Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Truth About Pinterest

Have you ever read something that totally blew your mind? Of course you have. That happened to me this week, and it was about a really unexpected topic. On Tuesday I was perusing Amanda's excellent link roundup when I came upon this. It contained a stat from this article that really got the wheels turning over here:

According to a survey of 7,000 users (which is a pretty big sample size!), 42% of them feel depressed about their own lives after they look at Pinterest.

Hold up. Pinterest? The home of a million ideas? The first place I go when I'm stumped about a project? It makes people sad?!

I'm seriously caught off guard with this one. To me, Pinterest has never been a representation of anybody's real life. It's the place to go for inspiration, kind of like a magazine where everybody's the editor. It's where you share your best ideas. Yes, there are a lot of gorgeously styled pictures in every category, but I know that's not how things look on a normal day. Maybe it's because I'm a blogger and I write about my own house (therefore giving me some "insider" perspective), but I know that everything we see over there is all gussied up for production value.

In fact, let's use our kitchen as an example. This is a shot I took over the summer after I painted our cabinets. It's not the greatest picture ever taken, but despite my photographic shortcomings you can see that the room is so fresh and so clean:


And this is how my kitchen looked yesterday when I wrote this:


See? If I used the second picture when I was telling you about the cabinet project, you'd wonder why I didn't move our crap out of the way. I had to clean up because the project was a big success and that's what I wanted you to focus on. I didn't want you dazzled by how many dirty dishes accumulate on the counter (though it is impressive for a two person household, if I do say so myself).

Clutter is distracting, so I move it out of frame. My goal here in this little slice of internet is to get people excited about decorating their houses, and that's going to be an uphill battle if my pictures don't showcase the right things. It's not about being perfect or only showing part of the story, it's about giving you the 411 in a way that makes sense.

So. Hopefully none of you get bummed out by looking at Pinterest, but if you do, I hope this helps. I think it's one of the best places to get ideas (I even use it instead of Google sometimes) and I don't want anybody to miss out.

How do you feel about Pinterest? Yay or nay? Are you surprised by that survey, too?

26 comments:

  1. As I told you yesterday, I'm hardly on Pinterest enough to really understand what people are talking aboot. Thank being said I'm not easily affected by other people's accomplishments and I'm not very materialistic. I'm content to live in apartment my entire life and have hand me downs. I love the simple things but... if someone was to give me a house with ultra-modern things then I wouldn't turn them down.

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  2. I don't get Pinterest depressed. I love using Pinterest as a way to get inspiration for house projects, and above all I use it to find new recipes. The Chicken Tikka Masala that we made last night was a Bon Appetite recipe I found on Pinterest! I know that I probably won't have a perfect house and that stuff will probably always be a little untidy, but I'm ok with that. There are other things in my life that are just more important than making sure my house is constantly spotless. Plus, the houses that are always completely spotless don't feel lived in and I don't like that. They start to feel bare and lifeless and sterile. I know some people that will clean almost every night-- as in scrub the floors in the kitchen after they eat dinner. Sorry, but I'd rather veg out with a full belly than work some more after I just cooked dinner. I'll save that for the weekend when I'm doing a bunch of cleaning and errands anyway.

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    1. We're big cleaning slackers, too. It's not that we're slobs, but if there are dirty dishes on the counter until the next morning, whatever.

      And I know what you mean about the "sterile" houses. There is such a thing as being TOO styled.

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  3. I look for great pics, recipes and inspirational quotes.

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  4. I want to MARRY Pinterest okay?? I love that site! I can see why others may get depressed because it reminds them of their shortcomings (do something about it!!!). I find it inspiring, funny, and just a nice time waster. It's also like how some people gripe about how some bloggers make their lives seem so perfect on their blog and they get frustrated about that too. There are too many hardships in the world! Why not just let yourself enjoy a pretty livingroom once in a while?

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  5. That figure does surprise me a little bit. However, many people seem to assume that I only take good pictures because I only post good pictures, so I think there is something behind the idea that people who only post beautiful pictures of their homes (or kids or whatever) always have beautiful homes. Clearly even the most put together people in the world don't.

    I also love to use Pinterest to find ideas and frequently head there instead of Google. As long as you can keep things in perspective, no harm done.

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    1. I am with you Rose! I can't tell you how many pictures I take, just to narrow it down to a good few. It makes me sad when people think it's so effortless, because it's not... taking beautiful pictures is hard work too! :)

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  6. Wow! That is surprising. I've always thought of Pinterest as the place to go for really beautiful photos, not realistic ones. It's sad that so many people are depressed by Pinterest.

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    1. Exactly! I go there to escape the clutter around me. Haha.

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  7. The only thing that depresses me about Pinterest is that I wish my own blog were filled with all the ideas I have in my mind... I try, but it doesn't come naturally to me to have a fancy blog. Maybe someday. Otherwise yes, I totally see Pinterest as an online magazine of ideas, and I love it. But I also don't visit very often, so I don't get sucked in often either. LOL

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  8. When I was younger, I used to get depressed looking at home and garden magazines, because my home looked like your second picture. I grew up and realized that life is just life, and it doesn't look like in a magazine or pinterest! So, I enjoy pinterest now for the ideas, just like you!

