- Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Pinterest: The Wholesome Social Media

sneak peak: in a time of mass social media exodus with loads of people deleting Facebook accounts, wholesome Pinterest is a breath of fresh air

Pinterest: The Wholesome Social Media, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk


Before you write Pinterest off as a DIY-obsessed, quotation-splurging, recipe-drooling haven for anyone with a lot of creative ambitions and not nearly enough free time, hear me out.

Pinterest has more to offer than home hacks, ~inspirational quotations~, whimsical wedding ideas, fluffy baby animals, travel bucketlist entries, dreamy kitchens and edible joy. It can also bring you something other social media cannot: a sense of calm, tranquility, positivity. Bet Facebook doesn't have that effect, huh?


I have been an avid Pinterest fan ever since school days, when my best friend stumbled upon it and promptly shared with me the wonders of pinning things to boards - a novelty, a joy, an immediate sign-up and bookmarking of the url.

To say that Pinterest is the most harmless social media, we first have to look at its competitors:

Facebook doesn't really require elaboration; it's snooping on us all and storing extraordinary amounts of data on everything we do, write, say, think etc. (yes apparently think, I get promoted posts for things I have DREAMED about), not to mention the data breaches going on left, right and centre. I abandoned Facebook messenger in favour of WhatsApp long ago (PLEASE WhatsApp me instead of fb friends, please please), but Facebook is so ingrained nowadays that leaving means much more than simply deleting an account. Deleting the Facebook and Messenger apps from my phone several months ago was one of the best decisions I could have made - if I want to log in, it's a conscious decision and totally gets rid of any aimless scrolling through other people's lives. Hello free time! (P.S. Even the founder of WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014, urged followers to leave the platform.)

Instagram is owned by Facebook, which automatically makes me like the photo-sharing platform a little bit less, however saying that, I use Instagram much more regularly than I do Facebook. I treat Instagram as a business tool more than a social media, and when I don't have it on my to-do list, I quite easily forget to post for several days at a time. That in itself is probably a good thing, but a fair amount of my blog traffic comes from Instagram, and it would be naïve to think it isn't helpful in growing a blog following.

Twitter is totally gone from my radar now; I deleted the majority of my tweets and haven't been on Twitter in months. I haven't deleted it though, because for me, the main benefit of Twitter is that it makes contacting companies directly a whole lot easier (e.g. when Great Western Rail cancelled the Cardiff-London train I had a ticket for, and station staff said that train had never existed on the timetable in the first place, seriously what on earth it was so strange). I have no desire, however, to see world leaders spouting their every thought for all and sundry to get infuriated by; I'll read BBC News for the important stuff, and I'm much happier without the ins and outs of the rest of it.

LinkedIn is probably worth a mention too. In general, I use LinkedIn once every few weeks; I use it to look for and apply for jobs, connect with people I know (and some I don't, but want to), to share notable achievements or milestones, and to endorse other people's skills. One thing I do not use it for is to say happy birthday to people (why, LinkedIn, why) or to scroll through the news feed. Invariably, posts on the news feed are full of corporate buzzwords and are largely self-congratulatory (the nature of the beast perhaps, but there's a tactful way to do it), and I don't love it. It's great as a networking tool, and it's great as a quick visual representation of your entire career and experience, but I think it is trying to emulate the success of Facebook. LinkedIn, remember - a lot of people on Facebook don't like Facebook.

Does Youtube count? If so, it has good and bad points: plenty of useful information (research, recipes, workouts, reviews, music), and plenty of other stuff too (wormhole content - pretty much anything at all will exist somewhere). With reasonable use, Youtube is great. With excessive use, all of a sudden it's several hours later and you've got pins and needles and not much to show for it.

I almost forgot about Tumblr, but this has to be one of the most unhelpful social media platforms out there. Yes, there are people who use Tumblr totally innocently and just have collections of photos of the ocean taken on a film camera with a 50mm lens, printed out and folded, scratched and battered to look ~edgy~ then photographed again for upload. There are so many of those photos it's actually quite astonishing. There's also a ton of stuff about TV programmes, and a generous sprinkling of gifs and memes, and there is nothing wrong with any of that. However, Tumblr has a decidedly ~moody~ side to it which is, quite frankly, weird and toxic. I believe their monitoring and reporting processes have been significantly improved, but there are so many posts and so many users that it's impossible to keep an eye on them all. Hey Tumblr users - there are plenty ocean photos on Pinterest.


There are probably others; these are the ones I know. So let's look at Pinterest. Now, by no means is it perfect - the presence of the infinite scroll (where new stuff loads automatically when you reach the bottom of the screen) is terrible and great all at once, simultaneously really helpful and really annoying.

However, its pros definitely outweigh its cons, and the main thing Pinterest has going for it is its main goal: its content exists to encourage you to do other things. Whether that's redecorating a room in your house with odds and ends you already have lying around, baking an extravagantly decorated special occasion cake, scratching a new country off your scratch map, choosing what breed of dog to get, or creating your own windowsill herb garden, Pinterest wants you to live in the real world.

You spend however long browsing, repinning and maybe even writing down a physical list of things you like the look of, whether they are to-dos, remote and picturesque locations, or uplifting words, and then you go and do something with it all.

It also doesn't involve the minute details of people's own lives, which is a welcome change from the other platforms. You don't feel compelled to check it every two minutes, and you can happily browse for a bit, enjoy it, then leave it until next time. Although you're pinning on your own boards for your own benefit, Pinterest is decidedly selfless and, more than anything, wholesome. If you don't already have an account, it's a great way to keep track of all your different plans and ideas, and if you do, why not give me a follow?

- post #10 of 21 in the 21-day challenge -

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