Space for creativity

Once upon a time the internet was a sparse place consisting of online chatrooms and ugly websites.

For millennials the advent of the modern internet at the dawn of the century was exhilarating.

We could connect with people anywhere in the world. MSN messenger was a revelation, goodbye broadband and 12p texts. Hello connectivity and the ability to talk to strangers on the other side of the world.

MSN Messenger emojis

It enabled me to imagine a different future outside of my bored suburban existence. It was a spark for creativity, I had access to new information to teach myself new skills. The world felt bigger, brighter and exciting.

And for a while this is how it remained. The websites became more sophisticated, social media networks emerged. The technology in our pockets became more sophisticated. We started to move much of our creativity from the analog world to emerging digital world.

This huge surge in digital innovation has been amazing to witness. Just the other day I watched the Louis Theroux documentary on Jimmy Saville. It showed footage from the year 2000. It was shocking to see how dated everything looked.

The world has changed beyond recognition in the 15 years since. 9/11, illegal wars, the emergence of networked technologies. Throw in the 2008 financial meltdown and failure of the neoliberal economic project. And here we find ourselves. Donald Trump is running for President, the UK are leaving the EU, whilst people are dying trying to enter the EU.

These are strange times indeed. Our devices, this laptop, my iphone these are blessings but perhaps the pace of technological change has been too quick for us to fully adapt to.

I recently took the small step of deleting my Facebook app. (Yes, I know, a small step). Yet, I have found more time for reading and creative thinking.

I feel less stressed. Less anxious. As we move forward into a post-capitalist future, technology will continue to be important.

Yet, as I often discuss with my good friend Gregg Lowe who deserves a mention in this article. ‘Something is stirring’, so many people we know are choosing to delete apps. Taking digital detox’s or going analog and ditching their smartphone.

In this era of connectivity and globalisation we have the tendency to look outwards. Generally it has made us a more tolerant and understanding society. We want to collaborate with others, we can dream beyond our borders.

Around me I feel like I am witnessing people needing to create more space for high quality digital time. Less, mindless Facebook scrolling more active engagement in the physical world around us.

Our minds have been subject to a great experiment. The stimulation we get from warm social interactions on Facebook has been found to be a-kin to the stimulation from doing cocaine.

A generation of millennials are now starting to question their metaphorical 20 a day digital habit.

I am still hyped about the potential of technology to connect people and reduce inequality. I am excited about crypto currency and the democratisation of information. I believe that in the future it will be harder for government’s and businesses to do harm and get away with it.

I am just entering a different era. Damien digital 2.0 — more analog, less distractions, endless possibilities.

About the author:

Damien Clarkson is a writer and creative who designs social change campaigns, makes films and run’s the vegan festival Vevolution.