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Social networking: the death of creativity

The modern dilemma of creatives: staying in touch with your audience - increasingly expected these days - versus actually, y'know creating stuff. As always, xkcd speaks most clearly in its minimalist way:

Constraints
Click the image to see the xkcd website.

LJ and other blogs often require a lot more thought and attention per entry to update and read than the other social-networking sites, but Twitter requires constant attention to make any sense of at all.

The most productive I ever am is when I'm offline.

How about you?

If so, why are you reading this? ;-)

Chris

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
etcet
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
I LJ/FB/Twit from work, when I have moments between needing to brain to fuck off. :-)

When it's writing time, everything except for the skype window I have with my collaborator and whatever text editor I'm using get closed for the duration.
mckitterick
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
I guess I sort of do a similar thing in that I do my social-networking stuff before I really dig into grading/etc. However, I leave my email on all day (except when I'm writing), and that pulls one in a million directions per hour.

I need a cabin in the frakkin' woods to write! Or to just turn off the interwebs... but there's so many quick answers to things out there....

I couldn't possibly work with a Skype window open - wow! Do you two talk the entire time you're writing? You must have the opposite of ADD.
etcet
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
Well, skype, for me, is basically the same as having someone else sitting in an armchair across the room - it's how I've conducted the majority of my current romantic-relationship-at-a-distance (the term of art we've coined is "digital (or virtual) roommates"), so it's less a constant conversation than a less invasive form of IM - essentially turning the computer into a speaker-phone.

(In case that's confusing, my collaborator is a different person than my girlfriend.)

My email stream in the evenings is fairly light; the main inbox is either social stuff i'm interested in, or second-job stuff that's easy to ignore for a couple of hours; second mailbox is almost exclusively spam and facebook alerts.

Fundamentally, though, once I get myself settled into the writing/creative zone (check out John Cleese's excellent discussion of this on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VShmtsLhkQg ) I'm good to drill through almost uninterrupted for the best part of an hour (if i get really into the zone, it can go longer than that)
tully01
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
Upfront: I don't tweet. It requires far too much attention to keep up, and I already have plenty of things I need to focus on. If I'm going to use that much attention I could be doing MUCH more productive things.
mckitterick
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
I have a Twitter account, but I simply do not see the appeal (except to read, say, Conan O'Brien's hilarious tweets). If I didn't have a day-job, maybe it would be awesome... but it would still consume far too much focus and energy.
etcet
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
As someone who leaves a twitter client up in the background much of the time, but has hardly optimized the experience... it's only demanding if you let it be. It's like facebook's unfiltered wall: lots of quick things and only the occasional conversational salvo, and there's no obligation or expectation to need to review anything you've missed overnight, or while you're at work, unless you want to.

setting up groups or lists to filter folks you follow, as is done both here and on fb and wherever else, is one of the techniques folks with a lot of folks on their follow lists do (I don't, but my read list seems pretty readable and manageable at around 400 folks, only a couple of dozen of whom are prolific).
professormass
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
Twitter is pointless and has next to no effect on people's marketability. It's a rube's game.
saffronhare
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
I do a lot of business and marketing writing -- not fiction or particularly creative, which probably makes a difference. I find it exercises different brain "muscles," much like cross-training, to figure out how I can make a message clear, compelling, or actionable within certain limitations.

That said, I consider most social networking to be "play time" and generally only indulge in it after work and family obligations are satisfied.
mckitterick
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it often feels like "play time," though I also get most of my cool news this way nowadays - and in fact such news led me to several articles and subsequent updates to one of my course websites.

Being a human in the Age of Teh Interwebs is hard!
mckitterick
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
LOL!
xjenavivex
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
I am so guilty.

I like keeping up with your LJ though.
mckitterick
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
:-D
rose_lemberg
Apr. 20th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
I find my online community crucial for my writing and editing. I interact with folks mostly on LJ and by email. If not for my community, I would not write this much, and I most certainly would not edit. Creativity breeds creativity, for me. I do twitter occasionally(a few tweets a week). For me, it is just fine in small doses.
silverfae
Apr. 21st, 2012 03:29 am (UTC)

I get a lot more ideas bubbling on social networking, and of course, have to turn the connections off in order to think things through.
If I don't, I end up thinking up wonderful things in the shower and lose them while I'm toweling off for lack of other time to have my own thoughts in my own head.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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