I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I love it because it is where I find stuff fast- stuff I didn’t even know I needed or existed. I hate it though, because it is where I get pulled down into a whirlpool of desire, insecurity, competitiveness, and greed. Pinterest can be a snare, but it doesn’t have to be.
Some people are extremists- “go big or go home,” while most of us lie somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. There will be those who write off Pinterest as a waste of time, and those who pin everything they see. I believe that Pinterest can be used for good and can be useful for most of us if we exercise wisdom.
Before I list some of the ways Pinterest can be wisely useful, let’s first look at some of the traps that can get us stuck if we are not careful.
Trap #1: I want it NOW!
Handbags, cute sandals, bling, bathroom remodel, more, more more…you get the picture. There is just SO MUCH COOL STUFF to desire out there. And the thing with Pinterest is that once we pin something we like, more pins like it start to pop up. There are even “Picked for You” pins. Oh, how nice of you, Pinterest, you shouldn’t have. Really, you shouldn’t have. By the way, there is a way to remove those “picked for you” pins, although I haven’t tried it myself. This link shares some steps you can take to remove them, though.
Trap #2: I am NOT ENOUGH!
I am not skinny enough… My hair is not healthy enough… My kids do not behave enough… I am not pretty enough… My house is not big enough… My pantry is not organic enough… Enough.
We can pin every “fix it” and “fake it” out there, but we will never feel enough. Pinterest will leave us wanting, and there are not enough pins out there to satisfy our true longing.
Trap #3: I am what I pin
Important, successful, validated, or “with-it” may be goals we internally set when we pin. Striving to be a clever trend setter is an empty pursuit, and really, we are just copying everyone else anyway. If we equate our self worth with what we or others pin then Pinterest becomes an altar where we worship our many “pin-gods.”
The thing with Pinterest, as with all potential idols, is that it is not inherently evil. Pinterest can be a good and useful thing if we use it in the right way, but we must own it instead of it owning us.
Wise and Useful Ways to Pin
Useful Way #1: Personal Growth
Taking some time out to set real, big picture goals is a place to start before pinning anything. Where do I want to be as a person, say 5 or 10 years from now? How do I see myself as a friend, wife, mother, mentor, leader, etc. After some dreaming and goal setting, then it is time to create some boards that go along with the dreams and goals. These boards can range from inspiration posters, spiritual/devotional content to a personal bucket list. Be intentional with pinning. Not every article or idea needs to be pinned. Sometimes I’ll go through my boards and see something like homemade soap, and I am like “I’ll never make that.” For some, making their own soap is their thing. I say, “Pin away!” I tend to pin cool stuff, and never actually do what I pin. In order to keep our boards simple and useful, it is a good idea to edit and delete pins from time to time. Otherwise our boards will get cluttered and the more useful pins will get hidden or lost.
Useful Way #2: Household Management
Most of my pins have to do with my home. I guess it has to do with the fact that most of my time and energy involves the space and the people that dwell in that space. So I want the home to be a place of warmth, hospitality, fun, and joy.
The thing is that I have TOO MANY pins! (Yes, this is possible). Over time, the pins just seem to accumulate, and many of them have never or will never be used. And that is okay. What I am beginning to do, though, is find ways to make Pinterest more useful and less of a time waster. Take recipes, for example. I have a dozen boards or so that have to do with food, and there are times when I am scrambling to find “that” recipe that I know is “somewhere” on one of my boards, and I just can’t seem to find it. I eventually just click search and it pops up somewhere, but I like going to a particular board and knowing that I will be able to access it at any point and also be able to find other recipes like it. So what I started doing not too long ago is edit and condense my boards. I have even deleted entire boards that were basically untouched (or “unclicked” to use the correct terminology). Going on with the recipe example, I began to consolidate meals that my family raved about into a board called “Meals the Fam Digs,” so that when I do my meal planning and run short of ideas I can always click around on that board and find recipes that I know will be a hit with my family. It saves time and makes Pinterest useful for me instead of a time waster.
Useful Way #3: Increased Productivity
Continuing with the idea that Pinterest does not have to be a time waster, I argue that Pinterest can actually increase productivity. I find this especially true with work, or what makes up the bulk of one’s day. For me right now, that would be homeschooling. I have pinned a lot of web pages and pdfs that pertain to home education, which over time I have edited and condensed and even made several, specific boards so that I can navigate my pins more easily. So, I have a general home education board that contains a lot of philosophical posts as well as “how-tos,” but then I have a home education- language arts board, and a home education- math board, and such with specific pins related to those subjects. In this way, Pinterest becomes less of “Oh, that’s a nice idea,” or “This is something worth filing away,” to “Oh, I will probably use that, or do this…”. Over time I have created and deleted boards and pins in order to customize Pinterest to my tastes and use.
I am not “throw the baby out with the bath water” type of person. If there are useful ways to use something, then I say, find them! I see Pinterest as something that has many useful ways if we are using it in the best ways! So, I say, own Pinterest before it owns you. Take control of it, and instead of viewing it as a means of recreation, see it as something you can control to help you grow as a person, manage your life and home, and even increase your productivity. You can be a pin head in the best way. 🙂
Check out my boards here! And remember, that my boards are ALWAYS under construction. 😉