Pinterest is the New Crack

Posted on October 12, 2011

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As many of you know, I publically confessed my facebook addiction in a post a few months ago.  Well friends, facebook is NOTHING in comparison to Pinterest.com, the new social networking site that is gaining female addicts across the nation.

My name is Farrell, and it’s been about, oh, about 5 seconds since my last pin.

What is pinterest.com?  It is a compilation of everything you’ve ever wanted.  It is a smorgasbord of recipes that make your mouth water and outfits that make your credit card twitch Harry Potter style in your purse.  It is a gathering of every DIY project (ever), and pictures of some girl’s hair that just won’t go away.

Not only is it virtual eye candy, but it also includes the element of self-validation that is half the draw of facebook. If you think you get a rush when someone “likes” your post on facebook, just imagine how stylish you would feel if someone reposted- “pinned”- pictures of all your favorite outfits.  After about 5 repins you start feeling like you practically invented fall styles.

Oh, and if you think you can just navigate away from my blog and start pinning away, you forgot that this is a very exclusive club.  You have to get invited.

Pinterest.com: an exclusive club that makes you feel really artsy and stylish. The only problem is that every time I Repin something, it also makes me feel a little guilty.

Why?

It is akin to the feeling that you get when you buy something really indulgent that you couldn’t completely afford.  Obviously you don’t have to pay when you pin something on pinterest.com, but it does feel like you are being a spoiled brat every time you write “oh I die!” over a pair of boots.  I want to explore this little niggle of guilt in the back of my mind, so bear with me. And don’t worry… I won’t tell you to quit Pinterest.com (until I myself find that I am able to!).

The Ugly

I need. Should be mine. I deserve this, right? I die. Every time I read captions like this under someone’s pin, I die a little inside.  In many ways, materialism seems like such a harmless “sin.”  So what’s the big deal with somebody “needing” Louboutin shoes or “Dying for” a Michael Kors watch (guilty as charged) or “deserving” the newest maxi dress?  It seems like this would fit in the “bad” category, not the “ugly” one. (Whoa, so many quotations marks up in here!)

But materialism is ugly.  It is a disease that every single one of us are afflicted with, and it has caused further sickness in our economy, in our hearts, and in our world.  I recently learned that there are 30 million people still in slavery in our world today. Shocking?

Where do we think the newest fall fashions, in every single color, in every store a mile away in each direction, in every size, come from??

We are shocked when we hear stories about sweat shops with little children in foreign countries.  But let’s be honest: we are even more shocked when a store doesn’t carry the style we want in our size at a cheap price.  We are the ones creating the market for clothes, computers, you name it made at the cheapest price available at the quickest speed humanly possible.  We are walking around in our Louboutin shoes on the backs of humans who are suffering for our greediness.

Is this pinterest’s fault? No, but it is certainly a mirror reflecting our very ugly disease and simultaneously perpetuating it.

The Bad

Just as we feel that we deserve the newest, best, and cheapest, we also tend to believe that we deserve a break every once in a while (see my theory on Pajama Therapy).  Pinterest.com is a beautiful break, soothing to the eyes and quite a rest for the brain.  There are funny quotes and inspirational stories.  There are happy puppies and thousands of images of beautiful forts (ok, maybe not all of us look at pictures of children’s forts to relax).

But the reality is that a lot of us are on pinterest on someone else’s time, whether it’s at work, at school, or while we’re supposed to spending time with someone in our life.  Pinterest is a black hole of time.  So be careful that you aren’t spending more time on pinterest than you are doing, well… what you’re actually supposed to be doing.

The Good

Last night, one of my best friends told me that every time she puts together an outfit, she is putting together a piece of art.  The part of her soul that thrives on creativity and beauty finds an outlet in her wardrobe.  Pinterest.com is in many ways a celebration of that piece of all of our souls.  We crave aesthetic beauty. I’m not surprised that humans figured out first how to take pictures, and then how to pin thousands of them all at once on a website.  Pinterest is practically an evolutionary leap.

So how do we take our love for beauty and creativity and steer it away from the ugliness of selfishness and materialism?  I think that one of the ways this happens is in community.  And pinterest can actually help with that.

On pinterest.com, there are thousands of ideas for parties, gifts, and crafts that are all expressions of beauty that give rather than take.  Instead of beauty being something we have to inhale and hoard, we can give it away.

For a few friends and I (I’d love you to be one of them), pinterest has inspired a semi-regular craft night.  We pick something that we would love to make, assure ourselves that we MUST be crafty (after all, we are cool enough to have a craft night), and then dive in and figure out how to make it.  Most recently, we made some of the decorations for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. And wow, they look good! But even better, I got to spend time with my friends and talk about things that matter.

When my three siblings and I were very little and would ask to watch movies, we’d try to convince our mom by saying things like, “It’s not that bad!” or “But mom, there’s only one bad word.”  My mom one day responded by asking us a question:

“Let’s say that I were to make you all brownies this afternoon.  Let’s say that I added the oil and the eggs and the mix and stirred it all together… and then I added just a little bit of poop.  Would you want to eat them?”

We said no.

It was a good lesson, because it taught us that sometimes, if there is even only a little bit, one ingredient of what we ingest can kill us.

So now that we’ve explored the good, the bad, and the ugly of pinterest, what is your conclusion? Is there a way to keep pinning and avoid the gross ingredients? If so, how?

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