So Not Pinterested

I have surrendered to what seems to be one of the latest Internet fads: Pinterest. A few weeks back, my boss invited me to join the site, and I confess I chose to hop on the bandwagon mostly because of its exclusivity. Seriously, though, those of you without a Pinterest account are missing out on nothing more than a poor man’s Tumblr as well as a productivity killer. Don’t we have enough of those already?

Launched in spring 2010, Pinterest is a board-style picture sharing site in which users may “pin” up and share their favorite photos. As much as I enjoy repinning snapshots of mouth-watering Nutella cupcakes and chocolate chip muffins, I don’t totally understand the purpose of Pinterest, unless of course it is meant to be a giant time waster. What will salivating over treats and cookies do for me other than send me to an overpriced bakery in the west village to gorge on Vegan cookies and drain my bank account some more? The same goes for pinning photos of puppies and Ryan Gosling. I can’t have dogs or the svelte actor, so Pinterest must be around simply to torture me.

Then again, therein lies the appeal. People like to strive for something and stay on their toes. Perhaps repinned snapshots of Paris and Rome will give some folks the motivation to plan a vacation or get away from the office for a few weeks. Repins of expensive clothing and houses could remind us to save our paychecks, whether for a trip to the mall or just to have some extra cash in the bank.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to become more self-aware and try to understand the motivations of others, so there’s definitely a personal reason as to why an app with more than eight million monthly users and 900,000+ Facebook fans is not my thing. I may be a Silicon Valley kid and the daughter of a tech blogger, but I simply can’t keep up with the tech world. I’m also more into words than visuals, and Pinterest doesn’t even have a place for me to post an emo status update. I guess I’ll just stick to Facebook and Twitter anytime I have the urge to tell the world I feel like a failure, even though such a message will only lose me followers and friends and further take a blow to my ego. That said, I’m hardly the first to criticize Pinterest. As noted by I Love Charts and Good magazine, the majority of the site’s users are either planning their wedding or wish they were planning their wedding. If it’s not already obvious enough, I’m about as close to tying the knot as I am to entering a retirement home, so there you have it.

If research is correct, there must be tons of female getting ready to say “I do.” Earlier this month, Mashable reported that Pinterest drove more referral traffic in January than LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit, and Google+. Shareholic, the site that conducted the study, attributed Pinterest’s spike in popularity to the asinine and sexist video, “Sh*t Girls Say,” which references the photo sharing site, among many other silly things. The offensive clip, which inspired a series of other underwhelming videos, may have fared well on the Internets, but methinks Pinterest can only coast off that meme for so long before fading into the depths of cyberspace.

At the end of the day, I think my bitterness stems from the fact that I miss good old long-form journalism and fourteen-page articles. Good magazine’s Phoebe Connelly knows where I’m coming from, as she wrote of Pinterest, “Maybe it’s not the best showcase for your 2,000 word investigative piece on mortgage rates among 20-somethings. But for your slideshow of couples tying the knot at city hall, or collection of campaign memorabilia, it’s perfect.”

Actually, I change my mind. I resent Pinterest because it’s not open to just anyone. You have to be invited or request an invitation to join the club, and that kind of elitism simply doesn’t sit well with me. I know I said exclusivity is a major draw to Pinterest, but let’s be real here: You’re not Facebook, you’re a glorified finger painting canvas, so you don’t get to make people feel left out for being unable to show off their favorite pictures of Boo the Pomeranian. There are plenty of other mediums for that.

But if you’re so inclined, you may follow me on Pinterest.

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13 thoughts on “So Not Pinterested

  1. Hahaha I really loved this. I totally agree! I love wasting time on the Internet, but Pinterest is like popular table of the Internet. I respect that other people love it, but unlike Tumblr, there isn’t even really an opportunity for text and that’s a problem for me too.

    Actually, I don’t know what Pinterest is like, because I haven’t been invited yet. Great post Laura!

    • O no! I must really not be popular. I didnt even know this existed! Dang internet and it’s popular tables! (I guess in high school I didn’t know the popular table existed either.)

