How Dangerous is the Web for Creative Work?

Hermann Maurer, Rizwan Mehmood, Petra Korica-Pehserl


With the rapid penetration of the Web into all areas of society there is also an increasing number of warning voices that the Web is endangering creative work: it encourages plagiarism, the spreading of half-truths, causes loss of memorizing ability, reduces the ability to read complex matters, provides so many distractions that prevent coherent thinking, networks of pseudo-friends eat up valuable productive time, etc. One early target of complaints were search engines with which we “build up a distorted reality”, this was followed by researchers who seemed to show the rather negative effects of new (social media) on “reading with understanding”, and it has culminated in a number of publications showing negative effects of many aspects of the internet including scathing attacks on e-Learning, like in the German book by Manfred Spitzer on “Digital Dementia: How we make sure that all of us are getting stupid”. In this paper we discuss how the Web both supports and stifles creative activities. We report on our experiences, many based on a project that was part of the “Sparkling Science” initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research. We show that some claims can be validated, others are exaggerated.


Web, creativity, social networks, skills, internet dangers

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