Hello, my name is Jessi – and I’m a Pinterest addict. If you’re a woman with Internet access, chances are that you are, too. Recently, I’ve been thinking about the allure of Pinterest and wondering at my transformation from a functioning member of society into an anti-social pin-ophile who’s unable to resist clicking the “See More Pins” button just one more time, as I tell myself over and over.
Those of you who use Pinterest will understand what “pinning fever” feels like. I came down with a bad case this month while working on the Home & Garden section of our April issue, especially after interviewing interior designer Martha Morin and professional organizer Betty Huotari. A large percentage of my pins consist of home ideas anyway, and ever since I got engaged in October, I’ve been dreaming about a homey, stylish and clutter-free apartment. Then it hit me, that’s why Pinterest is so popular! It not only allows you to binge on pretty images, it also encourages coveting and materialism. When you pin an image to one of your virtual boards, it gives you a feeling of ownership. In this fantasy world where you can have thousands of different kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms – all different, but each one idyllic and lovely – there’s no dirty laundry in the hamper, no ugly hand-me-down sofa, and no mismatched drinking glasses.
Unlike the claustrophobic feeling you get when you actually own too much stuff, pinning to Pinterest boards gives you a feeling of organization. After all, it’s not as if you bought the 50 outfits you just pinned and now have to find room for them in your closet. All of your pins depicting fashionable outfits are pinned to your Fashion Board, and you never run out of room! You can even micromanage your pins by narrowing your boards. Perhaps you have so many home design pins that you decide to separate them onto a Kitchen Board, a Bedroom Board, etc. I kid you not; there are Pillow Boards on Pinterest: whole boards devoted to throw pillows!
By managing to create a social media platform that appeals to our desire for creature comforts, the pleasure we find in beauty and our satisfaction in organization, it’s possible that Pinterest is a proverbial Dr. Frankenstein and we 70 million (mostly female) users are its nameless monsters, building castles in the clouds and avoiding reality. I do not deny that Pinterest disseminates great ideas and inspiration (I don’t know how I would plan my wedding without it), but sometimes, when I look up from the computer and an hour and a half has passed by, I wonder if my time would have been better spent living instead of pinning.