This Week I Love …

Pinterest.

Every time a new social media/sharing/photo/networking tool is released, I cringe a bit. Even though many of these websites and platforms are great ways to learn about new trends, connect with like-minded individuals, and expand your business or audience, they are also time-suckers. You’ve gotta learn how to use them, then learn how to use them well, then figure out how many of your current contacts should be folded in, find new ones, and deal with upkeep. EXHAUSTING.

When I first heard about Pinterest, I was very, very wary. I didn’t want another account to monitor and manage, didn’t want another tool to tend, didn’t want to fall into another online rabbit hole. But eventually, I caved. And Pinterest is just as much of a time-sucker as I’d feared, but it’s incredibly low-maintenance.

Essentially, the site is a giant, shared inspiration board. Members find images online, “pin” them to categorized virtual boards, and others can not only view those boards but “re-pin” images onto their own. The site preserves any associated links, so you can bop around to the various stores, blogs, and websites that provide the pinned images. I’ve discovered many fabulous new resources this way myself.

But more than anything, it’s great to pile all of my wishlists, shopping fantasies, seasonal inspirations, and interests into one place. The site makes it fall-off-a-log easy to maintain your own boards and explore the boards that others have assembled. And although the decor and cooking pins that flood the system make me feel a little behind the Sophisticated Adult Curve, my dear friend Katie reminded me that just because someone is excited by an image of something doesn’t mean they’re gonna MAKE it. Not all the time.

And besides, it’s easy enough to focus on the abundant style, clothing, accessory, fashion, makeup, and hair inspiration that Pinterest provides. It’s like a visual playground, I swear.

Have you joined? Intrigued? Daunted? If you’re playing with Pinterest, what do you love about it? Anything you’d change? Any folks who pin amazing stuff that we should all follow?

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  • Cel

    Pinterest and I are best buddies. I love it sooo much. I have joined and actively participated in very few social networking websites but Pinterest is like a whole thing of its own. It’s great for recipes and little pick-me-up cute things and all sorts of awesomeness. I think the only disappointing thing is when someone who pins awesome things actually rarely pins anything, and that’s hardly the websites fault hah.

  • I love it! I joined back in June 2010, sent my request, they approved it and then I completely forgot about it, I thought it will be like polyvore, which didn’t work for me as I didn’t have the time to sit and make the collages, (and they never looked as pretty as ones others do). But less than a month ago a found a beautiful picture on a blog and guess what? the source was from Pinterest, then I remembered I have an account with them. So I got a new password and started using it, now it’s always open on my computer, that one and Bloglovin too. Very usefull and as you said as it preserves the associated links you can find resources you didn’t know were out ther

    • Sal

      Holy moly, Romy, you were an early adopter! I didn’t even know Pinterest had existed for that long …

  • OK, now I want to do it. I have been resisting for all the reasons you noted, Sal (you read my mind, spooky), but it all looks like too much fun to miss. Does one need an invite?

  • effie

    Seconded! LOVE IT. Though it is, admittedly a giant time suck πŸ™‚ But what I love most is that I’ve learned stuff about myself. By pinning stuff I really love, and then sitting back and looking at my board I find commonalities, trends … like my dream home board had all these pictures of rooms with white walls. In my usual way of thinking, white walls = boring. But looking at the pictures I found white walls = restful. Likewise I pinned outfits that really spoke to me, and then looked at them and presto, a lot of them had the same silhouette. πŸ™‚ So fun, yes, but also useful!!!

    • Sal

      What a great way to utilize Pinterest! It CAN be a great tool for self-exploration.

    • LisaZ

      This is exactly how I use Pinterest. Which is the same way I have long used collage boards of magazine pictures, whether for home decor or fashion. Recently I have been dissatisfied with the decor (or lack of it) of our bedroom, so I sat down with Pinterest and pinned a bunch of bedroom pictures that spoke to me. It really helped me narrow down colors and styles I liked. And then I discovered I pretty much had everything I needed to “redecorate”, I only had to put it together differently and get some new sheets. πŸ™‚ I’m very visual and affected by my environment so this helps me a lot.

  • I, like you and Patti, have not started because of the time factor…it does look like so much fun…but right now I do not know where the time will come from. I barely manage what is on my plate now. I would love to have the money to hire someone to do the laundry, cook, run errands, organize, deal with grading, etc. just so I could do more social media interaction…one can only dream!!!!!!!

