeb 17, 2022

True or false? Humans have a lesser attention span than a goldfish.

The media has popularised this as truth. But this is snakeskin oil, traded as a scare-tactic in the face of rising social media and internet use. Much like the advent of printed books or radio, any innovation that newly captures our attention in an all-engrossing way is considered a distraction.

There is no hard, scientific proof of the goldfish theory. Our attention spans are intact, at least physiologically. Experts reassure that our brains simply need training, or re-training, in the art of concentration. We haven’t evolved to lose focus easily. We’re just out of practice.

If this is the case, and keen attention spans are well within our reach, why does the media — both traditional and social — push the trend of the quick read?

The Quick Read

A recent addition to online articles is a footnote on expected reading duration. ’10 minute read’, ‘5 minute read’, ‘1 minute read’, mostly erring on the quicker side. An article whose content is itself a footnote in our busy lives, glanced at briefly on commutes, while watching television, or while whipping up dinner.

Consider, too, the popularity of listicles, pedalled by outlets such as…



Danny Stone

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