In which things get Pinteresting

I would have written a column about Pinterest sooner, but for the past month I've been too busy staring blankly at an upload box, shouting, "What things do I like? What THINGS do I LIKE?"

Do I like that lamp? Sure, I like that lamp. But do I like-like it? Do I PINTEREST-like it? For the commitment-phobes among us, it has presented a whole new level of uncertainty.

In the way these things always do, Pinterest has turned up unannounced in a life I'd previously thought complete*, and immediately declared itself indispensable. Before Pinterest, what did we do when we had a nice image of a thing and wanted to show it to people? I mean, apart from posting it on all our other digital forums, or showing it the retro way with our hands and mouths? It also has a nifty pun in its name, which immediately endeared it to me (not to mention quickly spawning the flagrant and slightly sweaty-sounding imitation site 'Pinspire').

For the unacquainted, is the virtual equivalent of covering your school jotter in pictures snipped out of More! magazine. If More! magazine had taken a sharp about-turn and started featuring mainly rural sunsets, trendy bookshelves and cake. Lots of cake.


Sold as a (new favourite phrase alert) "curation platform", Pinterest lets you create online pinboards of images that you think are nice, for other people to agree are nice. It can be, in turn, a showroom of expensive things you can't afford, a source of soothing natural wonder and therapeutic uplift, a stellar collection of animals in comedy outfits, or the world's best buffet table. Sadly it can also be 27 pictures of wedding favours with :) written as a caption.

The absolute beauty of it, though, is that you're not being judged on your own photography skills, or cookery skills, or looking-attractive-in-a-cape skills. You're just riding on the back of other people's. It's genius. Those who can, do - those who can't, curate. "Can you cook?" we might ask each other soon on dates, to get the reply, "no, but I'm an excellent curator." Which I suppose, when you think about it, just means "I'm great at doing an M&S shop then hotting it up in a microwave." But anyway.

I'm also hugely in favour of Pinterest because it offers a break for people who aren't so much… how can I put this? 'With the words'. With the rise of Twitter and the continuing rule of Facebook serving to remind us which of our acquaintances can string together and properly punctuate a sentence, and which… well, can’t, it might be nice to let pictures do the talking for a change.

Plus, I like to think of it as a sort of crude window into someone’s brain. Inside your head, is it all cherry blossom and rainbows or sci-fi tattoos and chandeliers made from forks? Mine currently features three pictures of Dolly Parton, a plate of Guinness brownies and a dog wearing a superman cape. Which I’d say is fairly accurate.

*This is clearly a lie. Until someone invents an ‘office slanket’ and they bring back chocolate Pretzel Flipz, my life will never be complete.