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The myth of the creative class

Really interesting post from Jeff Jarvis (hat tip to Stowe for the pointer). The concept of harnessing the power of community to make design and product choices more efficient is a brilliant notion – The Wisdom of Crowds put into practice. Love it.

The internet doesn’t make us more creative, I don’t think. But it does enable what we create to be seen, heard, and used. It enables every creator to find a public, the public he or she merits. And that takes creation out of the proprietary hands of the supposed creative class.

I’m not sure about the last sentence. The issue is you’ve got have the right product to begin with. And that’s where the creative class holds court. Using Ryz as an example – if the creative class didn’t design the sneaker, the masses wouldn’t get to color it. I could be splitting hairs, but for me creativity runs deeper than coloring in the spaces between lines. It doesn’t make the act less fun, or even useful. And, to Jeff’s point, technology and participation become points of differentiation:

The curmudgeons also argue that this level playing field is flooded with crap: a loss of taste and discrimination. I’ll argue just the opposite: Only the playing field is flat and to stand out one must now do so on merit – as defined by the public rather than the priests – which will be rewarded with links and attention. This is our link economy, our culture of links. It is a meritocracy, only now there are many definitions of merit and each must be earned.

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