When I got the invitation to join Pinterest, the exclusive invitation mind you, I felt pretty special. I mean, this was the “next big thing” and a good friend found me worthy. It was like being back in college sitting in my dorm room and hearing a knock at the door, looking up and seeing a envelope slipped under the door. With my name written in calligraphy. And a gold seal. Inviting me to be a pledge at the best sorority on campus! Well…at least I imagine that’s how those things happened since I wasn’t actually ever invited to pledge. But I’ve seen movies, they can’t be wrong, can they?
And while the invitation was flattering, my first thought was that I devote an extraordinary, almost obsessional amount of time to maintaining my facebook page, the two facebook pages that I work for as the social media ‘expert,’ my blog, my twitter feed, my linked in account…oh, and checking emails and just breathing.
But this was a special “for you only with this secret password” invitation. So I took the plunge.
You have to have been living well off the grid to not know that Pinterest (the brain child of Ben Silberman and Evan Sharp) is really just a cyber version of all the notes and stickers and well, crap, we hung up in our lockers at school, our closets at home, or our journals hidden under the corner of our mattress.
It is a glimpse into our soul. A peek at how we want
• our houses to look, especially during the holidays
• our children (and anyone else) to learn and tips on how to make them behave
• our hair, our makeup, our attire to be “just so”
• to think (sometimes poetically more often inappropriately via someecards)
We even pin about how obsessed we are with pining. But secretly we do jazz hands when someone we don’t even know re-pins our pin. A “pay it forward” type of homage.
According to an infographic published by Mashable last April, interest in Pinterest was at a “fever pitch” then, with 2.3 BILLION page views in March alone.
But here’s where the line gets blurred. I don’t know half the people who have “pinned” me. I wasn’t asked to hold their hand, wasn’t given a chance to go “halfsies” on the check, wasn’t given a chance to change my mind. I was pinned. Like a monarch butterfly at the Smithsonian, my entire inner workings of my soul are on display for all to see. In fact, my profile statement indicates exactly what I think of this whole exercise: “A small glimpse into my soul…which makes you a voyeur and me narcissistic. Our relationship is complicated…isn’t it?” And it’s that lack of control, or privacy, which I find somewhat unsettling. After all, my pins are “mine” aren’t they?
And sadly, no. My pins don’t belong to me. In fact, all the things I thought we unique about me…are just, well, ordinary because so many people like the same things I do. I suppose there is a small comfort in that fact, that I’m not as weird as I think I am. But at the same time, it saddens me. If I’m not me, and I’m just a duplicate of you, who are we in this world? My vision of self is now a bit distorted. I can’t afford any of the clothes I “pin” to my “Fashion Do or Don’t” board, but I want everyone to think that I dress that way. I don’t cook, but I pin pictures of pretty food I’d like to cook (and I promise you half the people who have pinned those complicated cupcakes don’t make those cupcakes either), because I want everyone to think I should be on Top Chef.
I want to belong. When we were younger we connected with our friends over those pictures of Duran Duran torn from the pages of a magazine, or a postcard sent to us from a family member who traveled to Paris, or even that poorly written poem professing love from our 8th grade crush.
Now we connect virtually and have our personal taste validated and acknowledged. We want others to say it’s okay to be obsessed with cupcakes, with Halloween (or other holiday decorations), with Ryan Gossling.
As much as we say we don’t want to be a part of the popular clique we want to be a part of the popular clique.
We want to be pinned. Because belonging makes us feel connected in a world where we are so disconnected. Where we text, like a post, or tweet. Where the interpersonal has become impersonal. And we wait..
But we also crave privacy. We might like sharing, but maybe with only a select few. A secret club within a club. So Pinterest heard our request and just launched…yes, secret boards. Where you can invite a close friend (or two) and pin about your birthday wishes or the surprise birthday party you are planning for the one friend who you didn’t invite to your secret board…and who will wonder why they weren’t invited. Better make that a humdinger of a party or else you might just lose that friend.
But what’s the next big thing? Instagram just launched it’s own version of a quasi-Facebook page and Twitter is about to launch it’s own Instagramish photo option. What’s a social media girl to do except wait for the next glittery invitation to…a Google+ hangout.
It’s where all the cool kids are these days.
What are you favorite Pinterest boards to follow? Be sure to follow us on Pinterest!