Social media sites are proving to be more and more useful for creative types on the hunt for inspiration. They provide a new and fast moving stream of ideas and put them right at your fingertips. Why shuffle through loads of irrelevant information when images and links have already been thoughtfully gathered and submitted by other creatives for you?
Image Book Marking
Image book marking sites can basically be used as mood boards, or your own personal library of ideas. The more popular ones like, http://ffffound.com/, are great because they are put together by designers and creative types. They have basically gathered all of the most amazing images on the web for you into one, easy to sort place.
Other image book marking sites, such as http://vi.sualize.us/, allows you to remember your favorite images around the web. If you have a specific project in mind, you can gather images and create a digital mood board using tags, then share it. Beats the days of rummaging through books and magazines.
Social Book Marking
Similar to image book marking sites, social ones (Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg) can be used to collect websites of interest. The sites you find on Reddit or Friendfeed have been thoughtfully submitted, not scraped from all corners of the web.
Following your favorite designers, creatives, magazines, news sources, and inspirational people in social media (Twitter, blogs, Facebook) is a great way to stay on top of new advancements in your field, see trends and get inspired. Often, reading up on what others are doing is a great source for researching a new project or getting past a mental block. If you have a specific topic in mind for an upcoming project, you can also set up a Google Alert and relevant sites and blogs will be collected for you, right in your email inbox.
We don’t ask Jeeves anymore
The key difference between social media sites and search engines is that real live people are creating the tags and recommendations. Some of them may even be your friends, peers and acquaintances. From one creative to another, I highly recommend integrating social media into your search for inspiration.