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Pinterest Yay or Nay

Just read an amazing post over at Coletterie : There Is Always Something More to Buy

You ‘ll have to read it. It addresses the Inspiration/Consumer Black Hole problem that many people struggle with when it comes to Pinterest.

Some of the comments were particularly interesting. These really made me think.

“I was just thinking last night that I need to limit my Pinterest time! (Seriously.)

First I was obsessed with certain blogs; now I’ve transferred that obsession to Pinterest. I feel like a hypocrite because while I tout that I’ve changed my attitude towards consumption (per my last blog post!) I still find myself seriously wanting stuff I don’t need. Initially Pinterest seemed very useful to me, allowing me to curate my style board with looks and “uniforms” that I loved so that I would stop filling my closet with impractical fantasy pieces and orphans that don’t go with anything. But it has evolved into something that has made me want (and “need”) items to complete said uniforms and fill those imaginary holes in my wardrobe.

A couple of questions that I try to keep in mind if I find myself wanting something:
1. The William Morris quote “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Do I truly love this? Do I really need it?
2. “Will buying this really make me a happier person?” Oftentimes the answer is No.

The above usually helps but is not foolproof. :)”  Jen

“I totally get this. I come from a family where a bargain was best and the more I could get for my money the better. As I’ve grown I’ve come to realise that the desire for a bargain is ingrained in me BUT I think it’s about only buying what I LOVE and surrounding myself with only things that make me happy. I started doing that a while ago and it does help to say no to the bargain staring me in the face. Do I need it? No. Do I love it? No. Walk away.”  Juliette

“I find it interesting how struggles like this are understood and felt by so many people. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone and aren’t the only one. I also find it interesting that so many people do the same thing of inspiration collecting, which I do too. I tend to inspiration shop around etsy and google images as I’m still getting to know pinterest.

I never have (and still haven’t) really gotten addicted to pinterest, and am just now finally fiddling with it. Part of the reason being the fact that it IS so overwhelming, and I just didn’t want to deal with it. I can be sensitive to sensory overloads. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own sources of inspiration gorging, but it’s just something specific to pinterest.

My husband and I made the decision to not have cable early on in our marriage. This was in part to save money, and in part because we knew it would be easy for us to just sit in front of the TV all day. I began to notice an enormous decrease in my desire for stuff as a result of not having a constant stream of advertisements in our home. The other things I’ve noticed is that with sewing I don’t have blanket desires to just go shopping. When I finally do break down to get a new pair of jeans because my 10 yr. old pair has finally bitten the dust, I become so overwhelmed by the mall or places where ‘BUY, BUY, BUY!’ is shouted everywhere that I just want to get out as quickly as possible. It’s like being in a pressure cooker.

All of this resulted in me really taking a look at our ‘buy’ culture, and how it’s affected me over time. I went from barely getting by because I was spending all my money on stuff to now saving everything and trying to make a conscious effort to buy smart. Another rule I’ve begun to implement is that each object I make or buy needs to replace something so that that way there isn’t a constant stream of more and more stuff coming into the house, but it either stays the same or decreases. I particularly like this rule when it comes to my wardrobe. However, some things are exceptions to the rule in that I make something my wardrobe needs versus another version of something I already have 10 of…and then there’s my book collection…… :-)”  Rachel W

“This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately. How much more do I need anyway? I’m even planning to try to decrease my possessions with 25% by selling or giving away. Which is a lot.
Also, I want to try to make more of my own clothes. I knit a lot, so that part is covered. Slowly, my sewing abilities get better, so hopefully I’ll be able to have a completely me-made (and vintage) wardrobe in the near future!
The energy you put in making your own clothes (or other things, for that matter – I grow my own food for example) is something I value more and more. I also like the pace of making your own things. It’s completely the opposite of the fast, low quality and dishonest consumer culture we’re living in right now.”  Lieke

“Great post…I thoroughly agree with you on the overwhelming nature of Pinterest. However, I think it can go beyond overwhelming to feelings of inadequacy. That, somehow, my life is not pretty, cute, crafty, sassy, sexy, whatever enough. There is a huge disconnect between “real” life and the fantasy presented on Pinterest. You’re right, you can’t have it all. I think if you use Pinterest as inspiration for your own style/creative persuits it’s fine, but can become damaging if it is turned into a shrine of desire. We’re all OK just the way we are and how we are; the more we realize that, the more the consumerist walls come down.” Kat

“I’m not on pinterest, so take my comments with a grain of salt. But, I’m skeptical of this idea that it’s positive to be fixated on consumption via one’s imagation. In reality, when we are consumers, we have to make all kinds of decisons about the cost and utility of the things we buy. In the imaginary space of pinterest, these barriers and constraints are removed. What we’re left with is the aspirational part of consumerism. The aspirational part of consumerism is what makes it most dehumanizing, I think. We aren’t doing anything when we pin things we desire, we aren’t producing anything, we aren’t getting anything except that feeling of maybe being a better, more interesting, more talented person. It appears to me that that aspect of consumerism is magnified and isolated in most pinterest boards. I understand that lots of people do interesting things with pinterest. But for the most part, I think pinterest de-contextualizes consumption in the same way that Facebook de-contextualizes friendships. And, I see it fatiguing people in a similar way.”  Jordan

How do you feel about Pinterest? Do you find it inspirational in it’s proper place or a black hole that sucks you in for hours and leaves you frustrated and wanting things you can’t have?