  • Isis

    I’ve been extremely skeptical about Pinterest for one simple reason. It was released when I was in the throes of wedding planning, and undoubtedly would have been marvelously useful in that endeavor. But there was no option to simply create an account; you were forced to use either Facebook or Twitter to use it.

    I’m very wary of integrated social networking, especially when it’s obligatory. I want to be able to do things online without my every move necessarily being broadcast to everyone I’ve ever met. I do have a Facebook account, but it’s only because otherwise I’d never hear about most events that go on, and I ignore it as much as possible. I flatly refuse to sign up for Twitter.

    While I’m sure Pinterest is incredibly fun, useful, insert-positive-adjective-here, I was just far too turned off by the lack of an option to use the tool on its own.

    • Miss T

      I completely agree with Isis. I am not a Facebook user and I also do not want all these networks linked, it’s just too much. And while I managed to get “invited” to use Pinterest early on, I could not muster the concentration to figure it out — I found it completely unintuitive. I think it might be great if it can be used as a tool for one’s work, but as a tool for browsing or to use on your downtime, I found it cumbersome and not helpful at all.

    • Linda W.

      I so agree, Isis! Why is it that Facebook seems to be what “everyone” uses to communicate now? From wedding invitations to what the family is doing for Thanksgiving. Have they forgotten I have a phone and email? Remember what we did before everyone carried a cell phone?

      Love Pinterest for surfing and getting ideas but unfortunately I won’t be joining since I won’t be joining Facebook.

    • Isis-
      I thought the same thing when I signed up. I was bombarded with all these requests/notices about “following” people, all because it was linked to my Facebook account. However, once I signed up, I could turn off the Facebook connection. After I did that a friend told me she couldn’t find me. I like this option because then I can use it for a personal tool, rather than another way of “networking”.

      • Trish

        I turned off the Facebook connection immediately, too. That connection is what made me hesitate about joining for awhile. Since you can break the connection once you’ve joined, I’m not sure why you need to sign up using a FB or twitter account. Does anyone know the reasoning for this? I’m kind of curious about this now….

    • T.

      I got a Twitter account under a fake name just to get Pinterest. I do not use Twitter at all other than as a means to have a Pinterest account. No way would I link Pinterest to FB. I am not big on social networking. I like my privacy, thank you very much.

  • T.

    I use it mostly as a bookmarking tool for myself. Normal bookmarks are a pain for bookmarking photos because you can’t see what image you’ve bookmarked and you have to click through all of your links to see what you’ve got. With Pinterest, it’s all right there for me to see at once. I don’t follow people, and I don’t look at the boards of others. It’s a private thing just to keep my own ideas and inspirations neatly organized.

  • I enjoy it. Mostly I use it for crafty things. I also used it for my Christmas wish list this year. I really like not having to remember which blog I read about what on and then how that particular blogger categorizes things. I still read quite a few blogs and have found more that I enjoy thorough pinterest but its great when I want to make something and I can just get to it from my board.

  • Rachel HB

    I looooooove Pinterest. I discovered it while writing my PhD thesis, when I felt very overcome by “words.” Pinterest provided a much-needed pictorial and visually aesthetic break from my work. I also have found it to be an excellent resource for discovering my personal style. Like effie mentioned above, you start to see trends in your pins.

    • Karen

      I discovered Pinterest in a similar way, Rachel, except I was in the teeth of studying for the GRE and I was getting overwhelmed by the words and numbers I had to study. Being able to play with pictures and aesthetics was a much-needed change from that. I’ve also found it to be a great tool in figuring out my personal style, but it’s also introduced me to recipes and pictures of places that I would probably not have encountered otherwise.

  • Meg

    I LOVE Pinterest. When I first joined, I would easily spend hours pinning. Now I’ve (thankfully!) calmed down a little bit. Usually I’m pinning things myself instead of checking my homepage to re- pin other peoples’ stuff.

    I find it especially useful for outfit inspiration and as a place to store recipes. Having pictures instead of just tagged bookmarks helps motivate me to actually try new things. Plus, I can leave comments detailing what I thought of the recipe after making it, which is great when I make it again.

  • R.

    Hi Sally – Love your blog! Also love Pinterest, though I am often alarmed by the horrible body bashing I see there. Too much skinny-hating, fat-hating, “real women have this or that …..” statements, and all too much judgements of other people’s bodies. Have you noticed this? It is depressing!

