By Danielle Gorman
Nearly every college student is familiar with the famous essay “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” by Neil Postman where he outlines how society (in the 1980s) was becoming too focused on electronic devices, various forms of entertainment, and partying it up with friends. I hate to say it, but when it comes to ‘amusing ourselves to death’ we’re doing a much better job today than we were 30 years ago. One example of that would be the new and addictive fixation on the social media website Pinterest.
A bit of history, first. Pinterest was started by (ironically) three men back in 2010 and its original purpose was to simply share photos where you could follow the links to the corresponding website. In the past six years, it has transformed into a space where users (predominately women) can pin and share recipes, outfits, quotes, memes, photographs, etc. If you still haven’t heard of Pinterest by now, then you’ve been missing out on some killer crafting opportunities.
Pinterest has a bit of unique terminology. The pictures that are linked to original websites are called “pins” and you pin them to a “board,” which is a grouping of similar pins which you designate at your discretion. For example, you could have a funny memes board or a wedding board. Or, like me, you could have a board simply called “Yummy.”
Trivia time: Are women the only pinners? Nope! Did you know that there is a place in the world where men pin more than women and it is, surprisingly, Great Britain. And not only men, but men in their twenties. But, for the most part, Pinterest is largely used by women between the ages of 20-40. What has captured so deeply the desire, time, and commitment of women all over the world?
My theory? Window-shopping.
I don’t just mean window-shopping of products. No—it’s window-shopping ideas. Projects. Inspiration. A woman can log on and within seconds find a one-pot recipe that includes the ingredients at the back of her fridge. Or she can get instructions on how to upcycle an old chest of drawers into a chic new coffee table.
But where do you draw the line between being the type of person who is growing by trying new things and the type of person who is just wasting time?
As with anything, a bit of balance is necessary. Just because I want to eat an entire sleeve of Fig Newtons doesn’t mean I should. In the same why, spending hours on Pinterest—while the never-ending, non-stop click of your mouse takes over your life pin by pin—isn’t healthy. You can’t fall into a pinning rut.
The problem with many Pinterest users is that they’ve forgotten half the function of Pinterest. Pinterest is an idea generator, and ideas are useless if not put into use. Pinning, one might say, is half the battle; actually cooking that brownie-in-a-mug is the other.
So if you’re a Pinterest fanatic—or a first time user—take a moment to assess your Pinterest needs. Are you going to spend days in a pinning coma, clicking meme after meme after meme? Or are you going to search for a specific project, follow the directions, and create something? The choice is yours. Let’s make sure we’re not pinning ourselves to death, friends.
P.S. Found a Pinterest project you love? Let us know about it in the comments! Epic fails welcome too.