"You can create art in a vacuum, but you´ll never generate any great ideas from there."
The mind is a muscle and it has to be trained regularly as much as any other muscle in your body.
What does this have to do with social media, you might ask?A lot.
In times where many are forced to work alone or as freelancers, social media replaces the work space attitude you find in a usual work environment. Social media is the "global" opportunity to "show-up" and "dress up".
Working in a dull environment or in a work space that is full of people who are waiting for "Friday" to come, you know there is not a real chance to grow on your projects or in general, that is just a place to make a living, but possibly just not for long and if you´d be honest, it is not a worthwhile station in your life too.
Whenever I talk to people, I´m astounded to get asked how I manage to keep up on par with so many social networks, the answer is simple: I consider them different departments of a big office or mall and whenever I have time I check in to get the latest news on interesting topics.
The pleasant part of this, you don´t have to deal very much with people you don´t want to talk to.
This surely means there has to be a specific self-discipline to not waste too much time online, alright, that is the nitpick, it might not be for anyone. However, I found this working for me.
The following list includes networks I regularly visit and foster, in order of priority:
deviantArt, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Shadowness, Pinterest, behánce & Google+
Someone might ask why using three, four or more networking sites when the most people are on facebook, because most people tend to share different things on different networks.
One thing people tend to forget is the algorithm of many social media sites, which causes to decide for you what information you´ll see, depending on your connections and your data. Data-mining software and algorithm works always in the back and sorts relevant data for you, not quite the nice English kind of dealing with your information, but this is how it works.The only way to avoid that is to manually crawl through different sources to see relevant information.
If you just rely on facebook for example, you are missing one heap of input from your friends, instead you receive many unwanted and useless bits of information gathered from a software. If the software get´s better and learns it might be possible to get information you really want to receive someday, depending on what you prioritize, but this also means we can be far better manipulated, another reason to keep this habit of manual information harvesting, because it is not possible for the software to render accurate profiles of your online habits.
I usually use online social media platforms to read news about topics I share an interest with someone, or to find inspiration. deviantArt is by far the biggest network right behind facebook when it comes to art and the ability to connect with new and established talent, so it is equally important to show recent works there, to keep in touch or follow up on topics or contacts, facebook is the more adequate option. Google+ is not really the place to be, something I sadly have found out, but I guess it is still not unimportant for search rankings and profiling.
LinkedIn has more value for a polished display of professional engagement and allows to share and gather a vast range of information from twitter to behánce as also other networks, like this blog for example.
Something really great I found and nurture, is the possibility of generating ideas through networking. Sometimes it is a nice evening with friends (yes in real life!), another times it is a small post from a friend on facebook that makes you think, it is always the unparalleled input from various sources that have an impact on us and the time to think about it in the back-burner of our brain.
In fact, being connected more with people I like to be connected with, is healthy to cultivate a creative environment, since working from home for about 4 years now.
I did not felt one day to have a creative block, thanks to the valuable input and positive affirmations I read online, its really that small notes you read here and there that are shared with thousands of people at a time, that makes you smile and keeps you going. Compare this with real life work environments, when was the last time, a colleague showed you something motivating or engaging (except for the chain-mails of powerpoint presentation of lovely sunsets or kittens...)?
Pinterest is an even better source for positive sparks of inspiration, motivation and beauty, that can cheer you up in a downtime.
Sharing is caring, even if you don´t know who will benefit from your insights and outputs, karma will find a way, and it will come back to you in one or the other way, think about it.