The Polarizing Effect of Pinterest

Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the past couple years, you are no doubt well acquainted with that social media phenomenon–no, not Facebook–Pinterest. Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board, a place for you to “pin” all the things you find online that inspire, inform, and entertain you.  Everything from recipes, workout regimes, hairstyles, fashion, kids’ activities, furniture, comics, cleaning schedules and supplies….well, really everything is pinned.  Before Pinterest, we all used to have a zillion pages bookmarked in our browser.  Pinterest gives us a way to organize and, more importantly, share those amazing finds with everyone else. 

Pinterest, I’ve noticed, has quite the polarizing effect, at least on fellow moms.  You’re either of the “Bah! Who has time for this crap?  Pinterest, you make me feel bad about myself!” school of thought, or the “I love Pinterest!  It gives me so many great ideas!” school of thought.  For a while, it even seemed to be the rage among mommy bloggers to rip into Pinterest and talk about how the platform makes them feel like failures.  The problem is these women are 1) assuming that women that pin a ton of interesting ideas are actually following through with some of them and 2) feeling like they need to compete.  Even news outlets have joined the banter, like this recent Huffington Post article that claims “Pinterest is Killing Feminism.” 

I don’t quite understand the mom critic who decries the platform because it makes her “feel bad about herself.”  As I said in my post on passing judgment on fellow moms, we are all at different places in our parenting (and life) journeys.  Likewise, we all have different values.  I try to pin only ideas that I could feasibly see myself using, but some women like to pin everything that inspires them, from fabulous ballgowns to works of art.  And that’s fine!  If you walked into someone’s home office, would you begin critiquing the contents of her bulletin board?  Remember that you (and your friends) may not be represented by images found online.  Just as you can get a really inaccurate portrait of what someone’s like by reading their daily Facebook status updates, your friends may not be their pin boards.  So stop comparing already!  If it makes you feel bad about yourself–which it shouldn’t, because it’s about sharing ideas–don’t log into it.  Life is far too short to spend in endeavors that make you unhappy.

I tend to be more of an advocate for Pinterest because I have found wonderful ideas on it that I would never have discovered otherwise and I do make it a point to try to accomplish at least some of what I pin.  My friend Keelin gave me this bit of advice, and it helps a great deal:

Any week you log into Pinterest, you must also accomplish one of your pinned recipes and one pinned craft or activity to “pay” for that time you’ve spent surfing pinboards.

The pins you accomplish can be from prior weeks; they don’t have to be from the same week you’ve pinned them, but this system has forced me to actually evaluate what I’m pinning and to make the time spent online pay off offline. I also created an “I Did This!” board where I repin the pins I accomplish. 

I also happen to like Pinterest for the selfish reason that I have a public blog that I want people to visit, and all of my top blog posts happen to be posts that were pinned on Pinterest and took off like wildfire.  So thank you to those of you that have ever pinned one of my posts!

I have found many truly wonderful recipes on Pinterest–discovering fabulous new vegan blogs in the process–and there are too many to list here.  However, I did want to highlight just a few household successes I’ve had as a result of Pinterest.  Naysayers out there–really, you do have time!  Many recipes, activities, and crafts that are pinned take mere minutes to prep.  Instead of focusing on all the ways Pinterest is making you feel bad, consider all the ways Pinterest can bring you a little joy.  Because that’s what sharing ideas with friends should bring you:  joy.

My first Pinterest kids’ activity last year was a hit: Paint in freezer bags, taped over white paper
A 5-gallon bucket with a $7 bucket tool caddy corrals kids’ art supplies
This Paper Coterie album/memory book provides places to write all the funny things kids say. 
Cut-up pipe cleaners and place in jar, then manipulate from the outside using a strong magnet
A memory jar provides a place to write memories that made you smile during the year.

3 Responses to “The Polarizing Effect of Pinterest”

  1. I agree completely with your pinterest opinions. My only complaint is that any time I do anything creative- people always say- “oh, I saw that on pinterest” ! Sometimes I like to pretend I come up with all my creative ideas by myself 🙂

  2. Therese says:

    You’re dead on again. I’m a pinterest fiend, but mostly for collecting ideas (history, art) than projects (I’m a clumsy oaf and I know it. Messy, too.) But it kills me, the paint in the plastic bag? That’s the FIRST pin I ever did in real life, too! Except I used food colored water. I love this blog!

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