Does creativity thrive in an age of an overabundance of technology?

In a generation full of technological advances, where we can wirelessly transmit data through our airwaves at high speeds. As the peak to the mountain of innovation gets pushed ever higher with each new creation, beautiful artwork stands at an arms length. It requires almost no effort to produce quality work with such powerful tools at our fingertips. We have the ability to download the same programs that professional designers, moviemakers, and musicians use in the studio everyday. We have access to a growing, current, and varied wealth of information that releases its content to us at little to no cost; where professional people share their opinions and techniques with the masses for rarely ever a reason but imparting knowledge on other interested souls. It's overwhelming, exhilarating, to say the least. It's never been quite so easy to learn about, essentially, whatever we want.

In our professional lives, its relatively easy to to forget how blessed we are by such advances. Professional applications, the Internet, and tutorials aid in our constant pursuit of progress and development. Our culture is fast, die hard, and knowledge-hungry. No longer do we seek the aid of formal training, or trained professionals. These tools have swayed us to learn by practical application. Instead of focusing on one aspect of a project, we want to do it all, and considering our resources, who says it isn't possible? Who doesn't want to be a jack all trades nowadays? If you can learn to do something yourself, isn’t it easier and cheaper to do so? There will always be the need for an expert in a topic, but who says that expert needs to be the one doing the work. Isn’t easier to have an expert on call?

The Internet has become so instant, that it’s almost impossible not to use it to fill the gaps in our knowledge. “Google it,” has become a common statement amongst people when contending over a topic. It’s just so incredibly easy to get the exact right answer. No longer do we have to doubt things. In the professional world, this translates into being able to do things ourselves that we weren’t able to do originally. If I wanted to shoot a movie tomorrow, I would have the resources available to learn how to edit it. In the same programs that professional film makers use everyday. If I find myself wondering how to achieve a certain effect in Photoshop, I’m sure some designer somewhere posted to a photoshop forum about how to do that exact thing. Welcome to the generation of Youtube tutorials, Instructables, and eHows. If you’ve got the time, why not DIY? I mean, sure, you’ve still got formal training options available. You could still go to school for design and learn about what every single tool does in Illustrator, or you could just get the quick and dirty from someone who’s already done all that work.

I’ll admit this ability, this access, has already screwed me up quite a bit. Part of the reason I dropped out of college was because I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted when I wanted to. I wanted a varied set of knowledge, not limited to any one subject. I wanted to know the practical applications for everything. I wanted to be challenged to do something that I had no idea how to do. I have to think that this desire spawned from the instant nature of the internet. Growing up with the internet in my life at such a young age really caused me to throw formal training out the window. I taught myself HTML at the age of 12 by reading tutorials, and viewing the source code of websites. It may sound like a feat, but I don’t have nearly the same ability that someone who  was formally trained in HTML does. I can look at elements and immediately know what they do, but I could never build a site from scratch without a reference; and honestly, why would I when there’s a million different things to reference out there? I don’t have any one specialty. The internet has succeeded in helping me gain at least an introductory knowledge of most things. I still have things that I’m interested in, but I feel like I have something different to be into every other hour.

My point is that the Internet has made it extremely hard for me to define what I’m interested in. I like designing, developing, implementing, and testing; but am I a designer? Am I a developer? No. If I went back to college today, I probably still wouldn’t know what it was that I really wanted to major in. I definitely can’t tell you what my dream job is. I want to do everything.

It makes me wonder. With such a mentality, does creativity thrive... or does it suffer? I consider myself a creative person, but my body of work is so varied I couldn’t tell you what it is that I like to create. And what about those who are younger than me? I mean, I didn’t always have the internet in my house. I think I probably got my first AOL screen name when I was 6 or 7. What about those kids who don’t remember not having a login? That generation now that doesn’t even remember life without an iPod? Are they going to grow up to have specific interests? They say a virtuoso is born every 10,000 hours. But with so many different things to choose from, are those virtuosos going to get the chance to spend 10,000 hours on anything? It’s hard to say, I know I haven’t.

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