  2. Pintrest is “nothing more than a poor man’s Tumblr” … love this!! So funny. Definitely still going to check out your Pintrest, though … for my tumblr. :) Very interesting read!!

  3. While I completely respect your opinion, I think you have missed the point of Pinterest. It’s meant to be a visual way to share things that you like. These “things” are links, so I guess you can call it a visualization of your bookmarks. For example, you could pin that “14 page article” that you like. Not only will you always have access to it, but now your friends can find the article as well.

    Remember when people would cut out articles and pictures from newspapers or magazines? Maybe you would tape them to the inside of your locker or glue them to a poster board in your room… With Pinterest, now you can share those interests.

    And to be fair, Pinterest’s growth was impressive prior to ‘Sh*t Girls Say': http://weblogs.hitwise.com/heather-dougherty/2011/12/pinteresting_trend_in_social_m.html

    • Thanks for your input, Jon. I know Pinterest was big long before the “Sh*t Girls Say” video, but there’s no denying the effect the YouTube clip had on its popularity. Pinterest seems like a nice way to bookmark and save things I’d like to keep, I guess I just don’t see how it stands out from other products and services.

  4. I guess I don’t understand the comparisons you make here…pinterest is not built for you to advertise your feelings to the world, it’s built for you to treat as your own personal inspiration board with the bonus that you may, in turn, inspire others. As such, it is decidedly less self-promoting than other social sites such as Facebook where everyone posts what they ate for breakfast as if the world out there cares.

    I don’t use pinterest to post random crap like “my style” or of favorite people–because what’s the purpose? I don’t go to other people’s pages just to browse the celebrities they have crushes on. Instead, I have boards of things I don’t want to forget and I can say that after years of emailing myself pictures (and quickly losing those emails) of, say, a way to decorate a cake that I haven’t tried yet and don’t want to forget, this system is a godsend. I only follow other people’s boards in case they come across a great way to refurnish a mirror before I do so that I can be sure to add that to my list of things to do.

    On the note that it is by invitation only: it’s not elitest, it’s because it’s still in beta testing and they’re not ready to open it up to the general public yet. You may not remember, but when Facebook first started out, it was by invitation only and that wasn’t because it was still trying to work out the kinks, it was because it WAS elitest; your college had to be admitted onto the Facebook system and then you had to have an email address given to you from your college in order to sign up.

    Finally, if your NYR is to understand the motivation of others, it seems like a popular site like this would give you a lot of insight into the way people work; pinterest is a particularly interesting study of our culture. You can instantly spot a variety of different personalities, be they good, bad or just weird. It gives a forever updating cross-section of this corner of society.

    I’m not meaning to sound giant crazy pinterest lover, I’m just trying to open up the discussion to some points that you didn’t seem to think through.

    I guess, in the end, try using it more as an inspiration board (who wants to deal with cutting out magazine photos and taping them to a board anyway?) and less as a way to connect to other people and you might start to see the benefit.

    • Emily, thanks for your input! I appreciate that you took the time to explain something I don’t fully understand. I recognize that it’s still in the beta period, but Pinterest has been around for nearly two years, so it’s time to be a little more accessible. You’re correct, Facebook did the same thing for a while, but they were quicker to open the product up to different schools and people. I agree with your assessment on the roasted carrots picture, a visual is much more effective than words in that sense. I guess Pinterest just isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m glad that it works for so many people.

  5. Just a p.s.– a reliance on pictures doesn’t mean less intelligence. As an art person, I respond better to images than I do to text. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy reading and I, in fact, am a voracious reader of anything I can get my hands on, but if I’m trying to figure out what’s for dinner, seeing an image of roasted carrots sure is going to make me want to eat it a lot more than reading the words “roasted carrots”.

    • Thanks for reading and for your comment, Emily! You’re right that some people prefer pictures, while others favor words. The Internet is great in that it lets you absord both, basically at the same time. I agree that I’d rather look at a picture of a pair of heels than read a list of shoe types. But text is where interactions like this take place, and we really value that. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. Pingback: Things I’m Going to Hell For Hating | Serving Tea To Friends

  7. Pingback: My love affair with Pinterest « Laura E. Donovan

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