Ali J over at EverybodyGoTo has an interesting topic entitled “Cut/Copy/Paste – Three Shortcuts That Killed Creativity“. It asks if the Internet has been a contributing factor on plagiarised content, killing natural creativity, turning thinkers into researchers. It suggests that the ‘Net has enabled people to simply search, cut, copy and paste what they need – without thinking about it.
Is there any validity to this claim? I tend with agree with Ali – it is hard call to make.
Ali suggests that web designers would be more inclined to simply search the format that suits them, strip the code or steal the template, add in their content and color scheme (if they thought that far) and voilá instant site.
Whilst this is known to happen around the WWW more often that designers realise, I also see this as a great way to learn. Yes, when I started out on the the web-design path – I copied a few sites down to my hard-drive. Actually, it was more than a few. But you know what? I spent a lot of time ripping the Java, determining what the CSS was doing and why, testing out theories, mucking them up, downloading it all again and retesting ideas till I got it right. Till I had it worked out. Mostly. It’s an ongoing process.
Interestingly, most web-designers don’t even need to copy and paste any more. Firstly, they’ve installed Mozilla Firefox. The latest version has the option of including the Chris Pederick Web Developer extension [direct d/l]. This enables the user to look directly into any component of any site and alter it accordingly. An amazing development! (There are many other Mozilla.addons that MF-users might find interesting to add!)
Therefore anybody who calls themselves a programmer, coder, web-site desiger, or hacker has instant easy-to-install-and-use buttons to push and play with. No more cut and paste, unless you move it to a new page.
But like Ali says, “Cut/Copy/Paste will just keep you at the starting point…”, and doesn’t allow you to express yourself.
I often find it more fun to take a screen dump the image of the entire-site, then imagine the code it took to make a site and attempt to recreate. More often this brings up more interesting questions on the code, particularly on how differing features were achieved. I spend hours in MS Notepad (my editor of choice) working on the fiddly bits, testing them for all the faults. Producing a result I am happy with and proud to call my own work.
It’s important to remember: Leadership is earned when you start having original thoughts. There’s no harm in listening and reading to others, just as long you learn from it and come to your own conclusion. Disagreement is not a sin, it’s a right. In any case, being argumentative allows you opportunities to improve your vocabulary and hold your own ground on something you believe, or learn how to retreat graciously when mistaken.
Original thoughts allow culture to have growth, ideas to have fruition and moments to last a life-time.