Creativity In The Era Of Hyperreality

Forgive me for the horribly pretentious headline. I don't think it's a new idea that social media has caused people to adopt personas, going as far as crafting fictitious versions of their lives to impress the people they stopped talking to in high school. (This is a bit of a straw man, but bear with me.) Social marketing douche-bags call this "personal branding." As if our entire lives should be an advertisement, usually product placement deals where communication with your friends is now a business transaction to help HP sell a few more laptops. 

I don't begrudge anyone trying to make a living.  Bloggers and news sites are doing native content advertising to pay the bills. However, how much time do creative people really want to spend crafting and refining advertising? 

This is the reason I chose to invoke the idea of Hyperreality. The lives people live out on social media obviously aren't real, but there are very few people who are their authentic selves in public. There isn't much difference, except that this public gets archived.

Yet on the other hand almost every form of media is an aggressive pantomime, and we're all supposed to notice the wink and nod that we're watching a play. 

Opinions are stretched out to their absurd conclusion for effect, no argument nuanced. Trolling, playing to the home team, and a never ending thirst to keep it all going. What I am more interested in is the idea of creativity being driven to frivolity shorting us on artists and writers making things. 

The energy that should be devoted to making something interesting is being devoted to crating content that disposable.

So when a guy who always wanted to make cartoons takes a job in advertising and makes a cute cartoon colon, are we missing out on what could have been? Again I don't begrudge anyone a day job, I just wonder about the culture we miss with all the creatives making ads. The writers churning out clickbait, and the social media douchebags doing some odd form of performance art.

Mike M

Mike M

I have written various kind of reviews for years. I currently write for Make Use Of. I used to write for Digital Entertainment News, Macgasm, and the Examiner. My day job is as an IT monkey. Follow me on Twitter.