Pinterest: The Depths We Will Go To Not Read

I was at a hip, showbiz party in Los Angeles before the holidays, and heard the sentence people hope for when they go to a hip, showbiz party in Los Angeles: “Somethingsomethingsomething is going to change your life.” OK, so I only heard part of the sentence. I wasn’t standing near the showbiz people, because for some reason they don’t spend parties hovering next to the chips, so I had to move closer. But this was why I came, to hear about the next big thing. The influential fad that influential people were into, so that one day I could talk about it and seem to have influence too. I sauntered up to the showbizzers, casually wiping tortilla chip dust off on my pants, and asked in a calm but decidedly fresh manner, “So what’s going to change my life?” They looked at me and said in unison: “Pinterest. Pinterest will change the world as we know it.” Those people, of course, were assholes.

Pinterest, for those of you who never left the chip bowl, is Facebook without the faces. It traffics in pictures, not of one’s self, but of what you find interesting in that moment: perhaps a clever way to arrange bathroom shelves, or an irresistible preparation of asparagus, or, as of this morning, 75,000 pictures of Ryan Gosling. It really is nothing more than that: lots and lots of images, and people are going nuts over it. A few weeks ago, Pinterest became the fastest stand-alone site to reach 10 million visitors in a month. Which confirms one thing and thing only: America will do anything to avoid having to read.

Pinterest is not Pinteresting. It’s not Pinjoyable or Pintillating, and honestly, I have no idea how it’s even Pinpassable as Pintertainment. It’s literally the least amount of information that can be put in front of you and still make you feel like you’re looking at something. You admire a photo, re-post it if you like, and if you’re feeling particularly frisky, clink on it to see if it links to a recipe or design idea. That’s it. Basically, imagine going to a museum that’s been curated by someone’s hip aunt using magazines and Hallmark cards as her only resource, and you’ve been to Pinterest. You don’t have to read anything, write anything, buy anything, or even understand anything. There’s nothing to understand. You just log on and let the pictures wash over as they fly through the air. It’s brilliant in both its simplicity and wildly low estimation of our intellectual demands. Well, judge for yourself. Here’s some recent popular posts, Pinterested?

That’s it. That’s the site. A picture of an empty living room, a baby dressed up like a mermaid, a cheesy aphorism you might find on a teenage girl’s wall, and a bowl of soup somebody made. It’s the first Nora Ephron movie that you have to log into, and yep, you guessed it, there’s a wait list to join.

Of course there’s a line to be a member of Pinterest, and it’s not short. In December, I waited days for access, and recently I’ve been told it takes weeks. All for the joy of being able to experience the Internet without having to process words. I guess it’s not surprising, that what we really want from the web is not more, but less. A chance to zone out at the end of a day, to indulge in something that asks absolutely nothing from you as a participant. In a lot of ways, Pinterest is the equivalent of the 8 p.m. sitcom, except instead of Two and a Half Men, we get two and a half rooms of hardwood flooring. It’s just a different delivery system. What do I do when I want to do nothing at all? Look at babies, of course, dressed up like little baby mermaids.

At least then, there is one good side to this story: the LA showbizzers have no idea what they were talking about. Pinterest isn’t going to change the world at all, it’ll just give us the same old crap in a new medium. So… yippee? TC mark

image – Pinintrest


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  • ade


  • JessSaysHi

    I am so over pinterest

  • Lola Li

    I don’t follow many people but it’s actually a pretty good and simple way for me to organise shit like recipes that look delicious which I’ll probably never bother making and shit I want to buy but can’t afford right now, or ever, so I’m just going to collect images of them to look at later and cry.

  • MoJo

    Nope. It has so many other uses. You can post videos and you’re really downplaying the linking of the picture to the source. If I find a hairstyle I want to remember, I pin the picture, and later can go through all of my pinned hairstyles and get to the tutorials of how to do it. I know people who are schoolteachers and get lots of craft ideas, etc. It’s social networking for the scrapbooker.

    Tl;dr I think you spelled tumblr wrong. :]

  • Michael Koh

    oh the pinsanity

  • Froggyis

    I can’t believe this is a real thing. So I went there and saw it. A freaking picture with a word randomly thrown in. I feel as if I could have done this but was too busy working. They just say random things. Ice. Water. Ballon. For a minute I thought it was an Obsession commercial.

  • Chelsea

    I think I’m gonna pin this article.

  • Kaitlynn Peters

    Am I missing something, or is it Tumblr for 30-somethings?

  • whatisthis

    Is it just me or is Pinterest really similar to weheartit and imgfave? tumblr without words would be close too, since I was there for three minutes and saw a TONNE of tumblr posts.

  • Kelsiemarshall

    While agree that Pinterest isn’t going to revolutionize the world, I don’t think you are not giving it enough cred.

    I have gone back and used it for recipes, projects, crafts, etc. that I would have never looked up on my own, but since my friends recommended it I tried it out and loved most of them. Pinterest is one of the best at actually citing back to the source because it does it automatically. For me that’s the biggest difference between these other mediums being mentioned. Also, wasn’t Facebook just the new Myspace? As the Barenaked Ladies said, “It’s all been done!”

    • Kelsiemarshall

      Whoops, I meant “While I agree . . .”

    • Kelsiemarshall

      Oh and a double negative . . . I should start posting not half asleep. 