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  9. Okay, no.. I'm sorry. Pinterest is just filled with yummy, shiny, posh goodness! I've never gotten on there and been like, 'Pinterest is so depressing bc I can't have a picture perfect world! All is lost!'. I love going on there and being inspired or looking for ideas. If anything can be said about it, its that it's addicting. :o)

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  10. Pinterest intrigues me on so many levels. I think it's fun and a great way to keep visual "bookmarks" of things I like. I do think that it can contribute to consumerism, though, and this idea of "I want, I need." Look at some wedding boards--all that cuteness and cleverness and perfection, and it all costs money. I'm more and more interested in simplicity and making do with what I have so some of Pinterest gets old to me.

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  11. I agree whole-heartedly with you! Pinterest is not a yardstick for domestic success. It's a resource from which we can pick and choose. BTW, I think it was awfully nice of you to post the second pic!

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  12. I love Pinterest! (Except for the fact that it is mildly addictive and I can find myself spending more than an hour perusing all the pretty pictures and clever quotes.) It's my big girl bedtime story many nights when I need to unwind after a hectic day. I just keep browsing through all the pretty pictures....the colors make me happy and the ideas get my creative juices flowing. Of course many of the gorgeous things are WAY out of my price range--but I can still appreciate their design, color, etc. Maybe it's because in my old age I no longer feel a need to "possess" --- I can enjoy the beauty of things I don't own, but can still enjoy vicariously through beautiful pictures.

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  13. Wow, that stat is really surprising! I would assume that people feel inspired and motivated after vising Pinterest, not bummed out. I assumed people were better about understanding that those photos aren't reality and could differentiate between the two.

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  14. I'm a bit surprised. I LOVE pinterest (and your kitchen rug!) and for project have been keeping a board of the ones I've tried and have been true success stories. I do believe though that there are such things as "pinterest fails" and I try to take those pins down when I figured out they don't work!

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  15. That doesn't surprise me at all. I'm actually surprised that none of these commenters have experienced it themselves! I enjoy Pinterest, but there have been a few times when I've been scrolling through a fashion board and started to feel bummed about the relative lack of sophistication in my wardrobe. It's human nature to be aspirational, but when an aspiration seems unattainable, you get depressed. It's the same reason that magazines bum people out.

    I think a lot of people are unaware of "styling" as a thing that happens before a photo is taken—they know a photo is taken to look good, but they're unaware of the meticulous extent of that effort.

    I like the comparison between your first and second photos. I can see that being a Tumblr. Instead of Pinterest Fail, it would be Real Pinterest and show the before-and-after of styling. Kind of like those sites that show photos of celebrities before and after they're Photoshopped.

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    1. Well, to me, Pinterest and magazines aren't exactly parallels. I know I made that analogy in the post, but only in terms of submitting your best photos so other people will want to look at them. I figured that since so many more people contribute to Pinterest than to magazines, they would understand that everybody else's pictures were gussied up, too.

      And yeah, I would totally read a Real Pinterest Tumblr. Somebody should get on that.

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  16. I know exactly what you mean, Paige! Before I take a shot of anything in my studio, I style it and make it look attractive. I sometimes wonder what my readers would say if they dropped by in the middle of one of my sewing frenzies. hahaha
    Your kitchen is fab!

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  17. Love your honesty! Pinterest doesn't make me depressed at all - maybe a teensy bit jealous at times, but I find so much inspiration on it!

    Angela
    Lovely Llorys

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  18. This is a hard one for me to understand also. I love pinterest. I don't use it that often, but I always thought people used it as a place to go for diy ideas and inspiration...how could that make you feel bad? And I'm with Edi in that it's sort of shocking to me that people (still) really don't realize those photos are styled immediately before the shot, that no one really lives that way, that everyone has problems. I had read a similar survey done of Facebook users, that the more time they spent on Facebook, the more signs of depression they exhibited or felt. I'm not on Facebook, so I can't really speak to that. But I don't really get how any of these sites could make you feel bad. And if they do, why use them? But that could just be my personality. I'm really not competitive at all. It's just not my nature. So I don't really ever get jealous or bitter toward other people. I know some people who almost can't help but constantly be comparing what they have to what others have...they often do it automatically, probably without even realizing it. I honestly think living that way would be exhausting! I can barely just focus on myself and what I need to get done in a day without checking to see what everyone else is doing all the time. If someone else appears to have a perfect house and perfect children, then I'm happy for them. It doesn't make me feel any less or worse about my own life. Their life is totally separate from mine. And like I said earlier, appearances are deceiving. Why don't more people get that? And I agree with pasqueflower too, I can appreciate the beauty in lots of things without needing to own them myself. Just looking at well-designed things can make me happy. :)

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    1. Yes, exactly. Why do they keep looking at something that bums them out? I'm not particularly competitive either, so maybe it's that. Comparing your life to someone else's is just going to cause a bunch of problems for you... not anyone else.

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  19. I love, love, love Pinterest! It takes me places I'll probably never get to see in real life. And if the images weren't as gorgeous as they are, would people still go to the site? Isn't that the whole idea behind it? To look at beautiful images, enjoy them and to get inspired?

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  20. I look at pinterest as a source for inspiration. I love pinterest and I love all the amazing photos and ideas, but I would never compare any of those photos to my life. I am a little surprised by that number, but you never know what people are thinking.
    Valerie
    Everyday Inspired

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  21. Oh I love Pinterest! How can something so clever and inspiring make us so sad...I guess if your pins only focus on things you want but cant have (or cant afford to have) then maybe it could make you depressed but that says more about the 42% of people who said it did...shame! I think its a great little tool...

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