The last time I had this feeling was when I first joined Facebook. Remember the excitement of finding old school chums and seeing how they looked and what they were up too. I remember adding everyone I ever so much as shared breathing space with the fervor of a game show contestant in a wind tunnel grabbing at dollar bills flying about them before time runs out. Inevitably I went into my cooling off phase as so many Facebook users and want to do, and a good old-fashioned cull was in order. So I slashed back numbers to a trite 150, give or take. I don’t have 150 friends; I probably could barely scrape together 10. The rest of the 140 odd people where there for ‘monitoring purposes’. Yes, I’m creepy like a boss. But you do it too! Suffice to say you know you’re doing the wrong thing if your only retort is, ‘well everyone else is doing it’.
But I digress. Towards the end of last year I ended my relationship with 140 people en-mass. Outside of Facebook most of these ‘friends’ and I had no tangible relationship so I deleted the motherfucker. I felt smug, like I was one of the cool kids now, too urbane for Facebook. That smug feeling lasted about a day before I realized, ‘hang on, if I have time to feel smug over not being apart of Facebook, I probably don’t have a lot going on my friend’. So I took a moment to become an adult, and start my life as a regular person sans social networking.
It eventually took its toll, things like viewing friends photo’s and missing events all led to me ever reluctantly returning to my old flame. But like a lover once burned I proceeded with caution. Now I now have 38 friends, all of whom I know personally and wouldn’t duck into and ‘big and tall’ menswear shop to avoid seeing (this happened with one of the previous 140).
So far, the relationship is going well. Facebook and I are treating one another with the respect we both deserve. I promise to not check in first thing in the morning, and Facebook promises not to email me, so far its a work in progress. We have been back together for about a month when it brought to my attention the existence of a little devil going by the name of Pinterest.
If you are unaware of Pinterest, PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
Pinterest is a little demon of a site whereby you sign up – well actually you don’t sign up, you request to be invited then you sign up. That should have been my first clue as to what it had in store for me. I felt pathetic waiting for that email because it doesn’t arrive straight away, oh no, you’re on their turf now my friend and you better play ball. A few hours later my ‘invitation’ arrives. So I sign up.
There isn’t a huge learning curve for Pinterest, you basically take things from the internet and ‘pin’ them to your cyber pin board. They are then thrown into the collective feed for other people to ‘re-pin’ or ‘like’ – sadly there is no option to dislike , I guess you dislike by not doing either of the aforementioned actions. That’s it basically. It sounds so stupid when I type it out like that, but that really is all there is too it.
At first I was skeptical; most of the ‘pins’ seemed to be things I’m not interested in at all. I can actually sum up Pinterest into 3 words: braids, cupcakes, and clothing. Is this all people are doing on the internet? I guess that and porn, but I don’t think you can pin porn. (You can! It’s called Pornterest, I’m not kidding!)
Yet, I’m addicted to it. I have this insatiable appetite to know what others find interesting and thus feel a modicum of superiority over them for not getting my proverbial rocks off over a Bailey’s flavored bacon cupcake.. If you try to at all unravel the conundrum that is ‘finding it interesting what people find interesting, that is in fact uninteresting‘, you will probably end up in the fourth dimension – don’t pull that thread. Fair warning.
Part of the ‘pinning’ process involves writing a small caption – this can sometimes be more of a goldmine than the seemingly inane pictures ‘pinned’ in the first place. Mostly the captions are used to describe what it is we are seeing, no points for originality. However my favorites come from the category I call ‘pathetically hopeful’. This basically covers anything pinned about weddings and babies – stay with me on this – Some people post photos of their actual wedding or their actual children, with them I have no issue. It’s when we start swimming in the pool of pictures that people caption as ‘future wedding’ or ‘my future children will have this as their birthday cake’, is when I start start categorizing pins on my ‘pathetically hopeful’ board.
The reason being: future children do not exist; they might not ever exist for that person. Unless the person pinning is currently pregnant talking about future children is a false economy. What if you don’t have these imaginary ‘future children’? Children aren’t a right, nor are they guaranteed. I understand if you may wish to have children someday, a lot of people share that dream. Same goes for weddings, but unless you are engaged, quit the wedding planning. You can dream, you shouldn’t plan – or in this case pin.
This is some harsh advice. A lot of you may be wondering what the harm in planning or dreaming is; after all, it’s Pinterest, what’s the harm? Well I’ll tell you. The problem I see in planning what birthday cake your future children will enjoy or what canapes you will serve at you future wedding indicates to me that your more concerned with the end result, rather than the journey there. Let me elaborate, I believe there is a large percentage of ‘pinners’ who are spending more time pinning than actually meeting people they would potentially have that baby with, or one day marry. Like I mentioned earlier, unless you are expecting or engaged what you pin will largely be irrelevant. Times change, styles change, your life changes, pinning what your children will eat on their 5th birthday is an exercise in futility.
There is no harm in dreaming, I’m not anti wishful thinking. I would just hate to see people pegged in my ‘pathetically hopeful’ file for life because they were too busy dreaming, and not enough with the doing. I too need to take a fair dollop of my advice and spread it on a maple-bacon-cupcake, because if there is one thing more pathetic than wishing for future babies and weddings it would be the obsession with people who want these things.