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.