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How does new media affect creativity?

I finished my Age of Conversation article. It's titled "The Creative Multiplier," and is about how new media can change creatives' perspective on creativity and influence. And yes, somewhere along the way the advertising industry totally nouned the word "creative." In order to get my mind right and have some conversation on the topic, I asked several good friends the following question:
New media has democratized large-scale expression. Because there is now access to tools (like iMovie, GarageBand, digital cameras) and distribution (creating a podcast is free, blogging, youtube, etc), more people can be “writers,” “designers,” “film producers” than ever before. How do you think this affects creativity, in practice and in perception – both as a job and as a lifestyle and a hobby?
The responses varied a good bit, but were all insightful. Here are some favorites: Doug Williams from Trabian -
It’s smashed distribution channels and smashed production barriers. So, it’s created kind of an anarchy of creativity. It’s good in the sense that creative people can have their voices heard on the exact same platform successful creatives can have their voices heard. For some it’s good, for some, they’re just rehashing fart jokes. The downside is that those barriers held within them revenue streams and profits that allowed companies to assume the risk in developing truly talented individuals. It also helped filter out the good from the bad – of course, some really good things got filtered out…and the “mainstreaming” of creativity was a downfall to that system. So…in a sense, it’s empowered creatives. However, it’s removed a fundamental distribution channel designed (although it can be debated how effectively it worked) to reward creative people, put them in front of thousands of people, and to invest in them.
Ches Campbell from SWA Group -
I think the more access we have, the more creativity can take place. Without the tools to do things, we can’t create…...the best example for me would be digital cameras and photoshop. I can do all the photo imaging I want on my own in my house, or at a coffee shop or anywhere without having to own a bunch of equipment or going to a studio somewhere. Same with other forms of digital media. It inspires me to actually go for it and do somethign instead thinking “I should do this,” because I actually have the means to do things
Charlie Trotter from Trabian:
One interesting side-effect I’ve experienced lately is how that affects people who make their living being creative. I can jump on Vimeo or Flickr or LOLZIES! and post my latest fit of creativity to rave reviews. They are pieces I feel good about, am proud of, etc. When people do those kinds of things for fun, I think we get some really interesting, organic pieces of creative work. But when I try to bring that energy into my professional work, it’s more challenging because now I’m trying to please several different people with several different subjective views. I wonder how this generation will react to professional pursuits having grown up with the creative enabling social media offers, because many of them will have spent so much time creatively only answering to themselves.
Brad Garland from The Garland Group -
From a business perspective, it allows the small businesses of the world (AKA the mom and pop's) to compete on a level playing field with any other company, no matter the marketing budget. SmBs have the ability to promote themselves and share and connect with other that they once couldn't afford before. For example, our company is essentially created a television station for viewers of the financial services world. Yes, it wouldn't show up on the top 1000 channels on your cable box but we are able to connect, network, and share with those that are interested in that field. We've had over 22K views of our content over the last 3 months and because of that content, it has turned into magazine articles, speaking engagements, consultant jobs, and connecting with people that we would not had the opportunity before.
Cheryl Doerksen from Currency Marketing -
Well on one hand I think that it definitely serves to encourage and stimulate creativity. With such easy access and easy to use tools, people are able to work on their own little projects without feeling the often creativity-constraining pressure of the cost factor. On the other hand one could argue that it begins to dilute creativity because people start to put everything up as ‘creations’ that may or may not have originally been dubbed as something born out of creativity as much as boredom. As a job I think that more and more people are (or should be) being encouraged to exercise their creativity and access to these things enables that movement and increasing prioritization of the importance of expressing and fostering creativity.
Chad Gowan from All Speeds -
I think it opens up a lot of doors to dabble, maybe effects ones focus on what they really excel in. But another perspective could be that it doesn’t limit people from finding that one niche or the creative outlet that makes them all fuzzy inside.
Daniel Miller from The Leet World -
It sets the talented people apart, content is king. If your content is good, the theory is that it should rise to the top. Thats not always the case (unfortunately), thats what the internet brings to the table. The flip side to the coin is while making content is cheap, and its a great creative outlet, its hard to get noticed by someone who wants to pay you for your intellectual property. Its like finding a needle in a haystack the size of the Pacific Ocean. And i think alot of people want to say that creating something is a reward in itself. When you have to work a day job for 9 hours a day, then go home and do a hobby for free it starts to wear on you. It's a double edged sword. /end rant
Carter Martin from CM Design -
  • Competition is now in theory infinite
  • There’s no excuse not to try
  • The cream continues to rise to the top, no one is ignorant / ambitious enough to keep cracking away at creative things unless there is some form of audience or they’re making a living off of it.
  • Most creativity is spawned from within, but its continuation is for the most part based on the positive or negative reaction of others. Any reaction is reason to continue, but silence kills the spirit.
Thanks to everyone I talked to for your perspectives. I feel lucky and thankful to have smart friends. Care to weigh in?

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