September 22, 2023

Echoes of the Digital Age

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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6 min read

This is the last part of the series that I’ve been running.

If you haven’t read the previous ones (spoiler alert: they all link together), I would highly recommend you read them before this one.

Part 1: Diving into The Myth of Originality.

Part 2: How renowned figures like Steve Jobs, Picasso, and the Wright brothers drew their influences.

Part 3: How the mind makes ideas, and how an artist's and a scientist's creative process isn’t all that different.

In the last part of the series, we’re going to dive deep into the modern challenges and opportunities we’re facing with creativity in the digital age.

Creativity in Today’s Digital Age

A few taps on a smartphone, a few keystrokes, and voilà—you've just posted something for the entire world to see.

Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, X (Twitter), and Medium have democratized content creation.

What was once reserved for professionals only, is now available to everybody.

We’re witnessing an era where the tools to create and the platforms to showcase are easily accessible like never before.

Everyone can become a creator.

And yet, paradoxically, it feels harder to leave a lasting impact.

Why?

Because when everyone ‘speaks’, it’s hard to hear individual voices.

The digital realm becomes a noisy place to be in—it’s crowded.

Every day, millions of new pieces of content are uploaded. Videos, blogs, photos, podcasts, etc.—each fighting for attention.

Think about it.

Today, a teenager can make decent videos with just their smartphone that once required expensive gear.

Even ideas have found their express lane—tweets (I don’t know what to else call them).

What began as a thought can spark and create communities, build movements with like-minded people, or initiate interesting conversations.

But with all of this ease comes challenges.

In the vast ocean of content, it has become challenging to be seen, to resonate, and to truly connect with people.

There’s a constant battle to be relevant, stay creative, and just go with the flow.

Rapid Consumption Culture and the Fading of Digital Content

Have you ever noticed how quickly content fades?

Remember that viral video everyone talked about last week?

Or the trend that had all of us hooked just a few months ago?

Neither do I.

They seem like distant memories, right?

Today’s online masterpiece becomes tomorrow’s ancient history—that’s the essence of our rapid consumption era.

There’s this constant hunger for the ‘new’.

Every social media platform feeds us with the most recent.

It’s a cycle of create > post > consume > forget, and then repeat.

Think about the creators, artists, and writers who spent many hours, days, or even weeks crafting their masterpieces.

But the digital world can sometimes be cruel—no matter how much effort goes into the creation—the shelf life of content is brief.

Imagine if Leonardo da Vinci lived today, would he succumb to the pressure of the digital era?

As a creator, how does one balance between creating content that resonates deeply, but also fits the fast-paced rhythm of the digital landscape?

The Paradox of Choice and Analysis Paralysis

In the realm of creation—be it art, writing, design, or any other form—the overabundance of information presents a unique challenge.

Inspiration is no longer limited to a few sources. We have social platforms, blogs, and forums that show a lot of good work.

Sounds like a dream, right?

But too much inspiration can sometimes hinder our creativity.

It’s called analysis paralysis.

With countless directions to take and ideas, you can end up feeling overwhelmed.

It’s like being at a crossroads with many different paths. Which one to pick?

And if you’re focusing on taking ‘the best one’, you might not even take anything at all.

Harnessing the Collective Minds

It all sounds so doom and gloom, but hear me out.

Despite the challenges in the digital age, it has also opened opportunities in the realm of collaboration.

Now, we can foster collective creativity—across the globe.

A programmer from Asia, a designer from Europe, and a content creator from Africa, are all working together on a project.

Tools like Github for developers, and Figma for designers have democratized the creative process.

We have even shared document platforms and virtual meeting rooms where brainstorming sessions can happen.

Multiple people can co-create in real-time.

That cultivates the collective learning that I talked about in one of my previous issues. We build on each other’s ideas, we share perspectives and cultural nuances, and we tell stories.

When diverse minds from various parts of the world come together.

You’re not just getting a solution, you’re getting the best of what creativity can offer.

Thriving in the Digital World

The digital realm is vast—constantly evolving at the speed of light.

Things change—a lot.

Imagine an app or software you felt like you’d mastered—boom! A new update comes along.

This ever-shifting digital landscape is not a barrier where we should get angry. It’s an invitation to learn, adapt, and stay hungry.

But more than just learning new software or platforms, it’s about having the right mindset.

You can choose to see these rapid changes as challenges or as opportunities.

And also… remember when I talked about originality?

About how every idea, every spark, is essentially a chain reaction of inspirations.

Now, transfer that thought to the world of digital creations.

Each digital work, whether it’s writing, art, design, or video, is more than just pixels on a screen.

It’s a narrative—a story.

Every retake, edit, or revision isn’t just a mere change—the creator adds their fresh take on a previous thought.

Think about this. Two people could start with the same base idea and yet end up with two different outputs.

How so?

Based on a series of choices, influenced by past experiences, current inspirations, and future aspirations.

This results in a piece that is unique to the creator.

In the digital age, where copying is easy and ideas spread like wildfire, our unique journey becomes our true markers of creativity.

We all start with a blank canvas (that’s okay).

It’s through our influences, personal touch, thoughts, trials, and errors, that we create work that would make someone go, “Ohh, that’s different.”

And whether the recipient likes it or not, it’s all up to them.

But for you as an artist, creator, designer, writer, or whatever your creative occupation is—get inspired, make art, share your creative process, and keep going!

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