tl;dr: writer dismisses pinterest as a waste of time which is not surprising because she is a writer. But she is hurting women’s interest with this piece more than pinterest does.
This morning, I found a link in a fb group on Pinterest from the “American Circus” site: “Pinfatuation: The Trouble With Curated Femininity”
That was nice to read. She is a writer, a good one. But that is the same reason why it is no wonder what the sentiment of the article is – and why that was already clear after the first few sentences.
“A user can create her own page, thereby bravely expressing desires and wishes and images that will surely face some kind of judgment from followers, but in a way that requires no real thought, action. Instead of writing about our feelings or expressing them through art or (God forbid) conversation, we now have the freedom to express ourselves through the simple action of pinning What We Want.”
While on a surface look this is more of a guilty pleasure piece, this quote is what this is mainly about. “Pinterest is not a real use of time. Pinterest connections cannot be real”
Do you go through daily life and ‘express everything through art and conversation’? No you don’t. ‘Journalists’ as a type of users are the ones who hated twitter with their breathing soul because it limited them to 140 characters and nobody can express themselves through a pin – excuse me, tweet. And condemned it as a useless waste of time. Writers are in a similar league.
I would not mind if it said “i cannot see how somebody else can do this” but it says ‘nodody can do something useful with it’. This is a limited world view you are happy to have – but don’t try to enforce it on others.
I am not exaggerating when I say “I have been fighting against this kind of argument since I got my first computer in ’84 and wanted my friend to use it too’. “Nobody can do something useful with a computer. With a network. With the internet. With this web thing. With this ecommerce thing. With a blog. With a twitter. With a facebook. With mobile. With Siri. With Google Glasses”.
And second life, the other favorite? Look up texts from the 60s on what they describe as being possible in a virtual world and try to see if you can see the connection to augmented reality combined with what google glasses is doing with what minority report is still promising us to do. Then maybe you are also capable of seeing the connection this has to gaming and the tools used like kinnect – and what motion sensors will do to our lives.
It is the reason why PR professionals proudly tell me “oh we don’t recommend this to our customers, this is not what we think is good’ and others “Nobody needs this, so I am not doing that”.
It is also the reason I have a job consulting professionally since ’98 on this and if I would not have a donna quichotta mentality I would be in an crazy house by now. Because we go through this every – freaking – single time something new comes along. It is the reason why I know the gist of her text from that quote above. Been there, done that. Oh so many times. Only to be told years later that maybe there was something where I was not completely off …
It is a believe I challenge with every customer. People are different. What they want is different. You need to be able to go outside of what _you_ think is right, what you believe is good.
What the author of this article in her blindness does not see is simply this: Never before (and no, not even with tumblr) have women used social media tools to connect with one another. Frankly put: Most women do not understand how to connect / promote / act online to get results. They do however like to complain about the old boys clubs. (They partly got the thing with the mommy sphere right)
Tumblr is more for little girls (and people who think it is cool not realizing the trouble you have to go through to have it outfitted even with basic standards of a blog …) but Pinterst is there for all the craft bloggers, the school teachers, the foodies.
You can critique all you want on this tool and there are many areas of where it has problems or is ‘simple’. The fact that this amount of traffic is happening should have been a clue for her to look for the social relevance of “oh just another person doing pictures of things their kids should do”.
She could have found that the old ways of communication in the village and the big family where you learn from each other have been replaced by a network of people helping each other to learn. The point of pinterest is not the pretty pictures. It is the blog of the woman describing how to use the mason jars in explicitly detail, becoming a producer, showing of her skills. Getting recognition by likes and pins first, then moving on (if she likes) to being paid to do what she likes. In areas where there might not be otherwise jobs she can move the the virtual world. And a s mommy with no time she can use those 15 min a day to escape, connect with others. Who have the same questions, the same need for information etc.
Looking through some the kids board and the school teachers teaches about organizing / challenging your kid in the right age and so on. That information which you only otherwise would get if you had bought and read dozens of books – if they would be available in a language you’d understand.
Because that is the other story of pinterest: It is international. I do not need to have the language skills when I can see the pictures and guess what they are doing.
Pictures being another clue here: Why use a 1000 words when a picture is enough to convey an idea? I have collected for some time now things I like in an apartment and came to the surprising conclusion that I like white furniture and colorful walls. I did not need to spend hours and days in furniture stores and catalogues, running around etc but now am able to look at what I said I wanted to boil it down to something I want to get / make / buy.
“Just because you are not paranoid does not mean that they are not after you” transfers to “just because you don’t get it does not mean it has no relevance nor does it have meaning”.
Writing such an article hurts. All the women who came out (finally) and understood that this internet thingy has a use and can be used to have fun and excitement (and at a later point move on and do something more ‘real’ with it) are being told through articles likes this “you are stupid for using this, it only enforces stereotypes, you are useless.”
How times do you tell a kid that what they are trying to do by standing up, by starting to speak, by starting to calculate, by starting to take up a hobby, by starting to read – that what they are trying to do is kids stuff and not what the grown ups do? And that they should not waste their time on it? You don’t. You encourage it, you help them.
But then again, you would need to understand it first.
But these should not necessarily be given a new, public outlet. I often think I would use Pinterest much more consistently and thoroughly if my account were private. I would keep the best ideas to myself so that other people could not steal them, and I would keep the most heartfelt ideas to myself so that other people could not judge me.
There are dozens of tools out there – some even have an app – where she can do exactly what she likes, ‘pinning in private’. But there is a reason it is pinterest she and everybody else wants to use – especially the women.
They are not curating their femininity. They are learning to walk and speak in the new millennium.