We all know that social media has introduced us to a whole new world of opportunities and brought tons of benefits in our lives. However, just like every channel of communication, there are downsides to the story about social media. One of the common challenges that individuals face after using social media for too long is the lack of creativity that comes as a result of the overuse. Now, while anyone would guess that after viewing photos, reading articles and getting informed one would be more productive and creative, that is not exactly what happens in real life.
Here’s How Social Media Ruins Your Creativity
Getting Text Neck From All That Social Media Screen Time
We’ve all seen that person, standing alone in a queue. Possibly waiting for his or her turn to order some food. Maybe they’re just waiting to pay for something, or for their turn to use the restroom. He or she has got their head down, hand up, grasping a smartphone for dear life, eyes scrutinizing the screen. Their thumbs are in a cranked position as they scroll endlessly, occasionally smiling, sometimes grunting. Most times, the screen glares blue light right into their eyeballs as they hunch over, completely, absolutely addicted to their social feed.
Your body does things that you’re not even conscious of as you stare at your screen. After some time, you start to hold your breath. Your posture begins to change as you hunch forward, barely blinking as your attention is completely swallowed by your phone. Sometimes, your jaw tightens up, depending on the visuals your retina perceive, or the information your mind is digesting. It’s become a part of modern life so much that having text neck is the norm.
Join The Distraction Faction
While the rise of social media has definitely revolutionized the way we perceive news, information, and bite-sized truths ― sometimes, it sucks. What we mean is that it has the ability to suck out the roots of your creativity like a leech. And that comes right from the little chargeable device in your hand. Constant notifications only serve to tell us that while we’re going about our daily grind, amazing life moments are happening somewhere else. Marketing pop-ups from apps or services we’ve subscribed to serve as a distraction from the things we do daily – driving, eating, communicating with people.
As social apps deliver a constant stream of news and updates, any creative or marketer is guilty of getting distracted during work. Take this scenario for example. You’re sitting in your chair, propped up by a comfortable pillow. Your mind is in full-throttle as your focus burns with an intensity so great that nothing can stop your flow ― vrrrr, goes your phone on vibrate mode. The screen lights up as it displays the message preview alongside seventeen other updates and notifications. It’s selfie updates from James in Finance who’s taken a month off to find himself in Machu Picchu. You shake your head and smile, trying to turn your attention back to your work. But the thin thread of intense concentration has snapped. Your focus is gone. Oh well. Maybe you need a coffee break. You slip out of your chair and reach for your empty mug, before automatically sliding your phone into your pocket.
Might as well check out those notifications while you get a refill, right? That’s exactly how social media saps you of your creative moments.
The Art of Conversation? Dead And Gone, Long Live Silence
Ever noticed how people are getting worse at communicating face-to-face? Here’s another scenario. You’re out with a group of friends for dinner. After the small talk continues, one of your buds whips out his phone. Maybe you take a sip of your beer as you observe your friends. The small talk peters out. Another friend begins to scroll through his feed. Everyone else follows suit not long after. By the time the food comes around, all the waiter sees is a table full of people with their eyes on a screen.
In the fast-paced world that we are currently immersed in, those who aren’t on social media are seen as rare, mythical beings. Social media creates an obsession with being loved and approved of by others. This mental obsession grows steadily as people struggle to fit in. Studies have shown that those with a social media addiction are strongly influenced by the number of likes on their posts and the opinions of others.
Truthfully, not conforming to society is the best fuel for creativity. You get to develop an individualistic manner of thinking, and in turn, create, write, or design something out of the box. You don’t have to worry about losing your creativity to social media if you aren’t on any accounts.
The Need Of (Greater) Recognition
The truth is, social media has created a sort of fascination with judgment nowadays. This judgment is basically centered around our thoughts and lifestyle. For instance, people want to be seen as better in the eyes of other people – and want to receive the right amount of positive recognition in their lives.
Take teenagers, for example. Most teens are on social media accounts, especially where most of their idols or celebrities are on, too. Lots of them are addicted to their social media feed. Some teens take it to a whole other level, idolizing their celebrities so much that they actually start copying their style and attitude. Need to market your fashion brand to a teenage audience? Get some trending rapper to wear an outfit from your line and upload it for the daily ‘gram. Watch as a thousand other teens follow suit the next day. They lose their own originality and uniqueness in the process. In this manner, it is completely safe to say that social media does kill one’s creativity.
The Mass Effect
Nowadays, all social networks allow users to upload their artworks without any restrictions about the quality and the ownership of the original artworks. The Internet makes everything easy peasy. Everyone can literally upload thousands of designs, even if they have been stolen from someone else or even a bunch of artists. Anyone can literally just copy someone else’s work and make a buck off it without the original artist’s knowledge. Plagiarism isn’t cool, guys.
On a wider note, good designers cannot be spotted easily among the massive number of beginners. In that manner, social media needs a filter for uniqueness and a rating system that allows other professionals to rate the artworks or promote it to be featured. With the saying: anything you put on the Internet is public property – watermarks just don’t cut it anymore. The work of artists’ need to be properly protected.
Losing Time And Sense Of Real Life
Aside from using social media when actively scrolling through your feeds, you should know that in kind of a way, social media is a closed circle. As humans (and as creatives), we’re open to communication. And even though the digital world can link you to people from different countries around the world, it prevents the real meaning of social communication.
This can lead to losing a sense of a real life but also drastically reduce your creativity. Spending time with friends and colleagues, on the other hand, can help you maintain the physical lifestyle that helps you develop new ideas. Being addicted to social networks also leads to significant time loss. Every time you check your social networks for updates is a time when you lose a chunk of your creative thinking time. Hence, many creatives block social media websites from their network in order to drive their employees to focus on their daily tasks. The key to using social media lies in its limits.
Have you ever…
…taken a moment to check out who’s online on your friend list, and think: I wonder if they’ve taken time off to be creative? Then again, if they’re always on social apps, you’ve got your answer.
Looking to take the first step out of the quicksand of your social media? Explore more ways to exercise your creativity and develop some of these 15 habits to sustain your creative life.
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