Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pinning the Ideal Self

"I don't get it."

"Huh?" I asked, a bit indignantly. "What's not to get?"

"I mean, what's the purpose?" hubby continued, "You just look at and pin pictures. Why?"

At first I was taken aback by his question. It was late in the evening. We were in bed. I had just shown hubby one of my favorite curated boards--@ the Homestead--and was particularly smitten with a recent pin. I wanted confirmation of my latest pursuit, not scrutiny. It seemed so OBVIOUS why I would enjoy Pinterest! But I swallowed my ego, tried not to take the question personally (after all, I had been spending an inordinate amount of time on the social media site...), and considered his question. Fair enough. 

Why DO I pin? What IS the purpose of Pinterest?

In less than 2 years time from its launch, Pinterest has become one of the top social media sites with over 10 million users. How's it work? After getting an invitation to the site and logging on through Facebook or Twitter, users then "pin" favorite web images in an on-line bulletin board or 'pinboard' as it's called. You can create different boards based on interests ranging from fashion to travel to home decor and design. Not only does the site create 'communities' of people based on their likes (you can 'follow' boards or people of your choosing), it's an excellent way to find all things local as compared to the big box offerings found on FB sponsored links. As Jeff Bercovici writes, "It’s more like a craft fair where people go to exhibit their wares, check out other vendors’ offerings, or do a bit of both." Well, now that makes sense to a woman like me who LOVES ALL THINGS HOMEMADE.

Which leads me to what I should've told my hubby last night...I pin because:

1. Pinterest is like going to craft markets without leaving the house! I can peruse all my favorite local indie-crafters and make pinboards of all the vendors I want to visit and support at the upcoming local artisan markets including Sugar Plum Bazaar, Firefly Handmade at the Makerie, and Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market to name a few favorites.

2. Pinterest is like going to a thrift store without spending money! Yes, I will be the first to volunteer to go to the grocery store because the Goodwill is right next door. Just like the second hand store, Pinterest merchandise is constantly changing. You truly never know what you're going to find. And since the pull of the hunt is ever-present, Pinterest serves with its 24-7 hours. 

And at the end of the day, let's be honest.

3. Pinterest allows me to curate my ideal self. I collect all my treasures on-line, arrange them into neat categories, and in doing so, create the most flawless picture of my likes, finds, and desires. As Sonia Saraiya over at Persephone suggests when likening Pinterest as the new women’s magazine, “I feverishly add to my boards with the same diligence I papered the walls of my bedroom [as a teen] — to reflect some idea of who I am, and further, who I want to be.” I agree. I pin myself. I want to be a locavore. I want to repurpose. I want to be crafty. I want to be an artist. I want to be a writer. I want to be a decorator. And I want to be a (sub)urban homesteader. And I have pictures to prove it!

So while it has its issues, no, you can't (currently) pin from FB, and, yes, sometimes Pinterest can't find the image on a particular web page which makes pinning sometimes cumbersome, the draw of the social scrapbooking site remains unequivocally addictive. As Lydia Dishman opens her Fast Company article, "I would have written this article sooner, but I was busy on Pinterest."

So why do YOU Pinterest?

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