Social media and creativity
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Don’t worry, I’m not one of ‘THOSE’ people.
I’m not a social media killjoy. I love it and use it often, every day.
But recently, I’ve been exploring ways to decrease the time I
spend waste on Facebook and Instagram (the platforms I use the most) by learning about the impact of social media usage on my brain.
I find that understanding how our brains work inspires me to WANT to change my behaviour. Knowing that I CAN change helps inspire me, too. And intrinsic motivation is the best place for change to come from, right? It’s better than someone yellingat us to get off Facebook.
I was curious about the relationship between social media and creativity. And by this, I don’t mean writing creative social media posts. I mean how social media affects our creativity, so I started researching.
What I found is that there is a feel-good neurohormone in our brain bringing us little bursts of joy. It’s called dopamine. You might have heard the expression‘getting a little dopamine hit’.
So, what’s wrong with a little joy? A lot, apparently. Those little dopamine hits via social media are killing our creativity.
Now, I’m not a scientist (and if you are, feel free to let me know anything I get wrong here in the comments and if you aren’t, feel free to
shut the hell up add meaningful comments to this post) but I’ll do my best to interpret what I found.
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, one of those chemicals that is responsible for transmitting signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain.When dopamine neurons become activated, they release dopamine.
OK, so dopamine is like a courier in the brain, carrying important messages between neurons, nerves and other cells in our body.
It’s produced in several areas of the brain and is released by the hypothalamus, which links our nervous system to our endocrine system.
Dopamine and social media
How does dopamine affect people?
The minute you take a drug, drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette if those are your poison, when you get a like on social media, all of those experiences produce dopamine, which is a chemical that’s associated with pleasure.
When someone likes an Instagram post, or any content that you share, it’s a little bit like taking a drug. As far as your brain is concerned, it’s a very similar experience. Now the reason why is because it’s not guaranteed that you’re going to get likes on your posts. And it’s the unpredictability of that process that makes it so addictive. If you knew that every time you posted something you’d get a 100 likes, it would become boring really fast.
Adam Alter, New York University professor and author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
I haven’t read Alter’s book. I’m afraid it will be like Allen Carr’s seminal book, Easy Way to Quit Smoking and I’ll end up wanting to delete all my social media accounts or deal with the thought of manipulative corporations behind them each time I take a dopamine hit. I’m looking at you, Facebook.
I wonder how much dopamine and ego are in partnership. And how much of this stuff the wealthy corporations behind successful social platforms know this. Very well, I assume. Social media is designed to be distracting. It’s their business to make social media as distracting as possible so they keep us on their site longer and generate more ad revenue off us while we’re sucked into its vortex. I don’t know about you, but the more I’m consciously aware of how I’m being manipulated, the more I want to rebel.
But, if you feel the lure of checking your phone all too often and enjoy that dopamine rush a little too much, know that we have the power to change our behaviour.
And it’s not as hard as you might think.
Rewiring and re-training our brains
Neuroplasticityis your brain’s ability to change during your life. The expression ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is false. You can teach an old dog new tricks and you can no longer use that as an excuse to put off learning the guitar or studying Mandarin or whatever else you’ve had on your ‘one day’ list because you think you’re too old. We can also train ourselves to not be so reliant on social media for those little feel-good hits of dopamine.
We can retrain our brains by creating new neural pathways. We can retrain our brains by not reaching for our phones during those brief moments of boredom, like at the bus stop or in the queue at the supermarket. The more times we practice and don’t reach for our phones to kill those microseconds of boredom, the better we get at it and we start to create those new neural pathways we need to make it easier to no longer feel the pull to impulsively reach for our phones.
The next time you feel the urge during a moment of boredom to check your phone, don’t. Delay. Wait five or ten minutes. Maybe the urge will completely pass.
