isolated, part of the 99 feelings collection by artmind
at the heart of this post series is a question. a pretty big one:
how does the internet shape your creativity?
have you stopped to ponder this question lately? my guess is probably not. not because you don’t care but because you, like me, are very happily dancing in the creative space of the internet that makes you feel good.
as sister diane pointed out last week over at make & meaning, we are bombarded daily with loads of input from our digital lives that has the potential to build up, entertain, and inspire. and yet – are we making the most of it? are we better off because of all this input? in many ways, yes. in many other ways, no.
as i see it, there are three big ways the internet has power over our creative process: isolation, inspiration, and invocation. i’ll be exploring these three concepts over the next few days and i hope you’ll weigh in with you opinions in the comments.
the internet has the power to isolate us greatly. what?! the net provides us more opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals than ever before. how many people in your social media circles are people who disagree with you on things you’re passionate about? how many people don’t share core beliefs and interests with you? not many of the people i share digital space with are outside my comfort zone. we become isolated by walling ourselves inside a community of people who are unlikely to disagree with us.
when i posted a few weeks back on spending more on the things you buy and the true cost of buying handmade, i fully expected someone to disagree with me. but you didn’t. or at least you didn’t comment… which means you probably promptly left my social circle and aren’t actually reading this right now.
we’ve isolated ourselves into a community that supports our creativity but doesn’t extend it, doesn’t challenge it.
when you’re given permission to create but a space that’s devoid of challenges, you revert back to what you’ve always known. you create things that look like what others are already doing. new ideas are judged against what has come before and not on their own merit. you’re creativity is isolated in a sea of sameness.
so how do you break out? sister diane advocates for the very smart suggestion of choosing the inputs you’ll accept and which you’ll let pass right on by. she says some of the web’s most prominent thinkers are doing the same:
…they’re deciding which inputs are most important to their goals, and focusing in on those. (I’m glad to see this happening – there’s a great takeaway here. No matter how much or little time you have for input, you always have it in your power to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of what you take in each day.)
i’ll admit i’ve been doing this myself. you, dear readers, have made it quite obvious over the last few months that you’re very interested in more than just great indie shopping finds. so i’ve made a conscious effort to not just spend every free moment browsing through etsy or reading blogs that strangely resemble my own. i’m plugging back into my favorite npr shows, reading articles on my other interests, and thinking about the online community in new & different ways. what good is it to you if i just spew out the same thing everyone else is?
in an effort to make this blog more relevant, more innovative, more useful to you – and at the same time reach out to new audiences – i’ve chosen to disconnect myself ever so slightly from our creative community.
true innovation comes when we allow our own ideas, beliefs, and processes to bump up against others that make us uncomfortable. that feeling of discomfort, of not quite knowing how to respond, is the true creative process at work.
so i ask you, how does the internet shape your creativity? how has the online creative community isolated you from innovation in your own creative process?
when was the last time you were uncomfortable?