Television and creativity
In January 1999 I broke up with my television. I was a recently single mother of a two-year-old child and I knew if I had that dammed thing in the house I would succumb to the temptation to put him in front of it. So I could cook supper without him grabbing my legs and screaming for my undivided attention. So I could have a moment to myself. I also knew that if I had a television in the house that it would suck me in — and set the agenda for my thoughts and dreams. And I could not afford to be sucked in.
We survived. Liam, my son, drew a lot and played with Keva planks and Playmobil and Lego (the old-school plain blocks, not the crappy new over-engineered co-branded sets). He’s 11 now and writes beautifully, has excellent grades, and consumes books at an alarming rate. He approaches playing tennis and piano with an amazing level of focus and discipline. I believe that this is due, in part, to the fact that early on he became a producer of content, rather than a consumer.
Iíve been thinking recently about consumption and production. I believe that producing — creating — is a revolutionary act. And I have been pushing myself to create. To make things. To write. What you’re reading now, and this web site, is a result of that push. It’s important for each one of us to engage, participate, and share.
I ran across this video yesterday, of Clay Shirkey speaking at the Web 2.0 conference, held in April 2008 in San Francisco, which touches on some of these ideas. It’s 15 minutes, and well worth your time. You can also read the transcript of his speech. Let me know what you think.