social media is only a means of supporting creativity

Following up on my last post, I’m not so sure that “web 2.0 itself implies creativity.” I mean, I get the Clay Shirky idea that making something is better than watching Gilligan’s island so making LOLcats is fine, but I think remix culture allows for a lot of laziness.

Some of the most interesting Web 2.0 projects I’ve seen are about rewarding creators who can work outside the traditional model. Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell (she’s locking herself in a room to create for a week) raised thousands of dollars on Kickstarter (over five times her original goal so now they’re going to make more stuff with the extra money). She’s helped raise the question of whether Kickstarter is more important/useful than Arts Council grants for artists.

So yes, social media is helping fuel that kind of creativity, but it’s important to note that people are giving her this money because of her talent. The connections are about funding and supporting creativity, not inspiring it.

I love Neil Gaiman as much as the next person, and his presence on Twitter is huge. But, I don’t love him because of that social media scene. I love the work he does. Making meaning from the banal is a nice idea about social media’s relationship to creativity, but the fact is that most of the banal is still pretty banal, even when it’s aggregated.

I guess I’m saying that “fostering connections, building networks, creating new knowledge” isn’t creative in and of itself. It has to be supportive of some actual talent.

7 Responses (Add Your Comment)

  1. There are Gaiman-esque elements to your perspectives. Nice.

    I invoked the notion of “banality” in the sense of both ordinariness and the tedious lack of creativity – as the polar opposite of creative.

    What’s more ordinary (or banal to use the pejorative) than telling a bunch of people what you’re doing? And yet, hasn’t it trigger an awful lot of creativity?

    So – I might find a way to disagree. Social media is creativity (well, it can be).

  2. Oh, I can probably find a way to disagree too.

    I’ve been thinking about this and yes, banality has spurred on a lot of creativity, but my elitist snobby self (which doesn’t do well in the social mediasphere at all) asks how much of it is any good?

    If 90% of everything is shit then I guess I’m glad we’ve got more banal creation to generate more in absolute terms of the 10% awesome stuff.

    I just want a better ratio, though.

    I want people to say things beautifully.

  3. I think I agree with you Justin. There needs to be real creativity first regardless of which medium is chosen as an outlet.

    I do think, however, that a medium can inspire someone to create in a)a way they never did before and/or b) can help someone to realize they are indeed somebody who is creative.

    The medium itself is neither inherently creative or not creative. It’s a medium!!

    1) means, method, way, form, agency, avenue, channel, vehicle, organ, instrument, mechanism. See note at media.

  4. How much of the Googleplex’s 20% free time results in banalities but in the long-run a lot of work of enduring creativity? This is what I’m driving at.

  5. This article is actually a fastidious one it helps new internet people, who are wishing for blogging.

  6. I recommend Vimium – a neat keyboard shortcut extension, Wikitube – an extension that links videos from the wikipedia articles for when you wanna go further down the rabbit hole in wikipedia and Google Dictionary


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