Tweets get more press, Youtube clips boast a better market cap, blog rants have nostalgia working in their favor — but is there any mode of expression more suited to the web than the before-and-after photo? TakeTwo, a new iPhone app, allows aficionados of the form to use their “before” photos as visual overlays when composing their follow-ups — thus ensuring close matches of perspective and other pictorial variables in shots that may end up being taken months or years apart.

 

It’s a useful tool, but the truth is the before-and-after photo has been ready for the current era of ruthlessly short attention spans and hyper-efficient communication strategies for well over 100 years now. In an 1897 edition of the Denver Medical Times, a contributor notes how well the “before and after photographs” in… More…

 

People find a great deal of satisfaction worrying about attention span, at least for a little while, and especially in the realm of popular culture. Twitter is the latest culprit. It’s recent importance in organizing Iranian street protests notwithstanding, the 140 character posting limit on Twitter makes a certain kind of person nervous. Such persons (such as Baroness Susan Greenfield, a scientist at Oxford University) wonder whether tweeting and other such activities “encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centered.” She goes on to say, “My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and live for the moment.”

Unfair to the inherent joys of buzzing noises and bright lights, the statement is particularly galling… More…