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The Shadow Side of Social Media

At what point does technology stop being a tool and become an enemy to creativity?

Is there really a shadow side to technology?

Twenty-three-year old funk singer and pianist Daniel von Piekartz (see images below) thinks there is – when it comes to creativity:

“We have Twitter, the web, an endless growth of new technologies… It’s great – the world is in our hands – so much information only a click away.

“It is a gift, but it comes with a price. It induces restlessness, insatiability, indecision and shallowness; it does something to the mind.”

As an artist, I felt instinctively that this was more than simply paranoid reaction; I asked him to tell me more…

Impact on Creativity

Daniel explained: “Did you know John Mayer was addicted to Twitter?

“At some point, he could write perfect short tweets, but couldn’t write one 4 minute song. Thinking in 140 characters made his mind ‘smaller and smaller’, as John himself stated.”

Recording his new album, Mayer not only deleted his Twitter account, but also stopped blogging and banned laptops.

Daniel continued: “Anyone can learn to play a few chords online, cover a current hit song and put it on YouTube. You don’t have to be extremely talented to get a lot of views. But making serious music isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. It takes time and commitment.”

Daniel rather looks for inspiration in his heroes, all authentic, talented, deeply engaged artists like Prince and d’Angelo.

For his record Voodoo, d’Angelo dedicated 5 years to studying music of giants like Jimi Hendrix, Prince and Stevie Wonder, morphing it during jam sessions into something brand new.

To get the old school feel he wanted, d’Angelo turned back the clock, using analog equipment and live instrumentation. Now, 13 years later, the result proved to be lasting.

The Question We Need to Answer

Everyone has a “tipping point” when it comes to technology.

The question we all need to have an answer to is: “At what point does technology move from being a helpful tool to reach our creative goals and become a hindrance to our creativity?”

How much of your time should you really be surrounded with modern technology and when would you be better off in a secluded, quiet place?

I’m thankful for my digital camera and my online dictionary, for Whatsapp and Facebook.

These tools make it easier to study my models, to correct my writings and to network.

But when I actually paint and write, social media and my phone are a distraction.

So I get on my bike – without my phone – and settle in a café the moment I have some ideas to write down.

Or, I paint in my studio, with my cell phone and pc switched off.

I feel some “withdrawal symptoms” and people get annoyed when I’m not available online.

But it’s the price I’m willing to pay for getting the job done.

Petra Tool is a Dutch artist and artist’s coach. A gifted portrait artist, she explores the personalities of gifted performers, interviewing them about their talent, passions, the problems they face, their insecurities and secrets of their success. You can find more information on her website www.petratool.
Daniel singing a Prince song
See Dealing with Melancholy Moods
And more articles by Petra Tool
Miles’ Café – 65×85 cm – watercolour – Petra Tool
Glance – 70×80 cm – watercolour – Petra Tool

  • Interesting! I have recently done the same thing. Movin away from a computer desk was the best creative move I could have made. I move away, look out of the window onto beautiful fields and let the song arrive naturally. If I write at the desk, I tend to think in terms of tempo, numbers of bars and channels. Even trying to imagine a clever accompanying video while I’m writing the song. My brain became too scattered so now I never write in the recording space. Great article, thanks!

  • Shadow side?……….Nay!……..Dark ! Dark! Dark!

    Have I, reached my “tipping point” when it comes to technology?

    I opened my DAW wide to all things VT only to end up retreating into a corner with my guitar and harmonica, crying buckets of Analogue tears.

    In all honesty, I have just about had it with trying to virtually emulate instrument reality . I guess I was spoilt by being born early enough to know the joys of thermionic valves and 7″ recording tape spools,REAL MUSIC played by REAL INSTRUMENTS, Singers with natural (non-midified) vocal timbre and the golden voices of the 1950’s-70’s that I have yet to hear equalled.

    © ♯♪♫ ♂PM