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Does Instagram Help Or Hinder Creativity?

Updated: Mar 17


An open notebook sitting on a wooden background with a black pen on top of it. The words 'Do creatives really need instagram?' on the opposite page

As people who have spent years harnessing our creative powers, do we need to blindly hand this over to a company to make (a lot) of money out of us in the hope we might eventually 'be seen'.


Wow that started quite deep didn't it!


I've become increasingly interested in this relationship that the world has with Instagram. Honestly, the more I look into this transaction, the more annoyed I become with it all.


A Different Relationship

Starting out as a place to hoard ideas and share nice things, it all seemed harmless and a good way to keep in touch with friends. Somewhere along the line, algorithms and advertising took over. A panic set in to join the fast flowing river of the newsfeed and the pressure to create perfect content to serve up to the algorithm made everything a bit more desperate and intense.


I noticed that my attention span had been shrinking and drawing for more than 10 minutes felt like an impossible task. Did consuming the fast paced content create this problem? What would happen if I started to consume longer form content and invested my time into making work that would stick around for longer?


If you've seen The Social Dilemma on Netflix, you'll know that these sites are built to be addictive. Keeping you online and holding your attention makes more money for the platforms as they sell your attention to advertisers.


A Catalyst For Change

In October 2021, the Facebook owned apps crashed for a few hours. Loosing years of time, energy and attention to the Instagram crash was enough for me to loose trust in the platform. It could all disappear over night without as much as a warning or a 'sorry.'


If social media wasn't available 24/7 would we use it differently? What if we couldn't access it beyond 6pm on weekdays, for example.


Moving Forwards

I thought about sharing posts online and running away from the app again but actually, I didn't feel happy that I was contributing to that noise or keeping the attention spans of my audience short too. I want to encourage creativity and not play a part in keeping other people addicted.


Conclusion

I'm either all on Instagram or all off it, I can't find a middle ground where I'm not feeling the addiction and draw to open the app. So instead I'm going to wonder off for a while and find a better solution, a better use of my time and energy.


I'm not saying that you should join me in my run for the hills. Just being aware of how much you are giving to this platform is a huge step. You are a creative person and you can find more creative ways to advertise and market your work.


Take a break, it'll all still be there when you go back to it.


How's your relationship with Instagram? Have you found a more productive way to promote your work than using these 'free' sites?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments



More interesting bits:

Online Habits Killing The Planet An interesting documentary on Channel 4 about the environmental impact of our online habits.

How Instagram Changed Our World The Guardian article


If you'd like to know more about who owns your images, this is an interesting article by Which?

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