'I Dare You to Watch This Entire 3-Minute Video'

How short has the Internet made your attention span?

It’s an era of great attentional need. Tweets, texts, sexts, and open browser tabs: They clamor for our limited attention, and we flit from one to the other, never quite focusing on any of them. Or so the maker of this video insists.

He challenges viewers: Can you actually watch—can you pay attention—to a three-minute video?

You probably can’t.

He says: “I dare you to pay attention to a three-minute video.” Do it without GChatting, without Face-looking, without Insta-glancing.

You may find the man’s suit or manner a little too over-the-top. You might find his apocalyptic point a little naïve. (Way back in 1821, Percy Bysshe Shelley fretted about information overload.) I had all those thoughts too. Yet I found the video useful, compelling, and unwatchably watchable. It combines I-can’t-finish-this with I-can’t-look-away.

It’s also, to quote Jody Avirgan of WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, totally fantastic and unexpected.”

And—to paraphrase Avirgan again—it might even be art.

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Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

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