Thursday, December 6, 2012

Social Media and Creativity

This weekend I decided to take a digital holiday - actually it was more of a social media holiday. I'd been consumed with, or perhaps by, my electronics and had a feeling it might not be the best thing for me. 

Checking my blog stats, email, FB, Instagram - constantly checking to see what connections the world was sending me - it seemed like an increasing tug at the corners of my brain. It was a good thing to go cold turkey - although in full disclosure I did use my cell phone camera. But other than that - no Internet use at all.  

What did I learn? Well...that I'd developed a nervous twitch - remember the Sirens call to Ulysses? My devices were calling to me during that day, however since nature abhors a vacuum I found myself turning to other activities instead. 

Studies are showing that social media can negatively impact your feelings of well being - but how does it impact your levels of creativity? BTW... I fully realize the irony of this post and just to go entirely "old school" I decided to write this one by hand (in it's original form) - apparently different parts of the brain are activated by the physical movement/use of the body and I wanted to see if there would be a difference. 

For whatever reason, that night I fell asleep early and the next morning I woke with my brain percolating ideas again...coincidence...not sure. During that "free" day, it was disconcerting to see how many times my restless brain tried to reach for my phone or how often I wanted to interrupt what I was doing to post a cool new image. Does this mean that social media is bad or harms creativity by breaking into your consciousness? I don't know, and strangely enough, I don't know if it's important. What is important, is an awareness of its impact and a willingness to experiment in going without. 

I don't believe in crying over change, that's not a good goal - change is inevitable and should be a fundamental part of life and our deepest nature. It's an odd quirk that we seem to both need and fear change at the same time. Anyway, it's a futile game to fight change - but that doesn't mean we can't evaluate how we work/use it in our lives. 

So, in an experiment with creativity I ask that you try a social media free day. Disconnect from the virtual world for a day and see what might find yourself, like me, the next morning - writing down ideas and seeing life from a little bit of a different perspective. Or, if social media isn't your gig, it may be something else. Find another habit or rut you've fallen it is, try stepping back a day and evaluating life on the other side.

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