Why do people who create, turn us on so? Why does the urge to create possess us so completely every so often?
To produce, build, construct, shape…to bring into existence, what was until recently, only a favoured resident of our thoughts. The nervousness surrounding whether or not it will turn out the way we have envisioned it; the urgency to put it down on paper, canvas or touchscreen, before the inspiration leaves us; the delicacy used while shaping it to perfection; the short lived satisfaction when it’s complete (before we think of the next incremental improvement); the stubborn hope that it will be appreciated by those it’s targeted at (if it isn’t one of our more personal projects). The myriad feelings that wash over us can be overwhelming. The act of creation is thrilling, to say the least.
On the other hand, of course, there’s consumption, and, gaining prominence in this digital age, content curation. These three complement each other well, and though it may seem like curation isn’t half as important as the other two, it deserves more consideration. The Internet has brought creators and consumers together on an unprecedented scale. Navigating the endless oceans of content can get daunting at times. This is where curators come in. Those who have evolved far beyond mere consumerism, hence finding themselves equally occupied with filtering, sorting and sifting, and promoting content.
I do not speak only of the abundant websites and blogs that offer lists like, ‘The Top Ten/Twenty/Million Ways to… (hopelessly waste every waking moment of yours on the Internet?)’. I’m referring to everyone on Facebook and Twitter and all the other portals where people seem to spend more time communicating with links than sentences. We consume immeasurable amounts of content and share what resonates with us. We promote these favoured links to our friends, family, or just about anyone willing to listen. If you look through your timeline and create a list of every link you’ve shared…well, that’s the content you’ve curated.
There used to be a time when most people I knew, built an impression of themselves using things they had themselves created, rather than things they had curated. However, of late, it seems the situation has been inverted. People share links to songs, videos, and articles that strike a chord within them, hoping that someone who notices that will, in the future, associate them with that content. Not only have you marked most of what you’ve shared with your personal stamp of approval while recommending it to others, you have also used it to carefully shape the image of yourself that you’d like to put out there.
Now…this is only natural, but it can be a flawed way to go about things. It has come to a point, where, when the average person comes across something they like, the first thought that pops into their mind is, that they should share it. This may well be because whatever it was they came upon just had to be seen by their friends/family/whole-damn-world, but more often than not, it’s because they want to be seen as someone who’s “into that kinda shit”. The problem with this is that they’re not spending enough time just feeling good while enjoying that content, and truly appreciating its worth. In other words, they’re not spending enough time actually being into that stuff. More time is instead spent on sharing it, and monitoring notifications. Then again, one does feel good when someone ‘likes’ their link, and if that’s enough for them, I’m nobody to judge. However, I would urge them to explore being more honest about what they’re interested in, at least with themselves, and in doing so, invest in long term fulfillment, rather than the short lived gratification that comes from impressing acquaintances.
I think this is why many admire those who create the content, instead. It seems to be a more sincere method of expressing oneself. Why sincere? Well, usually, the amount of time and effort taken to create something far surpasses the amount required to share something that one has found, and people would rather use the more convenient method to falsely represent themselves. None of this is set in stone, of course, but it’s the way things usually go.
All of us keep switching between these three roles, but not all of us reap the same amount of benefits. For my part, I’m going to continue with my attempt to practice what I preach, and to find the perfect balance between the three C’s: Creation, Curation and Consumption.