I am a bit of a social media whore. For the most part, I think anyone reading this is (how the hell else did you get here?). But I think sometimes, I am to a fault. I check Facebook incessantly for no reason. I tweet when it's unnecessary. I think in "that'd be a great Instagram shot" thoughts.
Hell, man. Just to blow time, I check Path. I'd imagine this is what becoming a drug addict or a rampant gambler feels like.
Then a funny thing happened.
Pinterest showed up. And I didn't get it.
Unless you live in a dark cave, you've heard of it. I don't know, at this point people in dark caves have probably heard of it. If you have a girlfriend, it's probably helped you understand why women hate fantasy football. Whenever I'm not looking, it's like she's just checking the waiver wire, checking to see if any new pins are available for repin. And here's the thing that really sucks...
I'm bad at it.
How can you be bad at a social network, you ask? I'll explain.
Pinterest is really simple: It's a digital pinboard that you post pretty pictures on. Do you like that outfit that one chick wore to that thing? BOOM. Pin it. Do you like that picture of food? BOOM. Pin it. Do you like that "anything that can be photographed"? BOOM. Pin that shit. Honestly: it's a really simple way to tell people what you like, and I get that.
But when I started trying to do it, I realized I was too late. More than that, I just wasn't good at it. It was the same reason people told me they couldn't relate to Twitter the way I could: they just had nothing to say. And that's the thing: I've got PLENTY to say but not that much to show you. So, essentially, I'm fucked. I'm a person who thinks in words. I lose Pictionary every time I play it but I am a certified sniper when it comes to Catch Phrase.
When I go on Pinterest, I feel like people are speaking Chinese while playing Mouse Trap and patting their head, all at once. I simply cannot keep up with the rate that things are shared. It's not only that, though.
I am just not the demographic.
I'm not saying men can't pin. Look, plenty of them are good at it. I'm just not one of them.
I tried to solve this. Could I emulate other people's boards? Could I simply yoink titles that other people had for their boards and use them as my own? It was that exact moment that I realized just how out of my league I was.
However, I did notice some patterns. On that note.
This is my interpretation of how to use Pinterest.
Make a board about DIY crafting.
It's funny, no one seemed to be into crafting before Pinterest existed. You never heard people saying in passing, "hey, I tell you about that lamp shade I made out of sequins and old rubber tires?" Now? If i'm to believe my friend's Pinterest boards, everyone spends a majority of their life creating random terrariums or hats that make you look like an owl. This brings up a larger theme that Pinterest has essentially made people more interesting even if they're just lazily throwing pictures up on a board as a new way of hitting the "like" button. And, i'll take it. Why not. I'd rather you be into crafting than the Real Housewives of anything.
Talk about the wedding you're going to have before a man (or woman) has asked to marry you.
Seriously, it doesn't matter: Pinterest allows people to be passive aggressive as shit. Angry he hasn't popped the question yet? Drop a hint and just start posting what the floral arrangements are and what the rose petals will look like on the alter of the venue you've already selected (or all 1,894 of them on another board, entirely optional). While it would be creepy for a girl to do this in her bedroom, with or without a boyfriend, it is in no way creepy on Pinterest. Utterly fascinating to me.
While you're at it, pin what your home is going to look like someday.
For the most part, we all live in some unbelievably boring place. It probably has some chairs, a bed and some other furniture we can presumably afford (re: shitty furniture) and maybe, just maybe, it's got some trinkets and doodads that make it "so us." Go online, find pictures of rich people's houses and post pictures on a board about what your home is going to look like when you grow up. Maybe a room with a nice lamp. Definitely a crazy nice kitchen with the crap you can't afford at Williams Sonoma. Boom. You did it.
Talk about an eating disorder you may or may not have in way that is juuuust masked enough.
This goes for both sexes. Sure, no one really wants to hear about if you think you're fat or what weight you're gaining or losing through Facebook or Twitter updates. Those are just words and they sound like someone bitching that you don't want to have drinks with. That sucks, because you know what we all love? Attention (points finger at self as he writes this in the hopes that you will read it). But hey, guess what? Pinterest made it work! Instead, post a picture of good looking people or pictures of food you "can't eat" and now it's just a pretty picture that sorta doesn't have anything to do with you in particular. It's just close enough to sounding like self-improvement, too, so most people are into it.
Pin any well designed picture of a quote that is vague.
HUGE bonus points if it's a variation of "Keep Calm and Carry On." That shit is so gonna get repined, just wait for the followers to get on your Pin-wagon. While your'e at it..
Find any infographic about anything.
It honestly doesn't matter. It could be about the ratio of pistachios that get left behind because their shell has that awkward opening that's just not open enough so you can't eat it to pistachios that you can definitely eat. Seriously. It doesn't matter. If it's an infographic? Pin that shit. If you're a brand trying to get into Pinterest in a way that fans will relate to? This is your easiest way to offer kids candy in the back of a Pinterest van. Do it.
Pin pictures of babies doing things.
It's just vague enough that it doesn't say "I WANT A BABY". It's saying, "hey, don't blame me, I'm just looking at adorable babies doing some adorable shit, what's wrong with that?" Babies are the cats of Pinterest. They're pretty much an easy go-to.
Pin pictures of tiny animals.
No matter what. Don't think, just pin that shit. Baby giraffe? Boom. Monkey riding a pig? Boom.
Pin any picture of food.
Food was the one thing that got a little left behind when Twitter started. Explaining food isn't as cool as seeing food. Guess what? If you joined Pinterest, you just went from making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to cooking some kind of dumpling you've never heard of with ingredients you can only buy in places that don't exist. And you're putting bacon on everything. Pinterest made everyone a foodie.
Finally, when all else fails…
Just repin anything someone else pins with a lot of followers. It's just like any other social network, guys. We're all just yelling the same thing at each other.
It's not that I don't like Pinterest. I actually really do. I just feel like I'm not good at that, and like a kid throwing things on the playground, i'm bummed out. It's just like Twitter for me for a different breed of person: I've seen people become legitimate friends in real life because they liked someone's boards. It blows my mind.
If statistics are correct, it's gonna outgrow Facebook, Twitter, Twitface, Facer, Facertweet…it's gonna be the next big thing. Hell, it's already been the next big thing for longer than you think. And this is why.
Ever watched girls on a couch while guys watch football? They often look at fashion magazines/anything and just show other girls what they're looking at and say, "that's cute."
Forget the "like" button.
Just make the "that's cute" button already.