Using Computers to Create

I am enamored by the state of technology in 2014. I look around and see the computing power that permeates society and it blows me away. It seems like everyone has a smartphone or tablet that they can use to message someone on the other side of the planet, watch an awesome video of a baby and dachshunds, or just chill out and read their subreddit of choice. It is easier to communicate with others and consume content than ever before.

What I really love about all this computing power, though, is the freedom it gives for everyone to create. The democratization of powerful technology in the developed world has made it possible for almost everyone to be a photographer, videographer, or writer. We can share our creations and get feedback from our peers in no time at all.

When I look back to my childhood, some of my fondest memories are creating things on my computer and sharing them with the world. One instance in particular really stands out to me.

In middle school and early high school I was obsessed with a game called Empire Earth. This was the first game I ever played online and I would sneak up to our family computer to play it late at night with friends.

Eventually, I noticed that there was a scenario editor option in the menu and clicked on it. After that, my entire worldview about what you could do with a computer changed. I spent hours and hours building scenarios and teaching myself the tips and tricks of the editor. In a way, this was my first real introduction to programming (even though I didn’t think of it as such).

Eventually, I released my scenarios for Empire Earth and got some really positive feedback (the web was a much more positive place in 2002-2003). I eventually lost interest in favor of being a football player, but those experiences continue to stick with me. In fact, I still have the scenarios that I created:

Going forward, I hope to continue to create and I invite all content consumers to use the technology at their fingertips to put their mark on the world. Write, draw, photograph, record, or whatever else you can think of and share it with the world. Be a creator, not just a consumer, and you’ll feel more fulfilled. And maybe, just maybe, 10 years from now you’ll look back with pride at what you created and the paths it led you down.

2 thoughts on “Using Computers to Create

  1. Reid

    I completely agree. BUT outside of the digital folks I know, I get the impression that people are generally more interested in using technology to curate or collect than they are to create (not to get to alliterative with it).

    The tools for creation continue to get easier and easier to use – but the desire to create and quality of creation hasn’t seemed to increase.

    Note – these opinions have not been fully considered and are totally superficial.

    1. Nick Ohrn Post author

      I agree with you and I think it is unfortunate. There’s only so much good that can come from curation and collection and, while you may grow as a person by taking part in those activities, I feel strongly that creating something, no matter how trivial, and exposing it to an audience, no matter how small, changes the creator.

      So here’s hoping that we see an explosion of creation in the decade to come – not just meme photos with text overlaid, but short-stories, poems, drawings, art, programs, and more :)


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