Why I’m Addicted to Pinterest

Why I’m Addicted to

I am very much addicted to Pinterest, but I’m quite surprised that I am. It has no immediate practical use, at least to a user like me. In my critical moments I tell myself that I have wasted hours forming and fussing over my boards when there is no measurable return for them. But I enjoy it, so most often I ignore that pragmatic inner voice and just carry on anyway.

This is not to say that there are no practical uses for a social platform such as Pinterest. There are many. Some use it to upload images that are related to their trade; for example the showcasing of clothes that can be ordered online. Pinterest can also be used to increase your web presence. Furthermore, if you come across ideas on Pinterest and then apply them to your life (albeit that you follow directions for a household DIY project, or you copy a hairstyle you’ve seen, or you see a picture of a place you’ve never been to and then travel there, or you read an inspiring pin and it changes your attitude), then there’s practical value to it. You never know how a seemingly ‘small’ thing you see or read might change your life in an unexpectedly big way.

But that’s not why I’m hooked. For me, it’s primarily about aesthetics. My wall is a place of unapologetic loveliness and charm. Secondly, it’s a kind of inadvertent journaling. I’ll explain what I mean further on.

For those that don’t know, Pinterest is a free social media tool that acts as a virtual pin board. You can upload or copy – ‘pin’ (verb) – images of anything to your personalised wall. You categorise each image – ‘pin’ (noun) – by grouping it with others on various ‘boards’, of which you can create as many as you like, calling them whatever you choose (for example, “Black and white photos”; “Craft ideas”). You can also write captions for your pins and anyone can comment on any pin as all boards are public. (Although a new concept has recently been introduced: secret boards. You can now have up to 3 boards that only you and those you choose can see; such a board could be used, for example, to pin pins relating to a surprise party you are planning.) Visually, the site is eye-catching at worst, quite gorgeous and beguiling at best.

In terms of my own wall, I essentially like to create boards that I consider beautiful or striking. (Even the humorous boards I try to put together in a way that I find visually appealing.) When I speak about ‘creating’ boards I’m very aware that my so-called creations are made up of images copied from others – I didn’t photograph or draw or compose any of them. But the selection is mine, and there’s the process of depositing them in the places and sequences that make sense or appeal to me, with captions I’ve chosen, that is also mine.

So while perhaps I should only be talking about ‘arranging’ boards, I don’t really like the phrase as it takes away from the feeling of having created something unique and personal. If you look at my wall I think it’s clear that I like pretty things, I like photography, I like inspiring and artistically rendered quotes, and I like colours that harmonise. I even try to ensure that the cover images of all my boards complement each other.

Then, when I stop pinning and go to look at my boards, they contain only the things I enjoy seeing. It’s like walking through a favourite garden or art gallery, once again coming across the many things I find lovely.

The other reason I said I like Pinterest is that it feels almost like a journal. That is to say that, similar to reading over past journal entries, when I browse through my boards and pins I find that they reflect who I am back to me. It’s like stepping away and taking a third-person look at myself, similar to what I do when contemplating my bookshelf to try to guess what a stranger would deduce about me based solely on the titles displayed. In its own way it helps me to take stock of where I am in life and what I value.

Pinterest users can follow other users who are likely to have pins they might want to repin, and in this way it’s very much a social networking site. Many users have tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers. But while the very nature of Pinterest is public, for me it’s really a solo sort of affair, one where I sit quietly in a world of my own, happily pinning away for ages. There are other social media sites that I use for more practical purposes, but this one is escapist, absorbing, and I use it purely for pleasure.

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