    I guess I should stop looking at other people’s pins, shouldn’t I?

    • Sal

      I’ve seen it, too, R., and there’s a counter movement to ban those pins that I really hope gets some traction. It upsets me to no end to see “thinspiration” floating around in there.

    • I went through a couple of rounds of blocking those people (along with some images that were basically soft porn) and now Pinterest doesn’t seem to add them for me anymore.

      Makes me wonder if there’s some icky corners of Pinterest we’re just better not knowing about, though.

  • R.

    Man, my grammar was effed there. Not enough coffee this AM!

  • Pinterest clicked with me and I’ve been posting red shoes there for a couple of months. We actually also started to use it in my research group for pictures of interesting genomic visualizations.

    Go Chic or Go Home, OTOH, has not caught on with me yet. I am hoping someone will tell me how to use it because right now it seems like it would just mean I’d have to blog every outfit on my blog and then again there.

    I am very skeptical about all the social media too, especially since my hobby blogging is not my career and I really try to keep a professional presence that doesn’t include it.

  • I think Pinterest is a lot of fun, although the few times I’ve actually attempted to make one of the DIY’s posted, it has not turned out so well, in particular–what looked like a fabulously easy advent calendar. Paint clothespins red, glue them to a white board with stenciled numbers above. Suspend tiny artistically wrapped gifts from the clothespins. I tried to make this yesterday with my son and OH MY GOD! Not so easy, and not nearly as cute looking in real life.
    Pinterest has made me look at those polyvore outfit groupings with a jaundiced eye. Most of them are basic jeans, a basic tee, scarf, and flats that anybody could duplicate, so why do they look so alluring when grouped in that polyvore format and so dull when you actually don an outfit that is almost identical? I think it’s because the clothes that are displayed on polyvore are all in very small sizes, so you get deceived into thinking you can somehow become perfect (not that I believe thin is perfect) by copying a polyvore outfit.

    I agree with R about the pins that encourage us to hate our bodies. They’re kind of depressing. I saw one completely ridiculous pin with a list of directives like Exercise Daily! Eat Healthy! Be Beautiful! Be Happy!
    That’s kind of a tall order.

  • Kris10

    I’m on their waiting list?! After months of putting it off (due to knowing it’s time-suck), I signed up yesterday. I was a little surprised by that, and don’t feel, like, cool enough to join or something. Harrumph.

    • Sal

      Just sent you an invite. πŸ˜‰

  • Kris10

    Just saw it–you made my day!! Thank you!

  • Sonja

    Sooo … I wanted to join, and they made me join through my facebook account, and used my facebook photo and made all my facebook friends that also were on pinterest my pinterest friends (or how they call it) automatically without asking or giving me an opportunity to undo this. I don’t like machines or computers or websites to take any decisions for me, and also there was no way of contacting the people behind the page, so I deleted my account immediately. I wasn’t happy at all with that, because I would have loved to join, as it seems an interesting tool, but not this way.

  • Ava

    I love Pinterest, but I haven’t been using it as much, because I find that it frequently fails to actually pin things, even when it says it has, so trying to pin things ends up being a huge waste of time and I lose interesting things. If I want to make sure it works, just getting the “success” message isn’t enough – I have to actually click through to see it and check. Sometimes even after three tries a pin still won’t work! And I have to re-type my note for it, or remember to copy it before I try to submit the pin. So – I just wish it worked properly!

    • Linds

      I’ve had the same problem with pinning stuff and it doesn’t come up. I’ve found that the “Pin It” button you can upload onto your favorites bar is much easier then copying and pasting the address onto the actual Pinterest site. When you use the “Pin It” button, it will overlay the size of the image on top of the actual picture. I’ve found if the image is really large or really small, it won’t pin. Maybe that’ll help??

      • Anonymous

        I’m a member but can not for the life of me get the “Pin it” button to upload, so I haven’t been able to actually USE it. I would love to use it for style, cooking, decor, crafts, & even homeschooling ideas.

  • Jessica

    I requested an invite to that site weeks ago and am a little disappointed that I never got one. It kinda irks me, these invite-only sites. Still would like to play around on Pinterest, though. Could you send me an invite, Sal?

    • Jessica

      Nevermind! I found a Pinterest-using friend to do it. I’m excited to start using it.

