Wasting time on the Interweb: Fostering Creativity.

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  • 3 years ago
  • Posted: January 15, 2015 at 10:48 am

The internet is part of our 21st century life and its importance cannot be overemphasized to a finite detail, the possibilities are endless. Kenya has over 20 million internet users, that is over half the population has access to the internet, so it begs the question, what are people doing in internet. The global snapshot of internet stats as depicted by the US Census Bureau, Internet World Stats, CNNIC, Tencent, ITU, CIA, et cetera as of January of 2014:
Global Population- 7,095,476,818; with 52% in urban areas and 48% in rural areas
Internet Users- 2,484,915,152; that is, 35% global internet penetration
Active Social Network Users-1, 856, 680,860; that is, 26% global social network penetration
Mobile Subscribers- 6,572,950,124; that is, 93% global mobile penetration

Right now as we speak, over 3 billion folk all over the world are using the internet, real time, actually the number of emails being sent today have surpassed the 100 billion mark, real time and blog posts written today, such as this one are over a million, I mean the numbers are awe-inspiring, if mind boggling. There are over 122 million births this year and growing, that means that by the age of five, these little ones will be using the internet, adding to the current figures, not to mention the net population growth today is over 109, thousand, real time. Now the numbers have said all they can.

To return to my previous question, what in blazes are people doing, well, we already have seen how many emails people have sent today. Well, people are listening to music, watching video, prattling away with their mates, business conferencing, et cetera. The activities on the internet that people are spending their time in include social networking, that is, 22% of folk are on social networks, 5% are online shopping, 13% are accessing multi-media sites, 19% engaging in emails or communications, 21% percent are doing searches, and 20% are reading content, just like you are doing now.

So why waste time on the internet, because it can be an avenue of creativity, I believe so and so does Ken Goldsmith, a professor of Poetics and Poetry at the University of Pennsylvania. “Come January,” he excitingly quips, “fifteen creative-writing students and I will sit silently in a room with nothing more than our devices and a Wi-Fi connection, for three hours a week, in a course called, ‘Wasting Time on the Internet’.” The conversation that place in session happens only in chat-rooms list-servers or social media. Distraction and split attention will be mandatory, so will aimless drifting and intuitive surfing. That means nothing is off limits, even if one wants to watch pornography. I imagine if that would happen in a creative class in our local universities, the situation I believe would be quite welcome, the ideal classroom situation many would agree. The thinking behind this class is, if a student is watching pornography, then that can be a compelling avenue for writing a saucy erotica, or a Facebook post becoming ground for dramatic novellas, or a Twitter feed (remember the Kim Kardashian memes from her internet-breaking post) of a celebrity turning into exquisite Dadaist poetry. Or simply hand in their browser history cast in as a moving memoir.
Every day we drown in a sea of technology, caught up in a flurry of technological production happening at dizzying speed, a sort of new, collective unconscious. Attached to several devices, we are half-awake, half asleep, that’s what tech does to you. I am sure you have talked on the phone while surfing the Web, only partially capturing what some body is trying to relay to you, or the famous answering your emails at the same time checking your status updates. Simply, we have become very good at being distracted, right now as I write this I am listening to a lecture on Quantum Physics. For creativity, this a whole reason for jubilation. It does not matter where your path to creativity heads, what matters is that the language of the internet is perfect raw material for inspiration. Why, because, the disjunctive, compressed, de-contextualized, and, most vitally, cut-and-pastable, effectively it can be reassembled into works of Art and creative avenues.

It is abundantly clear, when we surf the net, we express who we are, every click becomes an anthology of what we are, who we are, our likes, dislikes, emotions, religious and political opinion, world view. These clicks become fodder for meta-data scientists, and that is why companies like Google want you pay $25 to store your genome, or that Facebook has got massive servers to store yottabytes of your information, or that governments all over the world are constructing colossal data centers to store exabytes of data, teraflops of who you are its absolutely bonkers! Actually scientists believe that the brains of kids who were exposed to the digital age are evolving differently; the access to information in our brains is growing faster, which can be used to explain the growing knowledge pool of current generations and those to come. With the average time spent online per month being 16hours, this is sufficient time for you to do one creative thing, or even a thousand creative stuff. Therefore, next time you are surfing the net, allow yourself to tread the noble path of creative genius!

What is your opinion on the topic?
Stefan Wolf
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