Has the Internet made us better at creative thinking? There’s been a huge swath of articles over the past several years debating whether the Internet has made us more stupid or smart. Here’s a short list of its strengths and weaknesses.
The Digitalista would say the Internet gives us more creative fuel by allowing …
- Instant communications with more types/diversity of people from a larger network
- Instant information (facts, research, intelligence)research, ideas, concepts, intelligence)
- Instant inspiration and exposure (ideas, concepts, trends, options) – IOW, flowing in of stimulation
- Instant self-expression – IOW, flowing out of stimulation
- Less to remember, so our minds can do more important tasks – like make ideas
- Remote working, allowing us to create in environments more conducive to our personality and style
In other words, the Internet harnesses our creative thinking through a larger collective consciousness. As my friend Teresa said, It makes me feel creative.
The Luddite would say the Internet limits our creative fuel by making us …
- Overwhelmed with mostly useless information
- Less able to organise and prioritise
- Less able to focus
- Less able to reflect
- Less human / more dependent upon machines and tools
- Less connected to people by sight or touch (vs. by screen or by tweet)
So, while the Internet might make us feel more creative, it’s very likely to also be a barrier to our productivity by being a disruptive presence, albeit one that’s addictive to boot.
Perhaps a more realistic answer is that the Internet is a tool like any other. To be effective, it needs to have a purpose, to be used properly and with control, and have proper context. It’s about intent and balance.
In part 2, some ground rules for brainstorming in a digital world.