Pining for Pinterest


Pinterest. You’ve heard of it: moms pinning “must-do” recipes, girls planning their outfits months ahead of times, enough DIY projects to last a lifetime. What is it about Pinterest that has made its popularity boom?

Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp began development of Pinterest in 2009. It launched in March 2010. Now, in 2014, Pinterest has over 70 million users. It features “boards” onto which users “pin” images, which can link back to a website or source for instructions or more information. Originally, Pinterest was invite-only, but it has been open to the public since August 2012.

“It was kind of a bandwagon thing, ‘cause everyone else got one,” Cassie Batesel, BLHS sophomore, said. She uses Pinterest mainly to organize her photography inspiration and find crafts.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if I would like it,” admitted Lauren Smith, also a sophomore. “I just heard some friends talking about it, and how they would get like recipes and really cool DIY projects from it. I never imagined how addicting it could be! It’s so much fun.” Lauren now has 86 boards and over 4000 pins.

One of the most popular categories of pin is the DIY & Crafts section. The results of these “easy” crafts vary. There are entire websites dedicated to Pinterest fails, where the craft or recipe turns out horribly wrong.

Ally Laney, BLHS senior, shared her own Pinterest fail story. “It failed. Completely. I was trying to make volcano cupcakes, and they blew up. And not in the right way.”

Bridget Stern, a photographer from Chicago, has had better success. While she has had a few mishaps with Pinterest, many projects have turned out correctly. She makes a lot of natural lotions from recipes she finds on Pinterest.

Repins are another aspect of Pinterest. Other users can repin others’ pins to their boards, and the original user will receive a notification through email and through the site. Unlike other social media sites, there doesn’t seem to be much emphasis put on what others think. It’s all about you.

Bridget said, “I honestly usually ignore emails telling me who or how many re-pinned.”

Neither Ally nor Cassie care much about repins, either. Cassie doesn’t even view Pinterest as social media.

Michelle Owens, from Kansas City, agrees. She likes the “low human interaction, at least compared to Facebook.” Her favorite part is that she “can read inspirational quotes and jokes without reading personal drama.” Clearly, categorizing Pinterest as a social media site doesn’t cover the whole issue.

Although girls often joke about their Pinterest “addictions,” Lauren doesn’t view it that way, even though she spends a significant amount of time on the site. “It’s just really fun to do in some free time,” she says. “It can give you inspiration to re-do your room, change your style, and your outlook on things.”

There are a few men on Pinterest, but you might have to look to find them. Michelle said, “My husband actually has an account. He has pinned a joke or two and doesn’t really use it.  It does seem a bit strange for a man to be on Pinterest, but I am not really sure why.”

Bridget’s thoughts are similar. “[…] I thought it was mainly women but I have some guy friends that use it. Initially I thought it was weird but not so much anymore.”

People use Pinterest for many different reasons. Michelle looks for decorating ideas and Bridget links her photography back to her site, but Ally Laney’s reason is very specific.

“My mom is obsessed with chandeliers,” Ally said. “We look up chandeliers and look at all the expensive ones, and lights to put in them. And then we try and make them out of glass containers, but we don’t know how to put them together! But it’s always fun. And I get to spend time with my mom.”

Whatever your reason for using Pinterest, you’re sure to find something to pin.