Decision fatigue and social media
I’m not sure how many decisions we make on average a day, but it’s a crap tonne. It’s one of the reasons Steve Jobs always wore his black turtleneck and Mark Zuckerberg wears his grey hoodie every day. There are only so many decisions we can make before experiencing decision fatigue. Even something as simple as deciding today what we’ll wear tomorrow can help combat decision fatigue.
When we grab our phones or turn on our computers first thing in the morning to check emails or social media or news sites, we’re giving away our best decision-making time to our devices and our social media accounts. Each time we decide to like an Instagram post or comment on a Facebook post, we’re burning through our decision-making energy stores. Same when we choose our socks and decide what to eat for breakfast.
Decision fatigue poisons creativity. Wasting our decision-making ability on transient, unimportant details in our social media feeds crowds out the space we need for creation. Our decision-making ability and willpower is finite and needs to be replenished daily.
To be our best creative selves, we need to give our brains the space they need to be creative. We need to reserve our decision-making for things that matter, not whether to give a like to that highly stylised but yummy looking plate of pancakes with hot sauce or whether we’ll wear the Argyle or plain socks today.
Developing new habits to help fight decision fatigue
There are some simple things you can do at day’s end when your decision-making and willpower well is running dry that will help you the next day:
- Write out your to-do list for the following day.
- Write a list of all the things you know you need to remember the following day.
- Write out your ‘ta da’ list of your accomplishments that day.
- Decide what you’re going to wear and set out your clothes ready for the morning. This can extend to other family members who rely on you for their daily clothing choices.
- Decide what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Pack your bag with anything you need for the following day. If you’re a parent, you can do this for the little people in your life you have to organise.
- Develop a shut down routine after you finish working so you’ll stop ruminating about work over dinner or while watching Suits or whatever it is you do in the evening and stop you from further depleting that decision-making well.
I don’t do all of this. I do some, but rarely all each day. But here’s the thing, when I do them, even just a couple, it really does help. I get greater mental clarity and better productivity as a consequence. There’s more focus and I do better quality work.
Combat decision fatigue by committing to at least two of the above items for one week, then check in and see if it’s helping you. You can, of course, do them all, but that might seem like too much change to handle all at once. I’m going to commit to 1, 3, 4 and 7.
When you’re in that sometimes elusive but always utopian state of flow and making connections between ideas, layering ideas and creating good stuff, we must experience a dopamine hit. Lots of micro-bursts of feel-good hits. And how much better for us is that compared to the thrill we get from an Instagram like or three. Pancakes with hot sauce? Meh.
I would much rather experience that state of flow than watch the world flow past in my news feed. But yet I continue to succumb to the lure of my phone during brief moments of distraction. Working with my phone out of the room is helpful. It’s weird, but I don’t feel the urge to check social sites via my computer’s browser – it’s my phone that lures me and where I need to be retrained. But if you do find it hard to resist sneaking a peek at Facie while working, use a browser plugin like Work Modethat will stop access to social media sites via your computer’s browser.
Deep work, by Cal Newport
One of the best pieces of advice I got to reclaim creativity from social media was from Cal Newport, the authorof Deep Work. I didn’t get the tip from his book, but interestingly, I heard it when he was a guest on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcasttalking about his book. Cal’s tip related to productivity, but I think it’s equally applicable to creativity.
I don’t remember Cal’s exact suggestion, but I interpreted it as don’t look at your phone for the first hour of the day. This could be your computer, too. Or a tablet, or any other electronic device you use.
I was intrigued by the idea and gave it a go. What better way to avoid decision fatigue than toavoid having to decide whether or not to give the stack of pancakes a like.
This idea was next level choosing socks the night before (go for the Argyle ones, always). I was diligent for a while. And it was wonderful. I spent the morning kid wrangling and getting The Monsta off to daycare and me off on a walk or to the gym.
On the days that I didn’t turn my phone on for the first hour+, I found the urge to check social media declined for the rest of the day. It just didn’t seem that important. I was also more productive.
