W is for Wow

Okay, I’m allowed one contrived entry in the challenge, surely 😉

It’s wow because tonight my son made us all sit and watch a documentary. I’ve mentioned before in this blog that he’s a brony, and my C entry was about My Little Ponies. Well, he put some money towards a project creating a documentary about bronies. Over the past week or so he’s been cajoling and bribing various members of the family to watch it, and tonight turned out to be the night we sat together in front of the TV with it.

It’s very odd watching a bunch of grown men waxing lyrical about animated ponies, but I think he got his point across that there are many of them out there. What really impressed me, though, was the creativity that the series has sparked. We saw artists who produced original artwork based on the show, people who created and painted models of the characters, plush toys, clothing, animations, music, even laser shows. Each of these people took the original idea and developed it in their own directions, putting their own spin on it.

When I first came across this sort of interaction, very soon after I first joined the world-wide community of the internet, it was fascinating. Now I have learned to value it, to the point where when I find something new that interests me, for example Downton Abbey, once I’ve exhausted primary sources (i.e. watched all the original episodes), I’ll seek out secondary sources, such as fanfiction.net, to see how others interpret the characters. Sometimes they mirror my own ideas, and sometimes they’ll develop them further, taking me in a direction I hadn’t thought of. Always, they help deepen my understanding of the characters and their relationships. Even bad fanfiction has the same effect, in that it can show highlight things I disagree with.

I’ve always admired the creativity of people out there. From fan art to fan vids, from customised icons to full length novels. There are an amazing number of creative people, and the web and other technologies have provided them all with a vast array of inspiration and tools, not to mention a way to find an audience.

There’s a lot of talk of the long tail in sales these days. That applies equally to all forms of creativity. The web has a dark side, but it also has a positive side, and sparking creativity is part of that.

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