With the democratization and increasing portability of information, people’s attention span and capacity for reading has dimished at an astonishing rate. I must admit that I am one of those who suffer from this affliction.
In the past, we used to be able to plough through thick tomes of knowledge, fantasy, religion and whatever else captures our fancy. I could dawdle for hours and hours in libraries, picking up one book after another and devouring it with relish. I especially loved reading encyclopedias, and occasionally, I could read from cover to cover.
Not any more it seems. With the lure of easy information on the web, and the quick availability of bite-sized information on blogs, book summaries, wikipedia, and the like, I have become a scanner rather than a delver. Information now gets delivered to my cranium in small, often miniscule bite-sized pieces, instead of elaborate and complex frameworks.
I believe that I am not alone in this. Many have remarked that youths and teens nowadays tend to multi-task and acquire information from varied sources rather than a singular one. They do not have the stamina or patience to sit in one spot and read line after line. Short cuts, acronyms and abbreviated words seem to be the order of the day.
I came across this post from marketing guru Seth Godin about service on an airline. Thought it was interesting enough to share.
Joel Spolsky shares this great story from a flight attendant:
Alright, I am gonna dote on my company for a few minutes. As most everyone on here is probably familiar with, last night was a nightmare for people travelling to and from the Northeast. We currently have 5 flights a day from CMH, 4 to/from JFK and 1 to/from BOS. Last night, out of CMH alone, Delta cancelled 3 flights, American cancelled 2, and Continental cancelled 1 and those are just flights that I know of. After we found out that our flight was delayed until 2223, the captain and the rest of us station employees decided to pool our money and we purchased pizza for all passengers on board our aircraft. Since the pizza place wouldn’t deliver to the airport, one of our crewmembers volunteered to go pick it up. Once the pizza was brought back, the passengers were boarded, our live tv and xm were turned on and the pizza was served by ALL the crew, not just the flight attendants. The Captain, FO and other airport crewmembers went above and beyond. Granted I may be a little biased, but I was glad to be here last night. The feeling of seeing that plane take off and those people get to where they are going, even if they were late was pretty darn good. Not too many other airlines that I know of will do that for their customers.
It’s not just “not too many other airlines…”, it’s, “not too many employees.” Wanna bet she had more fun than most flight attendants that day?
I wonder if we will ever encounter this in Singapore? It would be great to have char kway teow or chicken rice delivered to us on a delayed flight!