It has been called “electronic hoarding” and the “most creative way to waste time on the computer.” It helps people around the world find and share innovative ideas and sometimes provides a much-needed giggle or motivational boost.
But what’s the real deal with the hype surrounding the Internet site Pinterest? Is it beneficial in any way, or is it truly just a more creative means of killing time?
Although the Pinterest website has been online for about three years, its current level of popularity seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon. With the site’s growth in popularity has come a sense of camaraderie between pinners everywhere.
Gone are the days of keeping one’s best decorating, crafting and cooking techniques a secret. With this collaborative website, all knowledge is common knowledge, making it nearly impossible to mention even a semi-creative idea without someone immediately chiming in with, “Oh, I saw that on Pinterest!”
Despite the site’s time-wasting potential, many users believe that Pinterest has perks when it comes to organizing and managing handy tips and tricks or even finding inspiration for daily life.
With Pinterest, users can create their own categories, such as style, recipes or humor, and save photos and websites to these respective “boards.” This ensures that all desired information has its own place and can be easily tracked down for future reference.
As with every technological fad, Pinterest has developed a few interesting trends of its own. Perhaps one of the best-known stereotypes attached to the site is that many users are women who utilize Pinterest as an electronic wedding planner. Many Pinterest users dedicate their boards to the dreamiest dresses, color schemes and decor inspiration, and the site even has its own wedding database that users can search exclusively for the perfect pins to help their special day come to life.
But here’s the catch: while some of these individuals are indeed planning to exchange vows, many aren’t even engaged yet. This has sparked a realm of interest about the concept. Why have a wedding board if you’re not even certain you’ll ever have a wedding?
K-State alum Shelby Staab admitted that she does, in fact, have her own pre-engagement wedding board. Staab said she feels that as a group, women in particular receive undue flack for having these collections.
“Yes, I will admit that I have one, and no, I am nowhere near ready for marriage,” Staab said. “But I also have a board full of home design ideas and building plans and I don’t own a house.”
For Staab, Pinterst is simply putting age-old practices out in the open and in one spot on the Internet.
“The whole point of Pinterest is that they took the existing idea of a social bookmarking site, and focused heavily on imagery, making it the perfect place to store all of your inspiration,” Staab said. “Single women have been flipping through wedding magazines and browsing wedding sites for forever now. Pinterest has just made it easier to organize your ideas so when you are ready, you’ll have a much simpler time planning.”
With all the wedding board excitement it would appear that Pinterest appeals largely to the female population. However, men seem to be jumping aboard the Pinterest bandwagon. According to the Huffington Post, in 2012 slightly more than 30 percent of Pinterest users were male. Eric Conner, junior in regional and community planning, said that he’s no stranger to the Pinterest epidemic.
“I’ve had an account for about a year now,” Conner said. “Everyone was shocked when I would log on to Pinterest at work, but now, it seems more normal for guys to have one.”
But what are men looking for amid pins of puppies and cupcake recipes?
“I use Pinterest a lot to look at really nifty things for maybe a future house, just in case I make a bunch of money and can build one,” Conner said. “I have to be prepared.”
Conner said he also has boards for clothing and style because he likes to see what women think looks good, saying it gives him a leg up. He has even pinned a few crafty ideas for home decor.
Despite all of the fun ideas that Pinterest has to offer, it can also offer career planning advice — maintaining it does have a utilitarian value aside from photos of Zac Efron and cake frosting techniques.
Leah Oropesa, junior in secondary education, said that she recently started using the site as a way to locate and save ideas to help her in the classroom post-graduation.
“As an education major, Pinterest has been great to help me find ideas for lesson planning, activities or tutorials,” Oropesa said. “I’m currently using it to give me ideas on how to decorate my future classroom and how to creatively teach lessons in a way that will engage my students.”
Regardless of individual interests, Pinterest appears to have something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking to take up a new hobby, add some spice to your rental house or just need an idea for dinner tonight, this site is a sure-fire way to find the “Pinspiration” needed to make it happen.
Kaitlyn Dewell is a junior in mass communications. Please send comments to [email protected]