Pinterest is the hottest new social-networking tool. And it’s digital crack for women.
Even the tech world says this. “Pinterest is exceptionally sticky and keeps it users engaged for long periods of time,” comScore wrote in a blog in December.
It is surging in popularity, with about 11 million unique visitors last month, according to Forbes. The tech world is gaga over a site that may have reached the 10-million-user mark faster than any other.
What this amounts to is a virtual pin board, a space to organize photos from all over the Internet.
I know. It sounded useless to me, too. Then I visited it and fell down the black hole time suck that it is.
The bulletin boards are simple, clean spaces filled with cool pictures of food, crafts, travel spots, home remodeling and decorating ideas, fitness tips, hairstyles, furniture, architecture, kid projects, cute animal photos, cheeky sayings and wedding plans.
It’s the photo scrapbook of hopes, dreams and desires for grown-ups, mostly those of the female persuasion. And that raises the question of whether that’s actually a healthy thing for grown women to be spending time compiling a virtual hope chest.
Pinterest women give themselves parameters like addicts who are in the full bloom of denial: “Only after 9 p.m.” or “Only on the weekends and never at work.”
As one commenter put it on the DC Urban Moms forum: “so sorry that i was introduced to this. it’s very addicting.”
And it has come along at the perfect time, just as the novelty of Facebook is fading, having assured you that your ex is adequately mediocre and now your mom and your boss have friended you.
And unlike Facebook or Twitter, where it is ultimately obvious that your profile photo is from 1987 and your check-ins are no more exotic than Dairy Queen, Pinterest boards (which can never be made private), advertise only your hopes and dreams, the Stilton Gold style you aspire to, rather than the Velveeta life you live.
There is a game we’ve started playing in our house to underscore the eternal optimism of Pinterest. My husband gives me a word, I search for it on the site.
“Toilet paper rolls?” You get photos of delicate wall sculptures, wedding favor packages, seedling pots and adorable owls made from them.
“Tree frog?” Cute froggy pictures, a tree frog bento lunch, a knitting project and a full set of women’s toenails delicately painted with tree frog pictures.
“Bottle caps?” Necklaces, purses and wall hangings.
“Footballs?” Truffles, eclairs and deviled eggs, of course.
“Kitty litter?” The kitty litter cake (gross).
“Blizzard?” Romantic photos of snowflakes falling.
“Motor oil?” Vases.
I finally stumped it with “dipping tobacco” and “jock straps.”
Pinterest revolves around the idealistic, stylized catalogue scenes and magazine photos I have worked hard to ban from my life because they inevitably leave me feeling inadequate, messy, hideous and hopeless.