Historical evidence that social networking promotes creativity

This Toyota commercial uses the common misconception that social networking makes us less social.

Is this true? How is technology changing both the networking medium and its environment?

The 99% article The Social Networks of Emily Dickinson, Paul Gauguin & Charlotte Bronte highlights a study of three of history’s most famous introverts. The study finds that during spikes in creativity, the density of the creator’s social network was much higher than during uncreative periods. The results of the study also support Surowiecki’s theory of Wisdom of Crowds to:

  • Keep your ties loose.
  • Expose yourself to diverse sources
  • Make groups that range across hierarchies.

Technology changes the medium of communication and its immediacy, but the need for that same connection and idea sharing that Dickensen, Gaugin and Bronte wanted still exists and is being served, just in different ways and with more avenues for interaction, collaboration, and connection.

Imagine how social networking would change how these creators communicated:

Would Charlotte blog ideas for upcoming novels?

Would Emily tweet lines of poetry?


Sawyer, K.The Social Networks of Emily Dickinson, Paul Gauguin & Charlotte Bronte. Retrieved on April 4, 2012 from http://the99percent.com/articles/7152/The-Social-Networks-of-Emily-Dickinson-Paul-Gauguin-Charlotte-Bronte.

Wikipedia. The Wisdom of Crowds. Retrieved on April 4. 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds


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