Of Digital Natives, and productivity vs. creativity.


Image by Miss Gong & The Flickers [Licence]

Few days ago I managed to stumble on these two very interesting posts, here’s Jess’ and here’s Joss’ post talking about the definition of Digital Natives – if you are interested in the subject, I’d suggest you read these posts and the comments. Here’s some of my thoughts I got from this subject.

About the so-called Digital Natives

I believe the young people, and some of the more enlightened elders like Joss :), tend to learn and take the new technologies in use more easily than others. Of course if you grow into something, same like in a culture or a language, it comes more naturally to you.

I’ve already seen how little by little there has been forming a small gap between people who know the web and who live the web. For example in people of my age, I know people who are like me: they know almost every other service that is out there, implement them in to use with no sweat and learn very fast the new ones too. But there are also people out there who ask questions like “Twitter, what’s that?” and still find the E-mail as the thing of keeping in touch. Of course there’s people in between too.

This isn’t stupidity from the latter, it’s more that people don’t care, they got other things to do. In my mind this forms an important question: how important are some services, status updates and being ‘online’? It is a matter of are these things giving something back to you, something more than just being a past-time pleasure?

Productivity vs. Creativity

Other thing I began to ponder through these blog posts was that is the so-called new web helping [or making] us to be more creative? I think that the easiness of some sites and services like Facebook makes us share, spread and product content faster, but doesn’t raise our level of creativity. I consider it to [among other things of course] feed the same urge that some people feed with TV, but more socially. Sharing and forwarding content other people have created isn’t that creative. And yes, I do that also, so this is as much considering me too.

But creating in itself is something that you make out of nothing; you invent new things and the basis is in your experiences from your history and how things have affected you.

I think the easiness of some sites and services gives us the possibility of sharing our creativity if we choose to. This is for example what I’m currently doing as I’m writing this post. I’m also sharing information from other peoples posts, but also creating and sharing new thoughts I invented and pondered through the impulses these other posts gave me. The easiness comes from that I don’t have to spend my time in finding out how I can get these lines to the web.

In this lies the downfall of the shared information – there’s too much poor content out there because anyone can write about how they went to the store today x 100000. I’m not saying my blog is more significant than others, but I try to write only when I have something to say, not because I’m trying to keep the 4 posts/week meter running. I just can’t do that, because writing for writing doesn’t come naturally for me and I feel stupid. That’s why I sometimes feel blogging as such isn’t the right format for me, I feel more like a columnist in a way.

But back to the subject and for the ending paragraph: I feel that programs, sites and services which let us share our creative outcomes are great for our creativity, but most likely you’ve heard how the web is divided to those who share, those who partisipate, those who create etc, and the sum of those who create is much smaller than the others. So in this light too, I don’t quite believe that web is making us as a collective to be more creative. It’s just reflecting the situation as it is in the real life – everyone isn’t a writer or a musician, but many people enjoy [and consume] these things. Nowadays it’s just easier to share you love for them.


One thought on “Of Digital Natives, and productivity vs. creativity.

  1. Marko, thank you for the well-pondered thoughts.

    As you said, the web 2.0 reflects the way people are: some are creators, others are consumers and most of us are something in between. The web itself doesn’t make anyone more creative than he or she already is.

    I actually hate the nonsense and no-use data the social web helps us (including me) produce: all the Facebook quizzes, needless Twitter-statuses and spontaneously started and then abandoned blogs. Web 2.0 gives us wrong illusion: the illusion that we are more creative or social than before.

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