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“That’s really cute! Did you get it off Pinterest?”
For much of the population at the school, this question would be quite a compliment.
Others might take offense at the suggestion their latest project was someone else’s idea.
People automatically assume that anything crafty or creative is unoriginal, which brings up a good point.
In today’s wannabe-artsy generation, is copying a project from Pinterest truly a form of creativity?
From a cutesy-crafty point of view, Pinterest is the perfect outlet for collecting ideas and creating a virtual dream world.
Users can upload or “pin” images and organize them into personalized categories called boards.
A few of the top subjects include recipes, workout tips, crafts, dream weddings and fashion.
Launched in March 2010, the social scrapbook reached more than 11 million users before its second anniversary.
The thought behind collecting ideas on virtual bulletin boards filled a void in the world of social media.
More meaningful than liking a page on Facebook, pinning offers users the chance to paint a personalized picture of who they are based on individual interests, taste and style.
According to the mission statement, Pinterest was created with the purpose of helping people relate over common pursuits.
Its goal, as stated on the website, is to connect users around the world through shared interests, taste, humor and style.
But the amount of originality on the website is greatly lacking.
Many of the pins become trapped in an endless cycle, copied time and time again to boards across the globe and thus stifling the individuality of being creative.
The number of repeated pins can be annoying. Even worse, users commonly admit to spending hours at a time on Pinterest and even becoming addicted to pinning.
They spend more time sitting in front of their computer screens pinning recipes and crafts than they do actually cooking and creating.
One quote wryly repinned by users serves to poke fun at the website: “Thank you, Pinterest, for helping me feel creative even though I’ve really just been sitting at my computer for three hours.”
On the other hand, some members make an effort to take their ideas and put them to good use.
They have Pinterest parties with friends, and they cook, paint or make scarves from old T-shirts.
Cynics might see these parties through the lens of friends gathering in one place to make unoriginal, often useless crafts.
In many cases Pinterest inspires a sort of cookie-cutter creativity, resulting in exact copies or projects slightly tweaked for a more personalized fit.
Sadly, attempting to copy the cute DIY projects is often accompanied by a sense of dissatisfaction.
Trying too hard to replicate the little picture on the computer takes away the fun of making something.
Similar to reproducing crafts and recipes, Pinterest-y weddings can cause unnecessary strife.
Canada-based photojournalist Brent Foster points out the negative effect wedding boards can have on brides and wedding planning.
Foster theorizes that the website can potentially ruin weddings because brides-to-be spend too much time collecting and comparing other people’s ideas.
By the time their own wedding photo sessions, ceremonies and receptions take place, many of the elements risk being cookie-cutter mimicry of someone else’s ideas.
However, Foster admits that the virtual pinboard is a good place to start for reference—just don’t get attached to someone else’s wedding. Admittedly, Pinterest can be a fabulous catalyst for inspiration.
The downfall occurs when people spend so long sitting and collecting ideas that they ultimately don’t get anything useful out of it. Repinning is not creating.
If there was less pinning and more doing, people around the world would rediscover their personal touch and add originality to their creations.