What’s the point in Pinterest?

I tend to approach new social networks in a similar way to exciting new gadgets. You read up on how amazing they are and decide that this will be the thing that finally makes your, until now, average life meaningful. You rush home from the shop (or probably more likely, the letter box or local Royal Fail delivery office, because, despite you waiting in all day, the Postman somehow managed to ‘miss you’…again), gleefully take it out of the box, throw away the instructions and set it up, grinning all the way. You enter all your details and sync everything you possibly can together, find all your friends who are all doing the same, and then put it down and never use it again.

Now you have a perfect collection of expensive things you don’t use, but are all connected, so that if you do decide to pick one up and actually do something with it, all the other things reblog/repost/tweet/share the thing you just did all over the internet and people will marvel at how awesome you are for having all these things!

I do this with actual gadgets, on average, once a year, mostly because I am self-employed and, as a result, poor. Social Networks are, therefore, the perfect solution to get my fix of exciting new things without the cost, and this time, Pinterest was my anti-drug.

Now, at this point, I would explain to those who weren’t already aware (perhaps because they, up until this point, have shunned all technology and have been living with their fingers in their ears humming a jaunty tune) what Pinterest is. But the thing is, I don’t think I can. Sure, it’s a site that allows you to share the things you find cool with people you know (or more likely, don’t know) in a relatively sexy way. But I don’t actually know why this is something that I want to do, and therefore, I don’t actually see the point* (heh) in Pinterest.

Pinterest have been very clever about their sign-up process, as before you can actually join, you need an invite. To get one, you give them your email address and then wait for about a day until they email you to tell you “you’re in!”

We Want You

And you get that fuzzy, warm feeling inside, that you’re special, like your Mother always told you. You’ve passed their, no doubt, rigorous approval procedures and have been allowed to join their elite club and mock those who fell at the first hurdle. You suddenly feel the need to buy a top hat and a pipe, and toss your head back expelling one, single, derogatory ‘HA!’ in their direction…just me then.

Anyway, you fill in your details and pick some things that you are interested in from a list of things which pretty much everyone is interested in (breathing, sleeping, creating a race of monkey butlers to indulge your every whim) and Pinterest very kindly follows a whole load of strangers for you that have ticked the same boxes as you. You find the people you know from your other social profiles who also made it into the club and follow them, and then you sit looking at your empty profile, wonder what to do next, shut down the browser and go and make a cup of tea.

A few days later, you find something you quite like the look of somewhere else on the internet, and decide that you should use that handy little ‘Pin This’ bookmarklet (mostly because you enjoy the word ‘bookmarklet’) to tell a bunch of strangers that you think this thing is pretty cool. And suddenly some one re-pins it! Some one you have never and will never meet has actually liked the same thing that you like. How this is possible, I’m not even sure, but it’s happened, and suddenly you’re part of an even more elite club than before!

Hooray for Zoidberg

You think this may be the tip* of the iceberg, so you find more things you like, and ‘pin’ them, hoping against hope that more people exist that like the same things that you like, until trying to find the things you like becomes more like work than anything else, and I already have a job (well….) and that first like was just a fluke anyway, and you slink off back to Facebook because at least there people know you and therefore sometimes feel obliged to comment on the things you say.

If some one would like to point out it’s merits, other than attempting to join forces with Zuckerberg in making the entire interweb one giant ‘Like’ button, I would be more than happy to listen and learn.

But to be blunt*: I just don’t get it.

*The author does in no way apologise for the use of shameless pin/point puns in this post. In fact, she revels in them.


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