These days, I give myself about 30 minutes before checking my phone. The exception is when I’m expecting a project catastrophe or I’m in weekendmode – choosing whether or not to like an image of a stack of pancakes is the pinnacle of my decision-making ability in holiday mode.
Truth: I hated this book. I found it repetitive and padded out to create a bloated word count. But its biggest fault is that it came from a place of unacknowledged privilege. He wrote it for a very narrow audience of menwho clearly don’t have to partake in boring household chores or early morning kid wrangling and can swan into their office after a morning run, preferably an academic office, men who are secure enough in their own importance to give the middle finger to the establishment that employs them by dictating the terms of their work arena. If he’d just acknowledged what a privilege this position is, I might not have had such an adverse reaction to the book.
Level 1: Work with your phone out of the room, or at least out of your eye line and more than an easy arm’s reach away. Silence your notifications. Activate the Work Mode plugin. Don’t check your social accounts for at least an hour, then have a quick break and get straight back into work mode. (Cal would say that’s a terrible idea and you shouldn’t be on social media at all because any connection you make there is completely shallow. Ha! What a stick in the mud!)
Level 2: Don’t use your phone for at least the first hour of the day (or your laptop, desktop or tablet). Go about your normal morning routine, minus checking email and other notifications. See what happens.
Over to you. Do you feel a chronic urge to check social media on your phone or computer? Do you have any strategies for dealing with decision fatigue or for reclaiming your creativity? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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Social networking has become a deceptive and broken substitute for time-honoring (often isolated), passionate work in developing craft and expertise. Young creatives can now be prematurely lulled into a false sense of creative identity and success by the number of likes and followers on their social media networks.
Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are killing creativity. For: Yes. We keep scrolling our social media feed for hours, jumping from one app to another, instead of doing useful things like reading, exercising or for that matter, even socializing. These internet rabbit holes also make us less productive!
The more hours you spend time on social media, the more you lose a chunk of your creative time. creative people block social media websites and apps to focus on their daily tasks and you should do it for yourself. Social media has its advantages but one should use social media wisely by keeping certain limits.
There was a recent article that postulates the Internet is leaving children brain-dead; that children of the “Google generation,” who spend a lot of time on-line, are “losing creativity and skills.” In a story in London's Daily Mail newspaper, John Stevens reports on a man named Trevor Baylis, a British inventor who ...
Social media is an internet-based form of communication. Social media platforms allow users to have conversations, share information and create web content.
creativity, the ability to make or otherwise bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.
Yes, we're seeing evidence, such as lower creativity scores, which may point the finger at technology. We know people are spending more time distracting themselves on electronic devices and possibly inhibiting the creativity, which can come from boredom and letting thoughts wander.
However, social media use can also negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people's lives and peer pressure. The risks might be related to how much social media teens use.
Short answer: no, there is no research that shows that social media permanently reduces attention span.
To answer the original question in a word: no. Instagram does not kill creativity necessarily. It is the way in which people use Instagram that has become the problem. Use Instagram to inform yourself as to the state of the box, as a springboard to launch yourself outside of it as much as possible.
Don’t worry, I’m not one of ‘THOSE’ people.
And by this, I don’t mean writing creative social media posts.. I’m afraid it will be like Allen Carr’s seminal book, Easy Way to Quit Smoking and I’ll end up wanting to delete all my social media accounts or deal with the thought of manipulative corporations behind them each time I take a dopamine hit.. When we grab our phones or turn our computers first thing in the morning to check emails or social media or news sites, we’re giving away our best decision-making time to our devices and our social media accounts.. But if you do find it hard to resist sneaking a peek at Facie while working, use a browser plugin like Work Mode that will stop access to social media sites via your computer’s browser.. On the days that I didn’t turn my phone on for the first hour+, I found the urge to check social media declined for the rest of the day.. Do you feel a chronic urge to check social media on your phone or computer?
