By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. Salina Journal
Were Pete Seeger to update his 1955 song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” he would probably answer the line, “Where have all the young girls gone?” with “to Pinterest, every one.”
People who don’t know what Pinterest is, and these people would be mostly men, recently haven’t peered over the shoulder of a woman at a computer.
Pinterest, for the uninformed, works as an online bulletin board. Users browse the Pinterest website and “pin” items into various categories — recipes, home decor, fashion, crafts, travel or other areas of interest.
In olden days, say five years ago, Google or another search engine was the vehicle of choice for cruising for ideas. In the prehistoric era, that is, before the Internet, articles scissored from magazines and stuffed into file folders, stuck on refrigerators or taped behind kitchen cabinet doors provided the inspiration.
Now, all those Google searchers and magazine clippers have Pinterest.
“It’s called a virtual pin board,” said Robin Wilson, of Salina. “It’s basically like a bulletin board. Instead of bookmarking your favorite sites, you pin something you find you think is cool.”
She is among the women for whom Pinterest was a serendipitous find.
“I was looking at something else on the Internet and just came across it,” said Wilson, who uses the site often.
‘Given me so much’
Miranda Sterling, of Salina, is another frequent Pinterester.
“I discovered Pinterest six or eight months ago,” Sterling said. “I feel it’s given me so much. I never thought I could do some of these things myself.”
She’s found formulas for making her own cleaning products, makeup remover and different ways to paint her nails.
“I don’t have time to sit at the computer and do Google searches for something,” she said. “Everything I find interesting is on Pinterest. I have it set as my home page.”
A stay-at-home mom, Sterling is a member of Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers. MOPS meets regularly, and Sterling said one meeting was dedicated solely to Pinterest. Other mothers brought ideas they had gleaned from the site.
“It was a big success,” she said.
A fast-growing site
Pinterest was conceived in 2009 by Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra and launched in 2010. It’s among the fastest growing social media sites.
Unlike other websites, this one is largely visual. There are pictures of food, craft items, fashion accessories, posters and other artwork.
At first glance, the Pinterest site may look like a scrapbook page from someone with severe attention deficit disorder.
On one morning the posts included a recipe for cinnamon roll almond flour donuts; a photograph of Ortahisar, Turkey; a geometric wood-bean necklace; uses for white vinegar; tiny tissue flowers; news that Bonnie Raitt has released a new album; and instructions for making three-banded buns, which is not a sugary baked good but a method of styling hair.
For Sharon Dolan Callaway, of Salina, Pinterest is addictive. A high school friend got her started.
“It’s for everybody and anybody who wants to share their ideas, thoughts or pictures or whatever,” she said.
The do-it-your-self crafts are among her favorite Pinterest subjects, even though she admits to not being very crafty.
“I’m not a creative person, but I like crafts,” Callaway said. “It gives me a base I can run with. I revamped my living room for under $100,” she said. “I was inspired by a lot of things I found.”
Among the laments of most women is that Pinterest was so late in coming into their lives.
“I wish it was around a long time ago,” Callaway said. “If it was around when I got married or big events in my life, I would have been able to do a lot of things myself and save a lot of time and money.”
All about the weddings
Ah, weddings. A Pinterest visitor can’t get too far into the site without stumbling on something nuptial, from dresses to cakes to ceremonies to honeymoon destinations.
Pinterest users can post humor, and one item poked fun at the preponderance of wedding ideas.
A pie chart purports to show the people who use Pinterest. “Women planning their wedding” comprises about 80 percent of the chart. “Women who wish they were still planning their wedding” takes up another 10 percent of the chart. “Wannabe foodies” and “designers” share what looks like 9 percent. The tiny 1 percent sliver is labeled “Men.”
Watch out, it’s addictive
Ashley Finan, of Salina, found Pinterest through the online search engine called stumbled upon.com. “I joined and have been addicted ever since.”
Another humorous jab takes aim at this addictive nature of Pinterest. It is a copy of a Some eCard showing a woman on the phone. She says, “Honey, can you pick up pizza? I’ve been busy pinning nutritious recipes for our family all day.”
Finan said Pinterest feeds her craftiness.
“I’ve always been a very creative person,” she said. “I like to think outside the box and this lets me think outside somebody else’s box.”
Discovering the humor
Pinterest also offers the intangible, which brought comfort to Shannon Starmer, of Salina.
“I had a really hard year, and when I discovered Pinterest and the humor, that really helped me,” Starmer said. “A lot of days I’d go downstairs and go to the humor part and I would get on there and literally cry laughing.”
And don’t even kid a Pinterest fanatic about the site someday disappearing.
“I’d be heartbroken,” Finan said. “Because it’s a fun outlet for me to be creative.”
–Gordon D. Fiedler Jr. can be reached at 822-1407 or by email at email@example.com.
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