Monday, May 16, 2005

The 5 Lane Freeway Mind

This post comes to us courtesy of Andrew Jone's blog, Tall Skinny Kiwi. (Andrew is a very cool, very tall dude with a great accent who travels the world with his family blowing on the embers of the fire we call "the emerging church". I first met Andrew at a 1997 North American Mission Board gathering of GenX pastors - back when it was still cool to say GenX, before "pomo" and "emergent" became the buzzwords - in Atlanta, GA. The NAMB offices there are VERY nice... I can remember standing in the bathroom with Andrew & a couple of others guys speculating how long we could run our ministries if we could rip the paneling off the walls & resell it.)

Current research has reinforced something i was teaching 7 years ago. Back in 1998, I used the concept of a 5 lane freeway to explain the new mindset. Children's minds, I argued, are not a single track country road, but a “5 lane freeway”, geared up for multi-tasking and learning from the relationships between the media in those 5 lanes at the same time. The problem is not that their attention span is short, but rather than their attention span is broad. This is why they are bored with single media presentations.

Well, fast forward to 2005, and the people from Disney have paid for some
research that came up with a 5.4 number, slightly more than my number . . . but who's counting?

“Raised on more ”passive“ media, including TV, newspapers, radio and billboards, adults are content with linear entertainment experiences that unfold in a traditional story-like way. They are more patient (read: willing to wait in line) and, Lindstrom says, can cope with only about 1.7 channels of communication at once. Children, by contrast, can simultaneously master 5.4 channels of communication (including surfing the Internet, text messaging and talking on the phone). They yearn for entertainment that is frenetic, multi-sensory and interactive."

So what does this mean for your average evangelical worship service? Or, to bring my hobby into the discussion, for the design of a board game?

1 comment:

Scott said...

What I wonder is, how do we teach ourselves to "be still, and know that He is God" when our minds are frenetic from not getting 1.7 or 5.4 channels of communication at that moment?