I am a big Apple fan. I spend the majority of my day writing, designing and producing on Apple devices. In Christmases past, I have handed down my ‘old’ laptop and iPhone to my 13-year old boy. Yet along with my enthusiasm for all this creative technology comes a gnawing fear that I am enabling my teen-child with all the tools he needs to become another disconnected, slack-jawed digital drone. So Apple’s new christmas ad stopped me in my tracks.
‘Misunderstood’ does a brilliant job of helping me to explain to my son the difference between digital CONSUMPTION and digital CREATION. As I say to him, when he plays a video game, watches YouTube or scans Facebook posts, he is a consumer of creative product. A willing receptacle for messages and images generated by others. But if he takes a photo, makes a movie or creates a song, his brain kicks into a completely different mode, enabling him to share HIS ideas with the world.
(Spoiler Alert!) I told my son to watch ‘Misunderstood’ and see the difference in perception and emotional connection from the beginning of the spot, when everyone thinks the teen character is ignoring their family Christmas, to the reveal, where we see that he was connecting and ultimately sharing, in his own creative way. Then imagine how the spot would have been if that character had NOT made the Beautiful Family Movie… dark, depressing and ultimately empty.
My son, to his credit, replied “But don’t you have to consume to create?”
Yes, it’s a balance. We all need the inspiration, education, delight and relaxation that comes from absorbing the (hopefully high-quality) creations of others. But as with all things in life, it is balance we must continually seek.
I hope the whole world embraces Apple’s Christmas message. If you have a phone with a camera, take some pictures. Make a movie. Share it with people. If not, maybe just write a letter, draw a picture or sing a song.
Christmas has become a time to consume, but it’s also the perfect time to create.
Merry Christmas Every One.
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