Pinterest: the good, the bad, and the ugly

pinterest-logo-2-1074x1067As it says in my bio, I’m a big Pinterest fan. While I wouldn’t say I spend hours a day there, hardly a day goes by when I don’t take a peek for a few minutes. It’s my go-to spot for puttering on the Internet when I’m at home (on TDS Internet, thank you very much). Despite my love for it, I will admit that sometimes it’s more of a love-hate relationship.

Aren’t familiar with Pinterest? It’s a virtual bulletin board—well, boards (plural) because you can create however many boards you’d like. Then, when you’re surfing the Internet, you can “pin” ideas/products/images you’d like to remember. When you pin something, you get a picture and the chance to write a description.

Pinterest isn’t all private though, it’s a social media. Your boards are public and anyone can “follow” your boards and see what you’re pinning. Likewise, you can “follow” other people you know (or don’t know). You’ll see those pins on your home feed—the idea being that they might have pins you might also like (and vice versa for folks that follow you). You can also see “pools” of recent pins, sorted by category, from the entire Pinterest community (and you’re one of them).

First, the good.
Pinterest is a great alternative to saving website “favorites” when there’s only one thing on the site you’d like to come back to. I also like that it’s so visual. I can go to one place and breeze through my pins and easily remember why something inspired me. It’s like virtually cutting things out of magazines and putting them into binders (not that I ever do that kind of thing because that would be pretty crazy ;-)).

Part of what I find interesting about Pinterest is seeing what resonates with the wider community. For example, my most popular pin shows IKEA spice racks being used for bathroom storage. It’s been repinned 8,990 times! Who knew bathroom shelving would be so hot? What’s even funnier to me is that I actually bought the spice racks, painted them, and haven’t even put them up.

Then the bad.
The above story brings me to one of the bad things about Pinterest: project backlog. Pinterest is so fast, easy, and inspiring that when you see the images, tutorials, or recipes it’s easy to think, “Great idea!” and pin away. Before your know it you’ve got 157 tutorials (you know, just for example) pinned and no time to do any of them (well, maybe 2) but you soooo want to. Or worse, you attempt to make a project but it looks nothing like the pictures.

I don’t know if I’m happy or sad to know that I’m not alone in these feelings. Fourty-two percent of moms surveyed by the TODAY show said that they sometimes suffer from Pinterest stress – the worry that they’re not crafty or creative enough. Pinterest is apparently making us all feel like we need to be Martha Stewart on steroids. Yikes.

And then there’s the ugly…
When I find myself feeling like my crafting skills are inadequate I take a little joy in going to Pinstrosity or Pinterestfail. These two blogs capture what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling, so to speak. They are the real-life crafty outtakes you never see because only the perfect versions end up on Pinterest.

What can I say? It’s always refreshing to see that I’m not alone in having crafty failures. In fact, when I saw this image on Pinterest I HAD to pin it:
pinterest cookie monster

So what’s the moral of the story? Enjoy Pinterest for what it is—a neat place to find creative inspiration—but don’t take it too seriously. Let yourself off the hook for not being Martha and just enjoy the process of being inspired and doing what you can. After all, your kid might laugh at the ugly Cookie Monster cupcakes, but he or she will happily eat them anyway :-).

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.

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