The amazingly easy access to knowledge has changed the whole culture of the world. Our world has changed enormously. Until the late 1960s, the internet was unknown to the world. The people generally became aware of the internet in the mid of 1989. Since then, it has changed our lives immeasurably; providing the information that […]
Prior to the internet, access to knowledge was only possible through books and print media.. “Social media” has been defined as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.”. “Creativity” has been defined in the dictionary as “the ability to transcend ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.. This amazingly easy access to knowledge has changed the whole culture of the world to a degree that we are tempted to ask: “Is this surfeit of knowledge, a boom or a curse?”. Prior to the internet, there was no tradition of questioning others’ views on the world.. We must understand the internet is only a window to the world; an instrument giving us easy access to knowledge and showing us a vast realm of possibilities, which we were previously unaware of.. In some ways, I think the internet has made it harder to become creative because it encourages us to be interested in all the wrong things.. While there are tools and apps that are extremely useful in one’s creative development, others like Facebook and Twitter have little creative value.. The muse (the mythological goddess who inspires creativity) is seemingly outside the scope of the internet and the banal interests it caters to.
There is a long debate about using social media and its impact on creativity, here are some pros and cons of using social media to improve creativity.
Although the debate about how social media may affect the quality of life, users of different social media have increased over time.. Design and visual arts are part of the most favorable media shared on social networks.. Social networks that are based on visual arts and design such as Pinterest have proven success in the social market.. Therefore, we should stop blaming ourselves for using our social media accounts as indulgent and start to look at social media from a different perspective to understand how to form this tool for the benefit for our creativity and fuel our talent.. Although social media websites may be seen as distractive from the main creative process, there are advantages of using the social media to serve creative people as following:. This social network is specialized for designers, artists, and photographers to share their work and get feedback as well as appreciation.. Although there is debate in considering social media as source for academic learning, many scholars are starting to use social media to share their research papers and presentations such as researchgate.net , academia.edu , and slideshare.com .. Time spent on social media (Source: Creditloan ) Although there are benefits as noted above, there is an agreement among experts that there are disadvantages of using social networks especially when many people become addicted to it while not engaging in any productive work or time.. It is very important to choose the right social media to share your design work.. Sharing copyrighted materials and stealing other’s design ideas are among the important disadvantages of using social media websites.. The availability of social media on mobile devices contribute to this time loss as designers spend time to check their social media profiles on both the computer and mobile device multiple times during the day and sometimes during the same hour.. Based on the pros and cons above for using social media and its impact on creativity, designers should understand that social media is a very helpful tool that can be used to learn, find inspiration, communicate with other designers, share artwork, and find business opportunities.. Limit usage time to avoid affecting production time Use social networks that relate to your design interest such as Behance, Pinterest, and Deviantarts Share your best work to represent your self and make sure to check the copyright issues –use social websites that try to secure your work such as Flikr and Behance Do not lose your physical life and try to meet with your friends from time to time Use social networks as a learning method and privilege the learning features such as groups Use social networks as a tool to build a professional profile and promote it through other networks.
At some point in our lives each and everyone of us has dreamed to live something magical. Unfortunately most of those dreams don’t make it…
Mull is trying to show that young adults should be living a more creative life rather than living on social media.. The way that Mull portrays characters in his books is his idea of how young adults should be.. I would play with my cousins and friends for hours making up new games and adventures.. Technology itself comes from the imagination and creativity of somebody.. Her study was on rating the different social media sites and seeing their influence whether it be positive or negative on young adults.. Social Media is not a terrible thing, but it should not be the first thing to go to.. In another study done by Liu yi Lin, a (profession), she explains how Social Media relates to depression.. Lin speaks about how young adults today are more addicted to Social Media than ever before.. This article helps to show that young adults today are not as creative as Mull tries to portray them in his books.. I myself have found that it is very important and even necessary to have a social life outside of social media.. I have a good idea by seeing many youth today and the way they are, but it is different just seeing it and actually living it.. In all of his adventures, the characters learn so much about themselves and see what they are really capable of as they go along trying new things.. In the end, the main character will always pull through and accept the challenge which almost always has some kind of problem in the challenge that would have caused his friend who was trying to offer in his place failure.. Many times in life we are faced with the same thing.. As I have already mentioned, Social Media is a good thing for connecting with others and staying on top of what is going on in the world, but it is also creating these big problems with the youth and even adults.
