Is Social Technology Kindling or Killing Creativity?


The launch of iOS10 last week brought with it an updated iMessage that allows users to write in invisible ink, send handwritten notes and create animations. These additions allow for a new level of creative personalisation when it comes to communicating, a trend we have seen emerge more and more across social media.

Whilst previously social media platforms were used largely for documenting lives with sentimental purpose, they are now being used more and more as a way to express a personal sense of creativity. Excelled by the popularity of snapchat and Instagram, the shift has got us wondering whether the filters, emojis and other essentially frivolous tools are actually helping creativity, or limiting us to a rather formulaic form of self-expression.

With a finite number of filter options to choose from, and a limited number of colours to doodle with, every time a user attempts to deliver a personalised piece of content, it is always reminiscent of something that has come before. These limitations, though constraining for personal expression, are ideal for a brand’s pursuit of creating a distinct yet definable character. Brands such as Nike and Starbucks have acted masterfully in utilising visual social media to develop their personalities, and have been rewarded with giant followings as a result.

Just a few days ago self-proclaimed technology devotee Kanye West took to twitter to declare he’s doing away with his smartphone, citing the reason as wanting to ‘have air to create’.

With technology showing no sign of slowing down when it comes to delivering new ways to communicate and develop a personal identity, we too wonder whether these tools and developments will be of benefit to creativity. Or will they in fact hinder and stand in the way of people making something more rich, creative and nuanced.

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