In a world of social media seemingly dominated by Facebook and Twitter, not to mention the surprising number of things for which one can evidently use Google+, one social media site stands apart from the rest – Pinterest, which is now the most trafficked social media site.
Despite its allure, and the fact that most of my girlfriends use Pinterest, I refused to join the community of pinners. Being from Portland, I tend to distrust anything that has widespread popularity.
In November of last year however, I finally succumbed to the Pinterest fad, boredom being the main catalyst. Linking my account to Facebook, I am able to see whatever my Facebook friends “pin,” and I can search the site for anything I could ever hope to find. It is a little terrifying how much is on the site, actually.
As I browsed through what my friends deemed worthy of pinning on the Pinterest version of a newsfeed, I noticed something right away: Pinterest is mostly just pretty. It’s a predominately visual experience.
I discovered a real lack of substance behind the eye-catching photos. Pinning is designed to be simple and quick, not a selective process. In fact, the easiest things to pin are not links to other articles or websites at all, but just pictures of quotes, food, weddings or travel destinations.
To synopsize my thoughts the first time I went on Pinterest: “And I thought Facebook was a colossal waste of time.” A fairly new phenomenon, Pinterest usage has skyrocketed since it first launched. In October of 2010, Pinterest had 40,000 users; exactly one year later that number had climbed to 3.2 million.
There are thousands of new users each month, and the average Pinterest user spends 1 hour and 17 minutes on the site each day. That’s a lot of time to spend clicking on pictures that may or may not lead to helpful links elsewhere on the Internet.
Clearly, Pinterest has a widespread appeal, especially in the United States, which accounts for 60 percent of the site’s traffic. Why on Earth is this the case? More importantly, why have I not deactivated my account?
I think Pinterest fits well within the existing American psyche. It is the perfect way for us to gather ideas, get inspired, and be creative without actually having to do anything.
Someone can decide they want to get in better shape, so instead of going to the gym or taking a fitness class, they get on Pinterest and pin body sculpting exercises, workout outfits, and quotes to keep them motivated.
It’s the ideal combination of having good intentions and remaining lazy; a way to dream without doing the hard work to make those dreams come true.
This is problematic when the motivation and zest for life begins and ends with the Pinterest session. Our lives should be so full and exciting that anything we see on Pinterest comes in second place to what is tangibly in front of us.
I wonder if the use of Pinterest actually enhances the lives of avid pinners; I wouldn’t say it has enhanced mine.
Do those pinned recipes parlay into a better dinner party than one could have sans Pinterest? Do the quotes said by people we have never heard of really make us more confident and secure?
Judge for yourself, of course, but my hope is that whatever someone pins, myself included, does better an aspect of their life overall, not just their afternoon.
Laura Klatz is a junior government and philosophy major from Portland, Ore.