But does it really?
He indirectly criticized that social media was the cause why so many people copy each other’s tricks in our sport (or art form, or whatever you want to name it) called football freestyle.. It worked for Jereminho so I believe other people might benefit from this approach as well.. Another positive aspect about social media is emphasized by the fact that everybody can take ideas from as many different people as possible and create their own unique style.. It is true for example, as Jereminho claims in his post, that social media makes it easier for everyone to bite each other and I’m also in full agreement that there’s plenty of freestylers who have never even thought about creating their own move or transition.. One day, an omniscient person enters the room and explains, quite briefly, what freestyle football is, and afterwards instructs you to come up with all the tricks that exist in the world outside of your room, by executing them or simply writing them down.. Most of the tricks people come up with in freestyle nowadays are based, in some way or the other, on other tricks that have already been created, or on other art forms, like b-boying, freerunning or gymnastics.. Everything is a copy of something else, in some shape or the other, in freestyle football just like in technology, music or other art forms.. That song is said to be the most sampled song of all time and segments of it were used in hundreds of songs over the years.. In the world of football freestyle, you could apply this ideology to tricks such as Jordan Stall or Yosuke Stall , both tricks having been created by Jordan Meunier and Yosuke Yokota respectively, but based on which people create something new almost every second day.. Then again, I can comprehend why people want to point out that they have created a certain move (when somebody else uploads that trick to social media for example), but I think we should see it from a different perspective.. With all the different social media platforms out there, it couldn’t be easier to get inspired and take ideas from other people.
If you think being a Millennial in the age of social media is difficult, try being a creative. We’re navigating a world in which everyone is trying to plug in, but we just want to break out. We’re coveting hard-pressed positions in fields saturated…
It doesn’t matter the nature of expression -- visuals, movement, sounds, words; it’s all the same.. We are told "no" a thousand times before we get a "yes.". People in this day and age want the quick and dirty version of everything.. One photo, 140 characters or a quick status -- any longer and they’re out.. What’s a singer to do if his or her audience can’t sit still for more than 30 minutes at a time?. If it can’t be Googled in 30 seconds or less, it’s useless.. And, when there’s no audience, there’s no art.. In that same vein, society’s obsession with social media is quelling any sparks of inspiration artists might absorb and replicate.. One more interview you didn’t quite nail.. You feel like everyone has found stardom but you.. We’ll stop finding inspiration.. It doesn't matter in which field you work.
Social media is a part of our daily lives and we have never been more connected with our "neighbours" across the world with a click of a butto...
The social affects of social media is an ongoing debate but we cannot deny the fact that the number of users and the time that we spend on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc accounts is increasing at an alarming (and concerning) rate.. Most blame social media for negatively affecting creativity but there are advantages of how social media can be used in a positive and progressive manner for creative individuals like myself as a musician!. Most social medias now support all types of media from photos, GIF, videos and music allowing designers and artists a way to network and to connect with their peers.. We are literally addicted and the time we spend checking our social media takes away from productive and creative work where our energy should be allocated towards, which leads to the next 2 points.... We have to understand that social media does provide a great tool for creators from all avenues to learn, obtain inspiration, promote, communicate with peers, build brand influence and find opportunities.
It was the total lunar eclipse that did it. I woke in the night, and went to take a look. I saw it from the spare room window. It was as if some random, burnt orange planet had wandered into the earth's orbit.