11 responses »

  1. It’s a copyright violating black hole.

    • I remember specifically seeing that on your blog that it was a Pinterest free zone. I think some people don’t mind Pinterest because it provides an opportunity for more people to see their work. I’m just starting and no one knows who I am so in my mind publicity doesn’t seem like a bad thing. But I guess if you are well established it changes things. How do you feel about that?

      • Whether it gives free “PR” or “more sales” is not the point—most Google searches will result in pinhercrap hits rather than for the actual artist site. And it started off right from the get-go as a way to take images with no permissions, period, despite their “rules and terms of conduct”. I advise reading the anti Pinterest blog if you are truly interested in the damages done. And one of the quotes in a recent article elsewhere hit it right on the nail : “Pinterest capitalizes on social narcissism, materialism and consumerism..”
        As my momma and every momma through history has asked: If everyone else jumps off a bridge, will you??

  2. Great post. I never really “got” Pinterest so I guess it was actually uninspirational for me. I’l be interested to see what others say.

    • Thanks for your comment. I only recently found Pinterest and though I do love the visual stimulation I often find that it sucks too much time from other valuable creative pursuits. I think it’s interesting that so many crafters seem to have that same issue with Pinterest.

  3. Interesting post. I really like the last two comments—the ones from Kat and Jordan. I think they are spot on and tremendously insightful. When I was younger, I wasted so much energy being constantly dissatisfied with my life, and I threw a lot of money after that dissatisfaction. Thank goodness sites like Pinterest didn’t exist back then. And thank goodness I am not that person anymore. Now even though I might appreciate something aesthetically or craftily, I recognize all the stuff and marketing for what it really is: a lie.

    I do have a thing for architecture and garden design, and I’ve found my way to Pinterest more than once. Occasionally I look for inspiration for my own projects or home. But anymore, when I’m really drawn to something, it’s pretty clear that it’s typically not the “thing” that I’m drawn to, it’s the mood or feeling that the photograph elicits. So I ask myself, what can I do with what I already have or can make to bring that same feeling into my space? This understanding of the emotional pull helps me to disentangle myself from the desire to buy, possess, own, and consume.

    Speaking of which, I had to chuckle when I saw that the site of the original article has ads on the sidebar literally saying “buy ____ now”. Because, you know, there is always more to buy. Lol. But really, I think that she engaged a lot of good conversation about the topic, and it’s good to see people stepping back and recognizing that the desire for consumption, actual or imaginary, really is damaging.

    • It’s amazing how dissatisfaction and spending seem to go hand in hand. Especially when we’re younger.

      I hate that so much about this advertising vortex that constantly tells people that they are not good enough unless they have this new “wonder whatever” that they will just throw out tomorrow. It’s makes me sad that marketing is a lie, as naive as that sounds. I don’t know everything and I wish that if someone told me this is “the best” for this job/purpose/use that it actually was. I think that’s why I rely more on actual factual people now then what the packaging says. You say this really works or is awesome, I trust you, done and done :)

      You’re right about the feel of the picture being more of a draw then the item in it. And I like that you ask yourself questions about it. Sometimes people don’t ask themselves why they like a particular advertisment, they just go out and buy the something. Then when they get it home they realize that they could have done or made it better and cheaper with things they already have. Like you said, take away the emotional pull and you become an informed enjoyer of truly valuable things not just a mindless consumer.

      I never thought of the “buy now” while discussing how much we dislike the “buy now” mentality. That is pretty funny :) I guess it’s hard for a producer of items to discuss that sort of thing because you do have a business, you need people to purchase your product to support yourself but still you don’t like consumerism. I think that gets back to the trust factor. You can only really get away with it if people trust that what you are providing is truly valuable to them personally, a service that they need or will enjoy, thoughtfully created and appropriately priced. I thought it was an interesting conversation. Thanks so much for your awesome comment!

      • It wasn’t a judgement against her at all. A person’s gotta earn a living, after all. It just gave me a chuckle. And totally made me want to buy the Juniper pants… ;)

      • I love some of her patterns, the dresses especially!

        I think it just made me pause to think because as someone who wants to start a business you have to make sure that you don’t turn into what you dislike. I don’t like walking into stores that push you to buy landfill because it’s “on sale” and “you must have it”. If I’m going to buy something I want to love it, actually need it and know that it will last. So I have to make sure that I offer the same quality and beauty that I expect to purchase. If I wouldn’t spend the money on it, why push it on other people to buy?

        I think Sarai has done a great job with that. She firmly believes in making her own clothes, she has a very definite style in mind and then she produces that. That’s why I enjoy her blog :)

  4. Mmm interesting, I get what you’re saying. There are enough boards on Pinterest that are wishlists, and pins confessing people’s addictions to it, but I like Pinterest, a lot. It’s not a problem for everyone I don’t think. For me, I don’t want everything I see on there, for the most part I’m there either to get cheered up by funny things I see or get ideas on how to do my hair or makeup or clean my house. I find lots of good ideas I want to use. But not necessarily a billion things that I Have to have Now. (I’ll admit to a Small wishlist, though) Like everything it has it’s place and needs to be kept there, no?

    • I think that makes perfect sense.

      Like Arlee said “Pinterest capitalizes on social narcissism, materialism and consumerism..” But I think that what’s interesting about that quote is that it uses the word capitalizes. Pinterest may take advantage of issues people already have but that does not mean necessarily that it is the issue or even the absolute creator of the issue.
      Pinterest can easily take over your life and leave you dissatisfied, if you let it. Or it can be used as any other tool, reasonably and responsibly. Though, I guess if you know you’re going to have issues with it, maybe you just shouldn’t use it.

      Thanks for your comment!


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