As millennials, it’s easy for us to identify the benefits of social media. The term social itself is an indication that it might just be a good thing for us particularly in this ragingly digital age.
Though non-millennials might argue that being online isn’t necessarily applicable to “real world” scenarios and that we are digitally updated and connected mostly for the sake of vanity, it’s hard not to notice the fact that there are over a billion users in Facebook, 400 million in Instagram, and 330 million in Twitter to date. These numbers show how people from the “real world” have adopted social media as it is—a medium for sharing information—and not simply so we could put ourselves out there for the sake of it.
The world as we know it is becoming smaller and smaller by the minute because of technology and the people who have worked to make things possible for the rest of us.
On the flip side of the coin, moreover, we find the creatives and the artists who use social media in various ways. As creatives, we leverage the benefits of social media to work with our goals and objectives. We are possibly already aware of the advantages of such platforms as it gives our art the exposure it needs to ultimately enable us to discover and be discovered by like-minded individuals. But allow me to expound further on the benefits of social media in the context of creativity:
They say art is an expression. Perhaps, expression may also be an art in itself.
At first glance, social media as a way to express oneself may seem like the most superficial thing one could do. Granted, there are people who share too much information and then there are those who simply love to rant. But then expression doesn’t mean merely slurring out complaint after complaint on Twitter or crafting a long post about how some nameless person did you wrong on Facebook. These are valid forms of expression and they could help the person concerned in some way or another however there are other ways to express too.
For instance, expression can also be in the form of a whole-heartedly written blog post that conveys feelings of empathy and connection with the audience. Expression can come from capturing the beauty in what we see from day-to-day activities to stepping-stone moments through photographs and visual art.
It can become our way of seeing the world from a whole new perspective—a perspective much more different than if we stuck with our current physical environments as we know it.
As mentioned earlier, millennials often find it beneficial to connect with others (whether it’s online or offline). We are increasingly aware of how self-absorbed we can become when we’re hooked to our gadgets and/ or computers. It’s as if the world revolves exclusively between us and our devices. It’s a sad notion although it’s not always the case.
In the context of creativity, interaction is vital. The ability to communicate and share adds to our own individual experiences and shows us a different side to the story from the perspective of those people we follow.
When we interact via comments and discussions on social media, for example, we are contributing to the flow of creative information and at the same time we can tap into that information and use it in our own craft. Simply put, interaction on social media has the potential to become a give-and-take cycle of creative ideas.
Sometimes we find ourselves reluctant to the notion of exposure. Now more than ever and especially on social media, we have accustomed ourselves to the negative implications of being exposed. Exposing ourselves leaves us vulnerable and hence we become subject to the prejudices of others. This is one of the reasons why some of us carefully curate what we post online.
Exposure doesn’t have to be harmful to our creativity.
The worst that could happen when we expose our art to people is having to deal with criticism. But criticism is inevitable. We cannot totally be in control of what people say and how they react to the work that we do. It is up to us to make use of such criticism in constructive ways that can contribute to our growth and creativity.
When we put ourselves out there, we genuinely also share a part of ourselves in the hopes that it will benefit our audience. It’s not so much a bad thing as when we fail to share what we know. When we keep our creativity to ourselves, nobody benefits from it but us. But when we allow exposure, we encourage others to do the same.
For creatives, inspiration can be particularly elusive. Sometimes we sit and stare at whatever we are supposed to work on and just go blank. It’s important not to stay in this state for too long. It can become paralyzing and eventually it may lead to procrastination. But when you do procrastinate, you can always find that browsing through social networks is helpful.
We don’t have to browse subconsciously until we realize it’s been hours since we opened our Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter (/insert social media platform here) accounts. We can browse and still be very conscious and intentional about what we’re looking for.
Inspiration can be summoned if we train ourselves to do so. We just need to open ourselves to the possibilities. Perhaps we don’t find ourselves inspired at all times because we think it will just come to us by some stroke of luck. It doesn’t always happen that way.
We need to actively go looking for inspiration ourselves if we want to do work that matters to us.
Lastly, social media can become an endless source of entertainment. Entertainment is crucial to any work or lifestyle. It’s almost comparable to a “vacation” when we are entertained because, in a way, we are able to escape from the usual tasks that we categorize as work.
Entertainment is essential to creativity. Creative work can take up so much mental energy and, unfortunately, our mental energies are not limitless. Even our own ideas need to rest and let others do the work. Social media is a great way to provide such a diversion. Silly videos and photos and even games we consider “time-wasters” actually help us loosen up from the pressure.
Ultimately, social media can be advantageous to our creativity in many more ways than the ones mentioned above. How we view social media and how we maximize it in the context of our creativity relies on our choices. We can either choose to allow it to run our lives or we can choose to use it in order to make our lives and our work better.
Are you fond of using social media too? Do you think there are other advantages besides the ones mentioned above? I’d love to know in the comments below or you can tweet your reactions on this post.