For awhile now, everyone has been ranting and raving about the glories of Pinterest and their ensuing addiction to it. I normally do not jump on the popularity bandwagon until much later throughout the course of a trend– often even after it is no longer trendy. Even when I signed up for Facebook, it was after repeated requests, and simply to see photos of one of my closest friends and her family. I have Twitter accounts that are used very minimally, and as much as I have tried to understand, I still do not get the appeal of Twitter. I have yet to fall in love (or even like) with Google Plus, as much as I normally dig Google technology. I have a Skype account that was made just to be a part of an online beta website test a few months back and never used again.
So recently I made a Pinterest account in order to participate in a promotion from one of my favorite companies. I had to create my ideal office, an exercise that was right up my alley. Though it was fun and pretty easy to do what was required, I cannot say that I had any real desire to stay on the website longer than was necessary or to return again. In fact, I did not return for over a month, and even then it was only to do some research on how other companies and blogs are using the online bulletin board. (For those that care, you can click here to view My Ideal Vintage Office board on Pinterest)
I spent a little bit of time looking at other people’s pages and other companies’ pages, and although Pinterest is “pretty” to look at, I still do not get it. I did some online searching about the service, and I guess I realized why I am not really drawn to it– the primary demographic is females 25-54. I have no facts to back this up, but I have to imagine that these are many of the same people who frequent Etsy, another website that has not piqued my interest. Though I technically fit into that demographic as far as gender and age, often my interests do not line up as clearly as one would expect, and this is a perfect example. (Thanks to Allie at Ramblings of a WAHM for drawing my attention to this funny post about the Pinterest demographic: Pinterest User Pie Chart)
I used to think that I was extremely visual. However, my particular disinterest in Pinterest is making me question that theory. I guess I should have had a clue about that previously when I discovered that blogs with numerous large photos or articles that consist primarily of graphic slide shows held no mystique over me.
The whole reason that I started looking into Pinterest was to see if I should make a page for this blog. From what I can tell thus far, I realized that the social networking site really does not offer any advantage to a blog like this– a blog that focuses more on content than cuteness.
I also realized that I call into question the premise of Pinterest. I have written on previous occasions about not trying to keep up with the Joneses. More than an online bulletin board, Pinterest seems to have become more of an ongoing visual wish list– the modern-day version of window shopping, though possibly more destructive. It also provides an excellent platform to look at what other people have and to wish for their lifestyle, something that has already been a byproduct of social media formats like Facebook.
I love looking at the vintage office that I designed, but I immediately come to the realization that I will probably never have many of those costly items. Why lust over luxury then? Do I not have better and more productive ways to spend my time?
I think that companies are looking to capitalize on this wistfulness that Pinterest may inspire by getting consumers to look and ultimately buy. In my mind, there is enough temptation to bust your budget without spending hours everyday making a pictorial list of them to refer back to later. I heard about one woman who devoted a board to her favorite male celebrity. Why does that remind me of putting photos or posters up in your bedroom or locker as a girl, pining away over something (someone) that you can never have? I outgrew that punishing practice long ago.
Now don’t get me wrong– Pinterest has its merits and usefulness as an organizational or planning tool, and not everyone is on there drooling over expensive items (or men, for that matter). I know that some people use it to keep track of recipes they like, crafts they want to make, or decorating techniques to try, but since pictures are involved, it just seems so ripe to become the ultimate in excessive product placement and web-based window shopping. And what is particularly funny is that we are actually providing the product placement and advertising for companies for free by pinning and re-pinning.
I hope that, in the future, Pinterest will become a friendlier and more productive place for blogs like this one. But in the meantime, I think I will just keep a watch on the trend, as I do not have the time or patience to spend inordinate blocks of my day dreaming over photos on a computer screen. Or, for that matter, preparing boards for others to drool over.
I would love to hear what all of you money-savvy minds have to say on this ever-growing passion for Pinterest, so please comment below, and let your thoughts be known.