Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Creative Studies, M.S.


Center for Studies in Creativity


Susan Keller-Mathers

First Reader

Mike Fox


Social media is a parasitic relationship that is more beneficial for data companies and the platforms than it is the user. However, users still reap many unexpected benefits from engaging with different socials. Through observing how users interact with the platforms and each other using a Creativity focused framework, it is quite observable social media can be an effective tool to improve one’s creativity if used properly. Social media facilitates a combination of humor and community in a way that is difficult for traditional media and community to replicate. While humor inspires positive emotion and novelty and laughter binds a community together, only social media can combine the two in a formation that provides support for those with niche interests. Despite this unique benefit, the creative benefits of social media are mirrored by their negative counterparts, specifically jealousy and envy. Any given user may experience envy of the audience and respect that comes with another user’s creativity, and this envy seems to create a barrier to entry in the minds of those who are not naturally talented content creators.

Additionally, social media comes with extremely fascinating and unique challenges, from the potential for a creator to be canceled for past social wrongs, classic cultural insensitivity in new virtual forms (ex: digital blackface) and the ever present and proliferating threat of getting content stolen. The most important aspect to recognize in this relationship between creative users and social media platforms is that personal data is harvested as a by-product of users engaging with new and creative content. Creativity on social media is incentivized then not for its own sake, but for the sake of the market and to improve the algorithm in a cylindrical process that makes creative authenticity difficult to identify.