Like the inimitable fuzzy creatures of a similar alliteration, users of the social networking site Pinterest are reproducing like, err, rabbits. Just how fast is the little pinboard that could growing? According to never-wrong Wikipedia, in March of 2012 it surpassed LinkedIn and something called Tagged to become the third largest in the world.
I never really got it, though, at least, until recently. But I’m still not sure I get it. I mean, I get it in theory — Pinterest allows visual organization of items into categories, useful for storing, say, recipes, paint colors, carpet swatches, wristwatches, renovation ideas, or photographic inspiration — I don’t get it in practice and implementation.
Upon perusing the website for the first time, I was struck by a veritable avalanche of eye shadows, half-naked men, lipsticks, wedding rings, platitudes, eye shadows, wedding rings, half-naked men, platitudes, eye shadows, eye shadows, platitudes, lipsticks, half-naked men, platitudes, and eye shadows. I know the site’s demographic is mainly women (85% feels like the right number, although I’m too lazy even while typing this to source that for you or verify it in any way, shape, or form — think with your gut, not with your brain!), but it felt like I had stumbled onto a digital 14 year-old girl’s bulletin board. Surely the female form must have more varied interests than this. (But really, seriously.)
After further visits with and persuasion from female associations, I saw the merit of visually organizing food ideas, clothing ideas, and decorating ideas, and signed up an account.
And then I saw Pinterest’s dark, seedy underbelly.
- The vast majority of Pinterest users seem to be functionally illiterate. No, cupcakes are not Men’s Apparel. Neither are women’s engagement rings. Neither are pictures of naked men — technically, they don’t belong under any kind of apparel. Similarly, mascara does not belong under Cars, baby pictures are not a form of Travel, and god damn it, stop posting pictures of naked men and cupcakes everywhere.
- Pinterest forces a kindergarten-like atmosphere. You see, being mean or seeming intolerant are bannable offenses on the website.
- The site offers no way to moderate or punish users who pay no attention to the site’s organizational structure.
These three factors combine to create a sort of “wild west of kindercare.” You see, there’s kind of an unspoken rule of the Internet: Either your website is an unmoderated wasteland, or a self-moderating civilization, or a heavily-moderated fascist state. Pinterest tries to combine aspects of all three, and, I think, is suffering from a terrible disease from it.
So please, new found place for mascara pictures and also occasionally my well-organized recipes, pick a path and stick with it. Because I’m tired of the little girls running around in my room.