Pinterest is a dreamer’s haven. It houses innovative artists, brands and creators while allowing users to connect with the world all in one platform. However, there’s something to be said about how and why we use it.
While it’s true that as a media studies student I can’t resist critiquing everything I do/see online, I know that this isn’t just a “me thing.” For a few years, Pinterest has been my go-to thought box and the one place I know I can always find inspiration for my projects. Like most users, I pin travel tips, quotes and life hacks. Lately, this routine has become more of a problem than a solution. While scrolling through my feed, I realized that all of these pins, no matter how visually appealing, are completely intangible if I’m not going to do anything with them. Without the action and effort, the majority of the things I pin are useless. At this point in my life, no amount of inspirational quotes, pinned travel boards or healthy zucchini squash recipes can get me where I want to be, as much I wish they could.
We are a society driven by the visual. Advertising, TV shows, movies, graphics, photography, you name it, we are highly influenced by what we see. Evidently, it doesn’t come as a surprise when we feel excited and motivated by a picture-perfect setting featuring people who seemingly have their lives together. Behind the screens are people in charge of creating an illusion of perfection. While the result is often beautiful and awe-inspiring, it’s far from the truth.
Here’s the reality of it all. That aesthetically pleasing photo of a faceless human holding their coffee cup over their impossibly well-organized, well-lit and well-spaced-out wooden desk is not real. If any true work was being done, there would be a coffee stain on the notebook, food crumbs around the laptop, and a dying pen on its last breath. I’m certainly not one to ignore an aesthetically pleasing photo, but it is unfair to glorify the path to success by neglecting the realities of hard work. The anxiety you feel when you sit and analyze this type of photo is deeply rooted in our culture of perfection. The ways in which we interact with platforms that promote the finish line without acknowledging the sprint can be exceptionally draining. We need to stop relying on the possibility and the luxury of success. Our greatest accomplishments in life are far from picture perfect; they’re nonlinear, rocky and unstable. And that’s far more fulfilling than an aesthetically pleasing photo will ever be.
Coming to this realization is incredibly empowering. It means that it’s time to stop spending so much energy dreaming about the life we want to live and actually begin working for it. Although I’m only 19 and, in the grand scheme of things, have yet to experience tremendous amounts of success, I am thankful that I’ve come to terms with the fact that visual dependent platforms like Pinterest won’t get me where I want to be. This is especially true when they exhibit the glowing surface of success without the grime that comes with it. Believe me, this is far from an attack on Pinterest itself. Rather, it’s a wake-up call on the culture surrounding the visual appeal of success and the unrealistic approaches we take to get motivated. I truly do see Pinterest as an influential and creative space. All I’m saying is mindlessly scrolling and admiring pretty things can become a dangerous routine to maintain, especially if it’s stalling your productivity.
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