DOES INSTAGRAM AID OR BLOCK CREATIVITY?

Sunday, January 8, 2017


My dad recently forwarded me an article about why this blogger/writer didn’t have social media. To put it simply, he didn’t have it because he was afraid it would interfere with his productivity and his priorities, and he didn’t want any added distractions in his life.
The article wasn’t about creativity necessarily, but it led me to ponder a question that’s been dancing in the back of my head for a while: Does Instagram aid or block creativity?

Instagram, besides Pinterest, is one of the social medias that is heralded as a sort of creative outlet. (I’m actually part of the sect that believes Pinterest is a site that doesn’t truly stoke creativity, but thankfully, I’m not talking about that right now, so please don’t stone me.) People have used Instagram to launch their artistic and entrepreneurial careers; many bloggers practically idolize it. It’s a fast, easy way for people to explore and self-publish their own photography and maybe include snippets of their lives for the whole Internet to partake of.
I enjoy Instagram. I like looking at the lovely pictures, and I appreciate the opportunity it gives me to be artsy. But while I do spend a great deal of time doing what I’d consider to be creative work (i.e., taking and editing photos, as well as composing captions), I can’t deny that there’s the *slightest* chance I spend more time stalking other people and wasting time on it than I’m actually creative on it.

Those gosh darn memes.

Furthermore, looking through dozens and dozens of Instagram accounts has made me realize that it might not be as creative a haven as I thought. While there are some truly talented photographers (*cough cough* @hinfluencercollective), many accounts all look the same, as if they’re trying to replicate one another. Sometimes I spend more time trying to match my feed than being authentically myself.

[I pause the post to take a deep breath and laugh at myself, because this is truly one of the most millennial-like posts I’ve ever written and published. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.]

I believe that social media, as a rule, kills creativity. Have you ever noticed your brain going fuzzier and fuzzier the longer you spend staring at a screen? Have you ever noticed you spend more time thinking about the things you don’t have and the feed you don’t have and the life you don’t have the more you spend time looking at other people’s feeds?
I’ve noticed it, and I’m trying to stop. I’ve been trying to look up, get out, and spend more time proactively creating than simply absorbing other people’s creations. It’s been hard, but I’m trying. As of right now, I believe that Instagram kills creativity--not in it of itself, but through the ways people use it, and particularly the way I use it. It’s entertainment. It’s empty blank space, information we don’t really need.
And so I’m trying to think of it more as a space for creative experimentation and not necessarily a place where I’m inspired. Because, truth be told, though the feeds are pretty, they don’t inspire me that much.

What do you think? Does Instagram inspire you, or does it block your own creativity? How do you use it? Do you set rules for yourself?

17 comments

  1. Hey, this is so interesting! I don't have any social media other than Pinterest, so I wouldn't know . . . *shrugs*

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    1. good for you, haha! it's kind of addictive :)

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  2. I don't really use Instagram much myself, but I know something of it. I can see why people think it's a creative space, but I also know from personal experience that, sometimes, we spend so much time creating images for the internet that we could be using more productively. Spending time on images isn't necessarily a problem, but it can definitely be a waste of time if we don't think carefully about the purpose.

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  3. "Have you ever noticed your brain going fuzzier and fuzzier the longer you spend staring at a screen?" <Um YES. Definitely. I don't have Instagram, though my sister says I should get it sometime, but I feel like this is so applicable to Pinterest too, which I really enjoy.

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    1. Oh and also, I went to that Instagram profile you mentioned, and their pictures are sooo cool! I pinned one.

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    2. haha, i love the H Influencer community! they feature some really great photographers :)

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  4. I love Instagram for my personal use - I use it to connect and keep up with my friends (often more than facebook tbh). But for my blog - I'm not so sure I enjoy it. However, it seems to be a good way to meet new bloggers soooo. I only use Pinterest occasionally these days, because it's depressing to see all the stuff I don't have etc., like you said.

    Great post, food for thought! :)

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    1. true, it's great for connection. i personally don't use pinterest that much either.

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  5. Woah, I don't think I even realized I needed this, it's true though, while Instagram tends to inspire me, sometimes I feel like I post pictures in a mere attempt to be as good as someone else, I try not to get too caught up in it all though, I do really like Instagram when it isn't stressing me out and I can just be creative.

    Awesome post!

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    1. thank you!! + i agree w you. sometimes it's hard to not consider other people's thoughts and opinions of you when you post something.

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  6. I feel like Instagram can do both. It does often inspire me, and I've found that it's a great way to connect with others. But at the same time, if I use it for super long periods of time, it totally drains me. I think it's all a matter of time management.

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    1. true! it's not good to spend too much time on any one thing.

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  7. I really loved reading this post...especially since I gave up both Instagram and Pinterest this past summer. I can definitely say that it wasn't fun or easy, and I don't know if I can honestly say life is really different w/o it..But all the points you mentioned are so valid too.

    I don't know...really. This post is food for thought though =)

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    1. good for you! i gave up twitter for about a month, and all the voices in my head got a little quieter, but instagram's a little more...thoughtful, i guess, and the accounts i follow are really encouraging. so i think it just depends.

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  8. actually, i think pinterest is really inspiring but instagram is more just for fun but still cool for photography:) this post was so interesting!!

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