Is Social Media Killing Creativity?

We’ve all had those grandma-with-technology moments. I mean, those times when you come across something that you feel like Zuckerburg engineered while you were asleep; just to confuse you when you woke up and checked your feed. That’s what I’m talking about.

Well, you can choose to admit it or not, that’s on you. But I will humor you with a personal anecdote...You’re welcome.

Scrolling through Instagram, I came across a friend’s post of a plain white square. No caption. Just white. I thought to myself, “is this some weird statement she’s trying to make, or did her brother sit on her phone and somehow butt-post a picture of nothing?” I clicked on her profile to see if she regularly added blank posts, only to see a page of aesthetically pleasing symmetry. She would post the same picture twice just mirrored or pictures of geometric lines all to make a profile page that was greater than each post alone. Long ago are the days of just posting a picture willy nilly, no sir. Your profile itself must be a work of art.

What does this do for modern artists? How does social media affect those who create with pens, brushes or cameras?

We turn to Pinterest for inspiration, Instagram to see what other artists are up to and Facebook for praise on our art. The minutes between all of this screen time is what we have left for our brain’s right hemisphere to go wild, but by then it’s been inundated with every idea in the world but our own.

Social media has killed much of our creativity.

One Huffington Post article acknowledged the negative effect that social media has on creativity; by giving three bullet-pointed ways to beat it: go outside, act on your ideas and color. So go to the park and pick up some Crayola’s, problem solved!

If only it were as easy as that. For many people, the issue may not be that they can’t form new ideas, but that social media has told them they aren’t good ideas. With everyone’s artsy profile pages, filter saturated images and posts of their greatest achievements, artists and creatives have been left feeling inadequate. Comparison has led to decrease in confidence which diminishes bold creation.

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” -1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

This Bible verse reminds us to do our work and create our art, but in a different way than the world does. We are not to create for the likes and shares of others on Instagram, and we shouldn’t become dependent on our Pinterest boards or friends’ posts.

We create for a higher purpose and draw upon unique inspiration.

That is why we owe it to ourselves and to the world to be authentic. Use social media to inspire, not to overwrite and not on overload. But, we also owe it to the greatest Creator of all. For He carefully crafted each of us with unique gifts and skills. He gave us each our artistic purposes and visions and He doesn’t want to see them go to waste. So if you’re going to draw from someone else’s art, draw from our Creator’s. After all, He didn’t use social media in His work.

By Maddie Conley