Yes, we have so much information thrown at us, that our attention is limited. Now, this seems like a terrible thing, most notably for advertising. But as an advertising creative, I think attention economy challenges us on that level to really go past the 'ok' zone to the 'wow' zone. Here at UT, our portfolio professors tell us all the time 'Fail Big.' Instead of purely informational ads, we push smarter concepts to try to engage the consumer. We catch attention with more non-traditional campaigns.
In a more traditional form, advertising was a linear model from attention to interest to desire then action. If you don't have someones attention, then they cannot complete the rest of the path to action.
I believe that is the problem with web advertising, and is a problem with journalism as well. With web advertising, annoying pop ups and banner ads could irritate the consumer, and some can be so abundant, that the consumer doesn't even glance at them at all. In journalism, most of the big papers are writing the same story, so what's going to make them choose yours? Example: iPhone 5 reveal. The internet was over flowing with iPhone 5 stories, that all pretty much said the same thing.
So what do advertisers do? They think bigger, and I think that is something that journalism is still trying to do.
Example of non-traditional advertising