All forms of social media have made connecting and exchanging ideas easy. Not only easy but possible. At the beginning this was a visionary idea. A way to see the world from your seat. But social media is starting to fail that idea. It has become a popularity contest. This is great for sales, but not so great if you want to see and learn something new.

I have just sent a mini-form to Medium. One which asks me about my overall satisfaction. That is, do I like what I see on my news feed and how I would change it. While I am mostly happy about it, I am not inspired. I have not read or seen something I haven’t already discovered. Is this due to yet another algorithm calculating my previous searches and giving me more of the same? Perhaps it’s more about what everyone else likes? The most probable scenario is that it’s a form of AI that combines and calculates both. However, popular opinion has rarely proven to push new ideas forward. Rather, it is individuals with great minds and great ideas that have done this. These great minds have either had followers or they didn’t.

Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890)

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Without a doubt, Vincent Van Gogh was one of the best painters of the late 19th century. My personal favorite. While he’s art is amazing, he’s own life was a sad and lonely one. He wanted to be a missionary and serve others. He’s view of the Christian church was, however, different than the doctrine. He, while doing missionary work, gave up all his belongings and shared them with the poor. The Church viewed this as a scandal and he was, for lack of a better word, fired. He was distraught by this. After this heartbreak, he started to paint. He painted over 700 pictures and yet only sold one. We can safely say he was not popular. In fact, he wasn’t even close to famous at the time of his life. This fact is well known. Until the 20th century, his work was not popular. Was this more due to the elite of the time, as he never had the opportunity to share his work with the world as we can today, or perhaps popular opinion did not understand his vision?

You can read more about Van Gogh here :

Ludwig van Beethoven. (1770–1827)

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Another remarkable artist. Unlike Van Gogh, however, he did reach to fame at the time. His path was very different than our previous example. He was discovered, taught, and trained. His talent was unmistakable and propelled him to become an eternal great of classical music. He had a solid reputation and was a visionary in his own right. I suppose if YouTube was around at the time, he would have received many views and even more likes. That being said, he did have many obstacles. There is not success in this world without setbacks. None of them, including his own deafness, held him back. Is this proof that social media does not impact creativity? He was well-known, yet this did not dictate his work. Rather, it was the other way around.

You can read more about Beethoven here :

Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)

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A mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer he paved the way for astronomy with the improvement of the telescope. His theorems on the center of gravity gave him recognition among other mathematicians. Although his initial attempt to become “the chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna” failed, he soldered on. While he was a respected scientist, some of his ideas were less than popular. One such idea was that the world revolved around the sun, not the other way around. At the time, this idea was heresy. His discoveries about various planets also showed him that the idea of a single Earth and the heavens was misleading. When he discovered sunspots on the sun, he proved its imperfection. Each idea was a sour spot in the eye of the Church. His scientific ideas were so unpopular that in 1633 he was condemned to life imprisonment guilty of heresy. He was not tortured or placed in a dungeon. Rather, he was confined to the house of the Tuscan Ambassador. Although he was never popular, he was well known and worked until his death in 1642.

You can read more about Galileo here :


Each one of these examples does not offer a simple conclusion. While Van Gogh was not known in his time, Galileo and Beethoven were. The only thing they do have in common is a distinct mind. This is true for many visionaries of our time and the time that has passed. Each had their own ideas about their particular field. While some were famous, as was Beethoven, some were infamous like Galileo. Each form of knowledge, talent, and vision was their own. However, if they were alive today how many likes would they receive? How popular would be their content? The problem that I am trying to address is that in order to be seen, read, or discovered, your talent MUST be popular. The algorithms set by the social media programmers means that you will probably only see what everyone already likes. This, in turn, means it is complex to discover a new talent by accident. If you wish to be inspired, you must rummage through the box of discarded topics and articles. If, on the other hand, social media could encourage ingenuity rather than popularity these platforms would give us more than just another article about writing and marketing and making money.

This article can also be found on my Medium account :

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