Chances are you've heard someone, probably your girlfriend, mother, sister or lady probation officer, breathlessly praise the glories of Pinterest. "It changed my life!" they say, followed by a gurgled orgasm noise and a swift, moist exit. With 20 million monthly visitors to the site, Pinterest is now the fastest growing social media site ever -- faster than Facebook, faster than Twitter. Maybe you've moseyed over to Pinterest to see what the hubbub was about, only to be crushed under a tidal wave of random thumbnails of cookies, clothes and crafts made from repurposed toilet paper rolls.
If you're confused, and you will be if you look long enough, Pinterest is basically a virtual "vision board" -- and a vision board is a poster that you paste magazine cutouts expressing your personality and hopes and wishes onto. There was a time when only aspiring kidnappers were allowed to use magazine cutouts to express their hopes and wishes but, you know, OBAMA. Thanks to Pinterest, women (and a tiny number of men, but we'll get to them in a minute) from all over the world are virtually "pinning" their "Pinterests" to their "pinboards" via "the Pinternet." So far, so good? Pinterrific.
Then other people are free to share your pinned recipes, crafts, inspirational photos, etc. on their boards, and so on, at a rate of several billion times a second (probably). Got it? OK, now here's where it gets weird. For instance, you're probably wondering ...
The pink explosion above is a Pinterest user's birthday party ... for a 2-year-old. Did your mom throw you birthday parties when you were a kid? Did they look like that? Or this:
No? Hmmm, that's weird. Why didn't your parents throw you a themed celebration with coordinating invitations, decorations, seven courses of snacks, games and $50 goody bags for your first birthday? Was it because they hated you?
Yes, if love is measured by the amount of time you put into Barbie hair detangler recipes and hand-sewing baby dresses out of pillowcases, then Pinterest mothers are the most loving mothers of all. No matter what your picture of domestic perfection is, it doesn't hold a candle to these ladies. Hey, did your parents ever make your Halloween costumes? Not if you grew up in the '80s. Parents of the '80s were much more interested in smothering their offspring than winning the Oscar for Most Creative Sewing Chops. But if Pintermoms are to be believed, Halloween is a whole new ballgame today:
How about your lunches? Surely these pictures of lovingly crafted bento lunchboxes will bring back a rush of sweet memories from elementary school:
Mmmm, just like mom used to make ... if she loved you.
Not that there's anything wrong with moms pouring hours of love into their kids' rooms, costumes, parties, lunches, every waking moment, etc. To each their own. And hey, if you want to dress your sleeping baby up as a huge sushi roll ...
Wait a second. Just how much spare time do these people have? We guess that brings us to your next question ...
Hey, instead of putting down boring old tile or linoleum on your floor, why not glue thousands and thousands of pennies to it one at a time? Thanks, Pinterest!
In case you haven't figured this part out yet, Pinterest is for makers. Makers of crafts, food, clothes, pretty babies, bulimia patients ... but probably not makers of useful modifications to everyday stuff, because that's what Lifehacker is for.
After a few minutes of project bombardment, one will start to wonder how other people have the time to make this stuff. Could it be that others are spending less than six hours on the Internet every day? Or is everyone else stuck in their own Groundhog Day where they have infinite time for infinite projects until they learn a hard truth and move on? How much time would you need to carve tiny people into your fingernails?
Or make a necklace out of pistachio shells?
Or tying your hair into knots that surely require 20 hours and a crew of six engineers to get right?
SECRET PINTEREST TIP: What's actually happening is one person makes something cool, as crafty/cool types have been doing since the dawn of time, and posts a picture of their project, and then 300 other people "repin" that picture with the caption "WANT TO TRY" or "SOMEDAY" or "IF ONLY I HAD HANDS."
It's easy to go from board to board and see a vast landscape of impossible projects and feel bad about yourself for merely doing the things that could reasonably be expected of a human. So ladies, don't let Pinterest make you feel bad about yourself, and guys, don't let Pinterest set impossibly high standards for the women in your life. After all, do you really want the people in your life to spend this much time on their nails?
Oh, didn't you know women were flaunting entire universes on their fingernails now?
Or painting detailed patterns imitating peacock feathers?
Look around the office. Two years ago, all the ladies would have been sporting conservative shades of nothing-gloss on their boring finger-ends that ultimately tapered into negative space. Today they're using their own keratin to grow crystal meth! It's crazy!
To be fair, Pinterest didn't cause this. It's only documenting the nail art trend that has been going strong for a few years now. If you've been paying attention, you would have noticed more stripes and hearts and discarded baby teeth on the nails all around you. And if you haven't, Pinterest is going to get you up to speed.
Plus, once you sign up for Pinterest, tiny Pintergnomes come into your house and do your nails and braid your hair at night. Read the user terms and conditions. This could be you in the morning:
The Beauty Box Salon
These aren't hairstyles, they're part-time jobs.
Oh, and you might notice that all of your old T-shirts are missing, which brings us to ...