  • Jessica Murfin

    Spoken like a total dude. You may have no use for the site, but as a blogger, a woman and a DIY crafter this website is total gold. It gives you a single place to catalog all the stuff you are interested in and helps you share ideas with other similarly minded people/friends. It’s not all about the “pretty pictures” or laziness you jacka$$. I have made many recipes, gifts and projects from items that I found on pinterest and it has launched many a blog into the upper echelon of awareness on the web. No, it’s not revolutionary, but it’s definitely about more than laziness. 

    • GSBsuper

      Just so. Pinterest is something I use for myself. I don’t use it for entertainment. Rather, it’s a kind of digital breadcrumb trail I use to archive things I’m interested in that I might want to revisit. Striking images, posters, recipes, clothing, etc. Sure, I could bookmark them in my browser, but Pinterest bookmarks them with a picture which is much more useful. Sometimes, if I’m interested in something and want to see what others like in the same subject area, I can find interesting leads. No, Pinterest doesn’t “change everything,” nor does Spotify. These things have their place.

  • biteme

    I can’t remember if I was waitlisted for Pinterest or not, because I opened my account before it started getting buzzy. I don’t think you get what it’s really for, and maybe you’re not really the market for it. Maybe you’re too old for it? 
    That being said, I liked that one line with all the “pin” puns, even though you were just putting “Pin” to replace the first syllables of a bunch of words. I mean, WTF is “Pinpassable” supposed to be? Passable as Pintertainment is already alliterative, and better conveys whatever it is you’re trying to say.

    • Tanya Salyers

      I was confused by pinpassable as well…

  • Girl

    Dear Tumblr SuperUser, 

    It’s called evolution. Love, The Internet

  • Guestropod

    I really, really do not get Pinterest.  I mean, people seem to think it’s like… such a great way to store recipes and crafting ideas?  But like… isn’t it just as easy to bookmark it?  

    • biteme

      I think the boom in Pinterest started when Yahoo made all those abysmal changes to Delicious, which was the handiest bookmarking site around. A bunch of people migrated to Pinterest, which has the social networking edge as well, and then some moved to Pinboard.

  • A Lemon.

    So, I’d like to think that this is wrong, because I do like pinterest…
    But honestly when someone asked me why I liked it, I’m like…
    “ALL TEH PRETTY THINGS…in one place!”So. I decided to add a pin of my own with a cute manicure that linked back to the tutorial so people who pinned it to their own boards would at least have a link to do it themselves…and the first repin I get, someone deletes the URL and types in “nails”and files it under “Pretty.”….smh:[

    • Kitty

      That’s the point. A description goes in the box beneath the photo. Clicking on the photo twice will bring you to the original website of the photo, where they will find the tutorial. Pinterest automatically links for you. 

  • mob

    great post. terrible title.

  • Amena Syed11

    Ever heard the phrase “a picture is worth….?” pictures are inspiration and motivation. They also (along with words) create emotion that I feel is discounted in your piece.

  • Shana

    First off, this whole post screams, “I’m an elitist prick”. Second off, it seems like the author of this post explored the site for a bit, deemed it useless for his needs and therefore useless overall as a website. This makes no sense to me. Even if you don’t craft, or aren’t artist in any way, it should be clear that this is a great resource to easily tag and group resources for various reasons. I use it to keep track of tons of things, and has been incredibly useful. With the massive amount of inspirational pictures, ideas, tutorials and articles out there, it makes a ton of sense to be able to visually organize it. Also, some people are just more visual than others anyways. The thing I’m not getting is why just because some one uses Pinterest for collecting and sorting things, it automatically means they want to avoid reading. That’s such a weird connection to make. 

  • Winter

    Man, can’t I love reading and Pinterest? Earlier after finishing my favorite book and sobbing my eyes out, I promptly went to Pinterest and made a whole board dedicated to cute animals wearing glasses. Oh sorry- I meant recipes and useful things. Yep. Heh, but yeah I love it. I don’t really care to follow anyone or whether anyone follows me. I just like making lists a bit too much, and this gives me an easy visual way to do that. 

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  • SSJPabs

    I’m not sure how pinterest is different than watching cat videos. And yet cat videos as everyone knows are the backbone of the internet.

  • Tiffany

    You failed to mention that some of us actually use this for our JOBS, such as teachers. I’ve gotten lots if great ideas for my classroom off of this site.

  • Rhaag 20

    Why do some people have to be so critical? Its just something that is fun that can lead you to other fun things to do or try. I understand that many more useful things could be done with ones time, but everyone should have the opportunity to have fun. I ALSO REALIZE THAT ONeCAN HAVE FUN WITHOUT PINTEREST. The whole point of pinterest is to give you ideas of fun things to do that you may not otherwise think of. You should stop being so critical and relax a just a little.

  • JetBlack

    Are you into Pinterest?  Me neither.  If spell check doesn’t recognize it, it’s not real :)

    • biteme

      Spell check doesn’t recognize jetblack as a word. 

  • Reebee7

    So after hearing about this site over and over again, I finally visited it.  While I agree it won’t be revolutionary, and while some of it is crap, I think there is something to said about photographs and artistic importance.  It’s meant to be a visual site, clearly, and some of the pictures–including, I think, some that were sampled here–are rather neat. 

    Thought Catalog can be a person’s destination for writing, Pinterest for pictures.  Two sites dedicated to two different mediums.

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