Why Your Social Feed is Killing Your Creativity (& What to do about it!)
As a blogger and artist, social media is my friend. It goes hand in hand with my goals and is frankly also an easy source of entertainment. If you think about why your social feed is killing your creativity you might come up with a few answers or you might view it as an endless fountain of inspiration.
Still, sometimes I wonder if it’s really the best use of my time, skills, and life. Do I think that social media is some sort of candy-coated source of evil? No. Do I think that it might hamper creativity? Yes and no.
On VR I shy away from being purely negative. I don’t think there is much point in ranting about something if you’re not going to offer up an alternative or a solution to the problem. So today, instead of simply telling you why your social feed is killing your creativity I’m also going to tell you how to fix it!
Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As time goes on it’s just going to get more and more pervasive and will become even more so a part of our everyday lives. You shouldn’t take an extremist approach and try to expel it from your life. Instead, you should try to manage it just like the number of cookies you eat, the number of episodes you binge in a day or how frequently you shop online.
Ever start scrolling through your favorite Twitter hashtag and then realize that an hour has gone? Some creative ideas come in an instant and others develop and emerge over time. The thing with social media is that although you can be inspired by the rapid-fire content of others you’ll often find yourself losing track of time.
The Fix: Set a Time Limit
For me, I’ve recently allowed myself 30 minutes for Pinterest and 30 minutes for Twitter each day. Do I go over that time limit? Sometimes. Still, I find that it helps me to set a timer on it. When I’ve passed my time it’s easier for me to wrap things up than when I didn’t have a limit.
There Is No Off Switch
Along with losing time, another reason why your social feed is killing your creativity are those pesky notifications. How can you think long enough to see through a new project or to write a blog post if your phone is going off every other minute with notifications from the several dozen apps on your phone?
Not only that but unlike a TV episode there is no “off” button for social media. Every second of every day someone is pinning, tweeting, snapping and YouTubing. With Netflix, you can finish an episode and be done. You can finish a series and be done. With social there is always something new to see and that neverending cycle can easily suck you in.
The Fix: Turn Off (Some) Notifications
Back when everyone was freaking out about the new Instagram changes I discussed why I wouldn’t be turning on post notifications.
Since writing that I’ve also gone on to turn off or lessen quite a few other alerts for apps both within and outside of the realm of social. Since doing this my phone has stopped disrupting my work days, my weekends and my creative thinking!
I’ve mentioned blogger envy briefly before but the same could be applied to anyone in any industry ever. Creatives can be more sensitive to the comparison game but I’m sure if anyone sees enough perfect Instagram shots of someone’s massive yacht, their stunning trip to the Amalfi Coast, or their sold-out art show your self-esteem might buckle.
It’s natural and nothing to beat yourself up for but it should still be dealt with.
The Fix: Put it in Perspective
Someone else out there is feeling the same way you are. There is someone who cropped out those photo bombers, amped up that saturation and brightened up those highlights the same way as you. To a degree, it’s all a fake curation of life (Click to Tweet). It’s not life. Remember that the next time you feel like whatever you’re creating isn’t as good as what so and so just posted.
Too Many Voices
I think one of the best ways to create something amazing is through collaborating and taking ideas from all over to make something new. Still, there are so many opinions on the internet that if you’re not careful you could end up drowning out your own thoughts.
When you do this you also put yourself at risk for entering analysis paralysis. I don’t want you to have a great idea that never comes to fruition just because you’re comparing and overanalyzing it.
The Fix: Take Time For Yourself
In order to prevent yourself from remaining in a constant state of planning, you should take some time away. Make a habit of checking in with yourself. See what you want and what you think and then add or subtract what other people have to say accordingly.
Negativity (Yours & Others)
The internet is a great place to showcase your talent with the world and connect with like-minded individuals from all over the world. Still, haters are everywhere and social media is no different.
Sometimes you’ll come across a Negative Nancy in the comments section and other times you’ll encounter a venomous Twitter rant. You may, at times, even be the source of the negativity. Maybe every time you check in with a certain Instagrammer you start nitpicking your own life. None of that is good for your creative spirit!
The Fix: Unfollow to Infinity!
There is no rule that says you have to continue to follow someone just because you like them. Maybe you’ve realized that every time you see all those overflowing comments on one person’s posts you fall into a self-esteem death trap. If so, unfollow – immediately! You don’t have to dislike a person in order to unfollow them.
With each person that we follow we allow another perspective and retelling of someone else’s life into our lives. The moment that added a bit of information stops being helpful, inspirational or beneficial to us is the moment that we should check out.
When it comes down to it social media is nowhere near as important as whatever lights you up and ignites your spark. If your social feed is killing your creativity in any way then you need to take a step back and adjust the way it exists within your life. You don’t need to totally unplug but there’s nothing wrong with setting limits and putting it into perspective.
Do you think your social feed is killing your creativity? How do you manage it?