Monday, September 22, 2014

The Age of the Amateur

When I take the time to think about it, I am awed by the way technology has empowered amateur creativity. Just a few of decades ago, the ability to craft a creative work and share it with a large number of people was limited to a handful of professionals and media companies. Today, anyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer can create anything from a short video on Snapchat to a full blown animated work with Plotagon, and share it instantly worldwide with a few taps or clicks.

Whether a work is viewed by a few dozen or a few million, the ease of creation and sharing has motivated millions of people to creative expression they wouldn't otherwise have realized. The widespread activity of continuous creative expression is in the process of producing a psychological and cultural shift of historic proportion, the impact of which will only reveal itself over decades. The ubiquitous use of smartphones and social sharing is subtly shifting humanity to what can fairly labeled as psychological cyborgs, because neurologically, the tools we commonly used are experienced as being part of our own bodies.

The continued evolution of creative mobile technologies will eventually result in a renaissance of imaginative expression that will expand from our personal lives and popular media to just about every segment of the business world. Like the strength and endurance we build working out is carried into our lives outside the gym, the exercise of our creativity in living rooms and coffee houses carries over into our working lives. On a personal level, the last five years of personal creative work has certainly revolutionized my own professional work.

That said, throw away all of my world-change speculation and the Age of the Amateur is still amazing. Beyond the shear joy of creativity, it gives the average Joe and Jane access to experiences that were once the sole domain of professional authors and artists. Although the quality of the works we create may pale in comparison, the psychological insight and growth we experience is equivalent.

I am continuously surprised and delighted by the doors new platforms open for creative expression. Beyond music, my tech-fueled creative life was born in 2008 with my introduction to both Second Life and the iPhone. Second Life allowed me to free my imagination from the constraints of the physical world and my wallet name identity. The iPhone freed me to create and share, with increasingly sophisticated tools, at any time and in any place.

This is still being realized through my latest amateur project, the Life With Jess video series. For instance, I didn't see this new huge plot twist coming. I woke up yesterday morning and there it was. Like it had been planned from the start. So Life With Jess Episode 17 turns out to be the concluding video in the first story arc and sets up a whole new life for my favorite little narcissist.

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