Monday, 24 August 2015

Hyperconnectedness leads to hyperactivity

Although the term "hyperconnected" already exists, I will use the following user-centric definition: the embedding of an individual within the internet - the individual's omnipresence on the web. People have all sorts of outlets for posting, storing, and sharing all sorts of content: for example, you can post your photos on Facebook, Google Photos, Instagram, Flikr, Snapchat, etc.; you can blog on Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, etc.; you can write about articles, news, your day and your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.; you can exchange information on Quora, Reddit, etc. and links on Pintrest and Delicious; you can share your professional information on LinkedIn, your video creations on YouTube, Vimeo, and Vine. You get the point. Although there is some redundancy to some of these internet services, they also have enough of their own features that they can be tailored for particular use cases (not to mention slightly different communities and audiences). I've personally found that there are enough differentiating features (at this point at least) to warrant separate posts on separate sites. And what does this all lead to? Hyperactivity, I claim.


With so many ideas, thoughts, suggestions, and opinions swirling around, a whole world of possibilities opens up to the individual - from digesting all the content that is posted, to posting one's own content. The posts of others inspire one to create and do, and the social interconnectedness - the awareness that your content will be widely seen - drive one to post as well. This self-reinforcing vicious cycle is the perfect breeding ground for creativity and content-creation. We live not just in the information age - we live in the creativity age*. Yes, people have always created before, but now that creations are visible to the whole world, they can stand on the shoulders of creative giants. Ideas are exchanged and evolve at the speed of fiber optics. People hyperactively create.

* side note: because creativity correlates with content-creation here, we're generating significantly more data than ever before; stay tuned for a very intelligent (and creative) Internet of Things!

At this point, the discussion portion of this blog post ends, and I share my excitement for some of the awesomeness on the creative web below. These are the reasons why there are never enough hours in the day, or years in a lifetime. I am constantly inspired by how many different things people master and how creative they can be in all forms of things and activities. The rest of this post can be summarized as #peopleareawesome.

The activities I list below may at first glance seem like a random sampling, but they're a set of activities that are united by the ability to do them without being a total expert (with some practice you can already achieve something!) and the ability to do them on the side (as a hobby, for short periods of time, with limited equipment).

Electronics, robotics, RC

My 15-year-old brother has learned to put together electronics and build RC vehicles, planes, boats, and drones by watching lots of YouTube videos. This is the type of knowledge that no traditional education can deliver at such a density and speed. This creative maker culture is largely driven by being part of a large community of like-minded individuals (no matter what age) that positively reinforce each other via posts, discussions, and likes. An individual not connected to the internet might have a very small community (if any) with much sparser positive reinforcement, which I claim would result in fewer amazing creations.

New art styles

Art is a hobby of mine, and I'm big on constantly trying new things. There's always something new that the web coughs up in this regard, beyond the traditional styles of sketching and painting. For instance, consider these widely diverging artistic styles:

                                                     check out the art of wood burning

and the art of painting on birch bark

and painting by wet felting

and check out this crazy video of candle carving

also check out: 

Scrapbooking and crafting

personal memories and trips can be creatively captured in scrapbooks

Culinary masterpieces

Judging by the popularity of cooking channels, and food-, cooking-, and baking-related tags and posts on different social networks, people love to share the dishes, recipes, and culinary masterpieces that they create. I mean, just look at this:

and themed foods for any occasion: 

Travel blogs and photography

I'm also hugely inspired by all the travel blogs people put together. Not only do they find the time to visit amazing places and capture them from all sorts of beautiful angles, they also blog about it:

The really creative also put together annotated, narrated, and musical slideshows and videos.

I'm not even going to go into all the amazing photography people do. I will leave you with this:

Data visualization

Both an art and a science, how to visually depict data is very relevant in this day and age. I'm inspired by creativity, once again:

Creative writing

Other than blog writing, I like the idea of creating writing on-the-side to de-stress and get some brain juices flowing - here's some things worth trying and checking out (and possibly submitting to if you're extra adventurous): short SF stories, poetry, funny captions.

Another form of "creative writing" is putting together tutorials, explanations, etc. on all sorts of topics that interest you. It allows you to organize your thoughts and attempt to explain some content with a specific audience in mind. I love to write, explain, and write explanations, but if only there was more time in a day...

How it all ties together

People inspire others by taking photos of their creations and posting them on photo-sharing sites, they create videos of the how-to process to motivate others to try, and they bookmark ideas/links they like. They then blog or tweet or chirp about their process and final products and otherwise share their creations with their social networks and the world. The resulting online interactions (sharing of ideas, discussions, comments, and likes) sparks the next cycle of creativity, and on it goes. (I posted some of the pictures above with the intention of inspiring others to try some new things as well.)

In short, there is no shortage of activities to occupy oneself with if there is some time on the side. Of all the activities and links listed above, I've tried about 70%. I am definitely hyperactive when it comes to creating, and the internet age is fueling a lot of that for me by constantly feeding me new ideas. I believe that when you try new things, you expand your brain (perhaps via the number of new connections/associations you make), which benefits you in many more ways than you first might think. I believe that engaging in all manner of creative activities has long-lasting positive effects on intellectual capability and psychological well-being, and that instead of plopping down statically to watch something, creating something keeps your brain "better-exercised", so to say.