And this is no judgement on the people who posted photos of it.. This was an issue with my own view of social media, and of myself.. I’d let my experience be lessened, by comparing it to the photos of other peoples’ experiences of the same thing.. Social media should be enhancing my life, not diminishing it.. It wasn’t just the moon, there were other times when people would post about something they’d done and somewhere they’d been.. But I didn’t post it on social media, so it now felt as if it hadn’t happened.. I didn’t really have a social media presence until 2016; in 2015 I submitted 46 stories, and in 2016 it was 45.. If I was working on a story and there was a lull, rather than give myself time to think about it, I would scroll through Instagram or Facebook.. First thing in the morning, and when I got home from work, I was scrolling.. In that week I wrote and submitted one short story, wrote one blog post……..I went for walks and didn’t take photos with my phone, because I wasn’t allowing myself to post on Instagram.. Things might change; I might decide to give them all up.. There’s always this horrible feeling that if I’m not on social media, I don’t exist (back to this idea of everyone else’s eclipse experience being more valid than mine).
The most effective role of social media in creativity – according to brands, agencies and publishers ›
There’s an inherent tension in the creative industry about whether social media should be used solely as a media distribution platform, which comes to the fore at Cannes because of the amount of wealth social media companies have managed to ammasse, which is obvious to the naked eye when you see the huge spend on the beachfront.
But what role, if any, does social media bring to the creative industry?. Do brands see it as just a distribution tool for their creative, or is it bigger than that?. After speaking to some VIP brands, agencies and publishers, the overwhelming consensus was that social media is most effective when it’s worked into the campaign strategy from the beginning and bolstered by top quality creative, rather than being used as just a media and distribution platform.. We spoke to AEGON’s head of content and communications, Esther Oostrom who reiterated this: “The downside of social media is that its reach is still relatively small – to reach over a million people is very costly.. When used properly, social media is the most effective way to spend paid media budget, but only when it’s combined with epic creative that resonates and engages.. Taking a social-first approach has made our marketing campaigns so much more effective than before”.. “A good idea is a good idea, regardless of the channel or medium.. Learning about audiences is just as important as communicating with them and social media is a great way to access data, to optimise creative and to provide your audience with content they actually want to engage with, not just what you think they want to engage with.. From a brand perspective Harman International, Merck Consumer Health and AEGON don’t just see the value in a social-first mentality in creative campaigns but actively practise it.. Dave said: “Social media is incorporated at the start of the creative process because it’s a channel where you can both distribute your creativity and get insights from our audience to inform our own creative.. It’s no surprise that social publishers value social as a key tool to learn about audiences, because of the large, highly engaged online communities they boast.. Brands without a large community on social may think it’s difficult to learn from online audiences, but we would always challenge them to think bigger - to search and look for audiences they can pull data from little pockets of highly engaged people found all over the internet.. Oatly’s chief creative officer, John Schoolcraft, explained the alternative milk brand’s approach to advertising, which although it values social as a media platform will always lead with a creative-first approach: Schoolcraft added: “Oatly is more like a voice than a brand.. Every award-winning campaign this year had a social media element to it, even if it was just as a distribution tool.
You want to hear some hard truth?
But every minute you spend on Facebook and Twitter (I'm not even going to try and list the gajillion other social networking sites available) is another minute you aren’t writing, or reading, or nurturing your creative spirit.. She openly admitted compromising her family time so she could spend hours a night talking to strangers on Twitter.. Am I reading less because I’m spending more time online?. I mean taking all that energy and time you’re spending online playing and refocusing it into your work.. I still have my days when I find myself aimlessly surfing Twitter and Facebook, looking at what people are doing.. I allot time in my day to look at my social networks, but I allot much more time in my day to read.. The social networks are eating into our reading time.. Yes, there are plenty of readers who don’t have Facebook or Twitter accounts, who may read this and laugh.. Reading the top book on your teetering TBR stack, or reading what other people think about said book?. I hypothesize that while the Internet is taking a chunk of reading time, most readers still read a great deal.. Take fifteen minutes a day off your social networking and read one of these.