Pinterest is like every issue of every women’s magazine ever published, all coming at you at once. It comes with the same temptations, multiplied a zillionfold. It can be a great resource if you rip out large chunks of pages, skim past others, and know when to put it down, but otherwise…yeah, what Rachel said.
A few of my personal Pinterest guidelines (these aren’t all universally applicable, but they help me keep things in check):
1. Check every link before pinning anything. I’ve got four basic reasons for this:
- I don’t want to kid myself with “pin now, read later” delusions.
- I don’t want to pin anything that’s impossible, e.g., recipes with super-obscure or weird or expensive ingredients or that require skills I don’t have or time I know I’ll never expend.
- I don’t want to pin anything useless, e.g., the main page of a blog rather than a specific recipe or just a picture of a craft item without a pattern or viable instructions.
- I don’t want to pin anything unsavory. I can’t count the times I’ve clicked on innocent looking pins, pinned by nice Christian ladies, that lead me to really vulgar pages. I’d rather not propagate that sort of stuff and I rather wish others wouldn’t, either.
2. Unfollow vast swaths of board categories. If it doesn’t interest me or apply to me, I don’t want to waste time even scrolling past it, much less exploring it. A few of the categories I just don’t bother with are fashion, sewing, homeschooling, weddings. (Unless you are engaged, or your daughter is engaged, or you’re a wedding planner, or something along those lines, is there really any wise reason for you to be planning a fantasy wedding?)
3. Actually do stuff. If I find that I never make any recipes I pin, I’ll stop pinning them. If I find I never make any patterns I pin, I’ll stop pinning them. As long as Pinterest is a useful tool, great. If it ever becomes just a scrapbook of other people’s ideas and accomplishments, it’s a dumb thing for me to spend my time on, and I’ll quit it. As it is, I regularly use recipes and patterns I’ve pinned (and that’s the bulk of what I pin). I heavily pinned to my various room decorating boards, but since I got them pretty much in shape, I rarely pin anything and have unfollowed most decorating boards.
4. Leave room for a little fun. I unfollow most humor boards, but there are a one or two I follow for fun. I occasionally pin project ideas I know I’ll never make, but they work as inspiration. But very few. I have a wish list where I occasionally pin some crazy stuff along with more practical items, but just for “ain’t this the coolest idea ever?” purposes rather than for “my life will be incomplete without this” purposes. And I even have a “Cool Things I’ll Prolly Never Have a Use For” board, and that even has a very few wedding-related pins on it, but the whole board is very sparsely populated. My rules aren’t for the purpose of some hyper-rigid, legalistic standard, but to keep the frivolity in check so Pinterest remains actually useful.
I don’t have the world’s best Internet use habits, but I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of keeping my Pinterest use under control, so maybe these thoughts will help somebody else.