  • I’ve been on Pinterest for a while and I just love it. Love. I feel like it’s got the perks of other social media without any of the pressure. And for me, Pinterest has been an excellent organizational tool: pinning my stuff helps me save all the great stuff I come across online so I can easily reference it later.

    I would love to have the ability to have a few private pinboards, so I could pin ideas that I don’t necessarily want to share with the world–either because they are visually pretty bleh (like, hardware ideas for my bathroom remodel) or because I want to keep them private (like, gifts for friends).

  • I love Pinterest! Lately my Pinterest usage has tapered off a bit since people keep repinning the same things. But it’s so handy for keeping track of images you find while surfing online and keeping track of the image sources. I don’t save images in inspiration folders on my hard drive anymore–I just pin them.

  • Francesca

    I’d love to try Pinterest (I always enjoy browsing it) but can’t seem to get an invite. May I request one through you, Sal?

    I like the idea of using it as a visual mood board, for honing my personal style, home decor ideas, gift wish lists/shopping ideas, etc. Though I can see myself getting sucked into its time warp vortex…

    • Sal

      You bet, my dear!

  • I love pinterest. I always loved the idea of scrapbooking style ideas, recipes, etc and this let’s me do it super easy, no mess/clutter, and always have it at my fingertips as well as explore others ideas/thoughts. I am a pinning machine.

  • Mia

    I’ve been using Pinterest on and off for a couple of months now, and I definitely find it a fun little addiction! I mostly use it for recipes and outfit ideas. The site definitely isn’t perfect, especially category-wise; it’s pretty entertaining to go scrolling through Food & Drink and see a picture of someone’s puppy, ifyouknowwhatImean.

    Like others have mentioned, the thinspo/fat-shaming leanings of some of the pinners are less than my cup of tea, but there’re also some more body-positive pins I’ve seen floating around that even things out in my eyes. Even if the ladies in the outfits I pin are mostly smaller/thinner/taller/fatter/way differently shaped than I am, I’m happy to take inspiration and apply it to my particular circumstances. πŸ™‚

  • Cat

    Oh dear, Pinterest. Well, I already had waaaay too many hobbies and just started a blog last month. I need another time sucker! Now I can look at new ideas for hours. Thanks to Pinterest, last night my son was melting crayons onto canvas and I was making terrariums. Hey, but it was so fun! I love it.

  • Christy

    Oh, Pinterest? Or as I like to call it, INTERNET CRACK????

  • I’m on it!

  • MNR

    Sally, I completely concur with your initial hesitation, Love the idea of social media, but don’t want to spend entire day sucked into webworld — and it’s easy to see how Pinterest would ensnare πŸ™‚ I have been using it for about 8 months and do love it — though like several others, tend to use it more as a clipbook than a social tool. Have found some wonderful ideas, and fun glimpse into the esthetic of other cultures as well! Ann

  • Viviana

    Had to chime in and say how much I enjoy Pinterest, too. I go there primarily for ideas and inspiration for my second grade classroom. I’m so impressed by the creativity and generosity of all those who share their work and ideas with the entire world! I’m not on Facebook (one year clean!) or Twitter, so I don’t have an account–I just lurk . . . and set the kitchen timer to limit the time-suck problem.

  • I want to pin, and I’ve requested an invie, but it’s been two weeks and nothing in my email. am I doing something wrong?

    • Sal

      Just sent you an invite!

  • Cristina

    I love Pinterest and it was great seeing you join in! (we’re ‘following’ each other)
    I’ve been using it since its creation and I find it extremely useful as a virtual inspiration board and organizing tool. And…yes, it can be a great time-waster sometimes, but it has inspired me to be more creative in my pursuits and set my sights on the things I really want (style-wise)!

  • I was a while after I signed up for pinterest before I started effectively using it. In fact, I have a picture of you pinned! It was an outfit made up of purples, greens, and blues, if i recall, and I Ioved the color combination.

  • I’m on it but still can’t figure it out and I don’t think I want to be bothered with it right now because I don’t have time to. Maybe someday

  • Anne

    I signed up when I saw this post and I still have yet to get an invite. πŸ™

    Really want to start using it, but sad that I’m left out. Sal, would you be able to send me an invite possibly?

  • Sarah

    Oh bother. I didn’t realize that the invite process takes so long. Do you happen to have a spare invite you can send me, (already)pretty please?