In high school, I had a bulletin board in my room, plastered with torn out magazine pages featuring "Twin Peaks" special agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLaughlin), music contest ribbons, speech contest medals and class pictures. In college, on the back of my dorm room door, I sticky-tacked show posters and quotes from plays. Today, my bulletin boards are covered with cute wreath ideas, adorable children's clothes and decadent dessert recipes. Did I mention that my current bulletin boards are virtual? Though more real than my teen romance with the special agent, the boards exist in cyberspace on a site called Pinterest.
If you haven't been sucked into the web vortex of Pinterest yet, let me explain. It is one of the fastest growing social media sites: It got 10 million monthly visitors faster than any other site tracked by comScore, including Facebook and Twitter. It is, as Barbara Ortutay of the Associated Press described it, "a digital dream collage, a recipe box and a corkboard full of magazine clippings all at once." Once you become a member of Pinterest, you can "pin" anything that strikes your fancy on the web to your "boards," which you can categorize. You can also "repin" other users' images. Instead of folding down magazine corners or bookmarking Internet sites you hope to remember later, you can just pin with a few clicks and have all your inspiration in one place.
My fellow pinners have described Pinterest as "fantasy football for girls" and "a fun reminder of the clothes I will never afford/fit into, the home decor I will never afford/fit into our small home, the recipes and crafts I am too lazy to ever make, the sayings I wasn't clever enough to think of on my own, the photos I wish I had taken but didn't." Even my husband has become a pinner. There is a whole niche for guys who post pictures of the action figures of their youth, old school video games and Star Wars quotes. But, this site still belongs to the ladies. Unlike other tech developments where men take the lead, women are the ones who have made Pinterest the rising star of social media.
It's very addictive.
I have been pinning for about 8 months now. I found out about it from other moms at a birthday party. While the kids ran around on cake-fueled sugar highs, I was being inducted. I looked at their pinboards on their iPhones and knew I had to try it out when I got home to my computer. Since then, I have used it for birthday party inspiration, holiday decorating and gift ideas and as a spot to stow images that just make me happy. I now have several new recipes that have been added to our dinner rotation, as well as one for the best chocolate cake my family has ever tasted. While some joke that they spend hours pinning instead of actually doing, others have "Pinterest Parties" where all the guests make something they discovered on the site so everyone gets to try out more recipes and crafts.
I like it that the name of the site is like a code word. I'll bring a dish to church small group that earns rave reviews or get a compliment on the Easter egg wreath adorning my door and simply say, "Pinterest!" Knowing smiles all around. I love it that in the midst of our crazy-busy modern lives, there is something in us that yearns to be creative in a wireless, hands-on way, that wants the connection of a friend, even if it is a cyber one, sharing a recipe for the best party punch. I guess maybe even as moms and thrity-somethings, we long for that blurring of reality and fantasy ... the perfection that can be achieved in our Pinterest life.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some pinning to do.
Brooke Clubbs is a Jackson Mom of three, a freelance writer and communication studies instructor.