My parents always tell me to put away my damn phone and do something, but I’m obviously using my phone to cultivate my interests and figure out how to turn my life into a work of art. Who even reads books anymore? Music, fashion, memes, and dance challenges, most of which they found online, inspire creators. They say that life imitates art, but it’s beginning to be the other way around in today’s evolving political and cultural climates. We can cater to what we see to fit our desires for what we want our lives to look like. Here are ways that social apps have changed the way that we get inspired.
When I was a kid, I learned how to do makeup from my mom and magazines like Teen Vogue and Seventeen. As beautiful as she is, my mom had one look, and that was mascara and maybe a tiny bit of blush if she was going somewhere really fancy. I always struggled with bad skin, and it seemed the people I looked to for inspiration didn’t have that same issue, so I always felt left out and like their makeup tips couldn’t apply to me because I didn’t fit their mold. This changed with YouTube. I could learn about skincare tips, watch hundreds of different makeup tutorials, and feel like I could stay true to myself while learning something new.
The picture-oriented app gives us easy-to-digest memes, videos, and enviable vacation shots, and glamorous selfies. When else in history have we been able to see endless cat videos, makeup tutorials, and streetwear fashion inspiration all in the same place? Instagram is the ultimate inspiration for those who don’t even have the time to watch videos on YouTube. For instance, you can access the app on your way to work or when you’re at an especially boring party where you don’t know anybody. It’s not a distraction. It’s an inspiration.
Twitter is where one goes when they want to win an argument. It’s pretty much the last stop on the worldwide web. We used to have to read books to learn something new or find out our whole mindset and perspective was a lie, but now we can scroll through Twitter. With controversial figures like Kanye West and Donald Trump delivering us meme-worthy messages in less than 280 words, we no longer need to read an actual book to find something to entertain us.
Ugh, I miss Tumblr. While the social networking site is nowhere near as popular as it was, it still deserves to be discussed. Before Instagram, we had Tumblr. People could create the ultimate vision for their lives on the site, and it was glorious. It was the end-all-be-all of inspiration. People posted about art, fashion, travel, and makeup. Everyone was serving looks on Tumblr. It was the fucking vibe.
Who doesn’t want to be famous on TikTok? The app gives everyone a chance to connect with large audiences. However, to be seen, you have to know how to stand out. This makes people think outside of the box and get creative so that they can stay relevant. TikTok’s biggest stars even inspired a new Netflix series. TikTok is basically a level-up from Instagram and YouTube. You can get product reviews, commentary on social issues, amusing and relatable videos, and you can scroll for hours and hours and never see the same thing twice.
All of these social apps and websites changed the way we think about inspiration. Hobbies like reading books and watching movies require a lot of time and thought to get through, and the information we get doesn’t reach us as quickly as what we see on the internet. We live in an era where we want everything quickly, and we want to be visually engaged. Our previous sources of inspiration don’t offer everything that apps like Instagram and TikTok offer. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue to get inspired by longer-form pieces. It just means we have even more places to go when we want to see and hear something we don’t get from our day-to-day lives.