Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
There’s a simple “Pin It” bookmarklet that you install in your bookmarks bar, and as you browse the web, you can “pin” the images that catch your eye. You can also browse within Pinterest, and “repin” things you find on other people’s boards.
It didn’t take long for me to see that this was more than a time sink.
Pinterest is a training tool for communicating with images. This is an important skill as we become a much more visual culture. Pinterest trains our eyes to scan for images that speak to us––ones we hope will communicate to others as we pin them to our boards.
Pinterest is also a useful discernment tool. I learned this when I created a “homestead” pinboard. Liesl and I dream of living on a piece of land, with a big garden, chickens and dairy goats, sustainable fuel sources, etc. We’re not ready to make that dream reality, but Pinterest is a place to “pin” images that make the big picture come into sharp focus. (I’m also using this aspect of Pinterest to choose a new hair color, find my personal style, and other discernment issues of life-changing importance.)
Pinterest can be a spiritual practice. I created a board that I called “center.” I started out with obvious searches: UU, Emerson, Thoreau, spirituality. Then I started branching out: pictures of otters, an animal I feel connected to; otters led to a search for “flow”; labyrinths; things I long for, like strength, effort and power. Each act of pinning was an affirmation of something important to me. When I step back and look at an overview of the board, something inside me says, “Ahhh. Yes.”
What about you? Are you using Pinterest? Is it a mindless time sink––or something more?