You have a choice to make, right now. Before you pin your next pin, before you browse your next DIY Board, you have to make a choice. Will you use Pinterest for good or for evil?
I’m feeling rather cynical, so I’m assuming you’re using it for evil. I’ve used it for evil. I still do, when I’m in the mood.
Is there a wrong way to use Pinterest?
Yes. Pinterest is a beautiful, well-designed inspiration tool that can help you design your life. Down to the colors of your throw pillows and accent doilies, it can help you visualize your new home without lifting more than a finger. Some power pinners can plan every detail, while those of us who more casually browse can get general ideas and color schemes from images we find beautiful.
But here is what Pinterest is not: an escape. If you are using Pinterest as an escape pod from your everyday “ugly” lifestyle, you need to shut it down. Turn off your computer and run very far away from it. Do not spend one more minute on the site.
But I like Pinterest better than real life.
I did too for a while. My life isn’t nearly as rose-colored and beautiful as the lives of people on Pinterest. I had to break it to myself, and I’ll break it to you too. The secret of their happiness? Professional photography. Excellent lighting. Great makeup. Tons of spare time. Photo filters. Photoshop.
If you’re measuring your happiness up against what Pinterest offers, then you’re doing it wrong. People in pictures on Pinterest are smiling because they’re not thinking about how good this will look on Pinterest. Amazing DIY projects are not the result of hours spent on the site—they’re the result of hours spent working on a craft.
How do I reduce my addiction to Pinterest?
First of all, find out if you have an addiction. Then, identify if you leave the site with a plethora of new ideas, or if you come away wondering why does my life suck? If it’s the latter, it’s time to cut down.
I still go on Pinterest. I love it. However, I’ve changed my use of the site. How often do you go back to your boards to see something you’ve pinned? (Especially if it’s not a link to a useful post or cool DIY project). If you’re like me, the answer would be never.
So instead of overwhelming myself with weird digital baggage, I stopped pinning to many boards. Right now, I’m pinning minimalist images that inspire me to further reduce clutter in my life. If I find a link particularly useful, I pin it to my secret boards along with the engagement ring ideas I stored up to give my boyfriend (not a joke. I’ll talk Pinterest and weddings in a later post). By using secret boards, I don’t feel like I’m broadcasting my general good taste (please read that sarcastically) to others.
Instead of browsing everything, I turn to specific keywords or particular boards, to avoid overwhelming myself. If I find myself clicking through to a retail site in order to purchase something, I call it quits. Shut it down. I’m not on Pinterest to shop. I’m on Pinterest to be inspired. For free.
That leads me to my final point:
Did you know that Pinterest is a goldmine for marketers? Consumers spend more money and purchase more things more often as a result of Pinterest use than any of the other top social media sites. There’s tons of Pinterest marketing info on how best to get casual pinners to convert. You may think you’re on Pinterest for inspiration, but oftentimes you’re actually there to be marketed to (that’s why I try to avoid browsing consumer products).
Give Pinterest a break. Use your time wisely, and actually start working on one of those projects you pinned months ago. I know I should.
Are you a friend or foe of Pinterest? Let me know in the comments.