I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it: the problem isn’t the distracted mind or waning attention spans. Rather, "free time" itself has changed. The average Joe Workhorse has the same amount of spare time as he had in the 1950s. Now, though, in this modern era when work follows us home nightly, leisure time is staggered throughout the waking hours, in fits and starts, crammed between classes or meetings. New technologies—digital video recorders, streaming Netflix, Kindles, and Instapaper—give Joe the option of negotiating media in his own time.
There isn’t time enough, for instance, to listen to an LP directly though; Joe only downloads the hit tracks he already knows he wants. He can’t be home from work in time for Hell’s Kitchen, he knows, so he’ll single out the missed episode later on Hulu.
Attention spans? People focus their energies now more than ever, committing to long novels, longer games, and serialized TV (see also ‘Everything Bad Is Good for You’).