The Creators Network
An article in the New York Times this weekend points out a new trend: creativity is now mainstream.
It seems that everybody wants to be a creator. But what does this really mean?
It’s not that everyone is quitting their job to become a full-time artist, customize motorcycles, write a cook-book, or start a techno-punk band.
There’s a lot of hype in the press around the creator economy, and how its only the worker that is flexible, adaptable, and creative that can thrive. Tech evangelists and pundits imagine a mobile creative workforce, happily moving to a new job when they are no longer useful at their current one.
The problem is that creativity doesn't work this way. Creators are by nature rule breakers. And as we aspire towards creativity as a culture, things may not turn out as expected.
When I was an angry undergraduate studying art at Yale, I had the habit of completely ignoring the assigned subject for end-of-term essays. By my second year I was pretty much just writing whatever the hell I wanted: I once submitted a 50-page comic strip for an economics final, which involved Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes meeting in a mosh pit at a Black Flag show and kicking the ass out of each other.
My grades were "mixed". I remember a very serious meeting with a very serious dean, who asked me how I expected I'd get through life if I couldn’t follow directions. I told him I don't have a problem with directions — I'm just not interested in any of the results they produce.
Not surprisingly, I am most inspired by people who create their own path (even if it costs them something to do so), who insist nevertheless in doing things their own way, and who have a healthy disregard for rules.
This is the spirit that drove us to create Ello in the first place.
Ello is for those of us who have discovered that out of the many ways we can spend our time, making something we’re passionate about (writing an essay, collecting images about space travel, making GIFs out of old movies — whatever turns us on) is more fulfilling than sitting around eating Smart Food and watching Orange is the New Black on our smartphones.
Creativity, by definition, has no interest in the status quo.
The creator looks at the world and doesn’t give a shit how things have been done before, especially if there’s a better way now. Even if that requires waiting for everyone else to catch on.
Creativity also binds us. All creators require an audience. Making a painting, building a GIF, or customizing a vintage car in a vacuum is lonely and discouraging— which is why almost nobody does it. This is why lot of the major improvements that are coming to Ello this Fall are about creating new and easier ways for creators to find one another, connect, view and appreciate each other’s work. Big things are on the way!
This is also why Ello will always be ad-free. Creators require safety, and a knowledge that our work, ultimately, will be treated with respect. Seeing a banner ad or boosted post on a social network is sort of like playing a video for car insurance in an art gallery. It feels violating and wrong.
And, yes — Ello isn’t for everyone.
Much to the dismay of the mainstream tech press, Ello will never be another homogenized Wal-Mart of the Internet, where we are manipulated by corporations and forced to view (and buy) the same things that everyone else does.
Because on Ello you’ll get to see things you won’t see anywhere else.
As @jk pointed out in his excellent Caffeinated Mornings lecture in Boulder last week, he always saves his best stuff, his risky stuff, and posts it on Ello.
@markgelband wrote that using Ello every day is like going to a neighborhood bar, where you meet new friends, and everyone is inspired to share what they love most.
Creativity is nothing more than the authentic expression of who we are. The rise of the Internet has put that in stark relief. And many, many people are waking up to that. Rather than being discouraged by the furious storm of information that being thrown at us each day, we feel inspired, special, interesting, and unique. I am, and you are, one of one. Only I can write this post. Only you can decide how you will react upon reading it.
And so people aspire to create. This is why we’re building Ello.
Thank you for your continued enthusiasm, faith, and support.
And for those of you that just joined Ello: welcome to The Creators Network. Put a little something in (doesn't have to be much) and you’ll discover that you belong here too.
Co-Founder & CEO
Original B&W image by @juhernandez.