Popularity stifles creativity

First, there’s the perpetual pinging from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the compulsive gaze which cannot help glancing back, just in case it is missing something.

Then comes the obsessive urge to chase likes, which, although you’re probably only residing in an echo chamber, soon becomes your overriding concern. Pursuing approval takes precedent over creating anything original or meaningful.

Audiences can be fickle and unforgiving, so you quickly learn only to say what is expedient and helpful to your cause, which may no longer be what you believe in, but what the crowd has come to expect from you.

Soon you find yourself forever manicuring your brand in the hope of capturing and maintaining a crowd of followers that will hang on your every word.

That, of course, has its benefits, if you wish to sell anything: a book, your lectures, your employable self. There’s no doubt about that. What is the value of a book that nobody knows about and nobody reads, except for a small slither of achievement and inner self-content?

But bigger than all of this is the time-wasting. I sat down at 7.00am to do an hour of writing before work. It is now 7.30am and I haven’t even got near to my manuscript. Yes, this is writing of sorts, but not at all what I had in mind as I rose from my slumber an hour ago.

And the irony, I will probably share this on my own limited channels in a few minutes’ time, in pursuit of likes and praises, momentarily thinking I have dreamt up something profound and wise, which by 10.00am I will realise was just trite and contrived.

So then it is true: both popularity and the pursuit of popularity stifles creativity absolutely.

Now where was I? Nope, too late. It’s time for work.

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