I had my first experience with Pinterest today.
It was an oddly compelling experience, and it makes mees thinks about human nature.
First: Whether out of necessity, or brilliance, Pinterest requires a Pinterest invitation-request in advance (at least at the time of this writing). After submitting a request - and waiting a day - I was invited.
- Human Nature Lesson (Reminder): We want what we can't have.
Interest: Pinterest asks about your areas of interest, such as architecture, food, etc. After clicking categories, Pinterest suddenly presents to you new (and existing) friends who are interested in similar things. Insto-presto I felt "validated".
- Human Nature Observation: We all want to be part of a tribe - and we all want to be accepted.
Imagery: There are many things that "move" human beings: The sound of music, a tender touch, or the taste of cinnamon. Then there are images. I'm reminded why the term "eye candy" exists. I found myself on an eye sugar-high.
I felt the reflection of humanity in an instant. Sure, in many cases, there were consumer products, pretty clothes and other images of "stuff". Not necessarily "humanity" one might say. Then again, we are what we put out there.
- Adage Confirmation: I heard it said, "Pinterest is Tumblr for people who can't write". Maybe. But I know this: A picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. I felt like I was able to get a "feel" for who people were in an instant - more than with any other social networking experience.
- In one case, I think I even learned how to "see" in a certain way. I saw through the eyes of an architect. I didn't just see the designs this particular woman creates, but rather, I saw what she sees, and thus saw what inspires and informs her designs.
I found myself instantly compelled to "pin" or "re-pin" images. I was kid again, "Mommy, Mommy... Look, look! There's a tree. Look, look. It's a bird!".
- Human Nature Observation #2: We're constantly hungry for discovery - and we're dying to share what we discover - with others.
It didn't take long for me to decide what categories interested me. Architecture, Tech, Science, Places and Design were a few that I clicked. In life, we tend agonize, "Who am I? - What am I about? - What am I meant to do?"
- Likely Fact: Deep down, we probably know who we are. At least we "know" what interests us. We should listen to ourselves.
Wild fire: From nowhere, this image-bookmarking site goes from nobody to millions - in no time. In the U.S. alone, there were 18.7 million unique visitors in March, 2012. In spite of the millions, it still feels personal. The welcome letter remains in first-person: "I'm excited to invite you to join Pinterest, a social catalog. I can't wait to have you join our little community... - Ben & the Pinterest Team"
- Observation: Things happen fast in the 21st Century. You too can make things happen quickly - and with scale.
I was reminded of the power of the era in which we live. Have an interest, product or project to change the world? No problem, you can go from "zero to 60" in four seconds.
- Assertion: We can, in fact, change the world for the better, together - especially with the "cognitive surplus" we possess and the tools we now have at our fingertips. Clay Shirky's book "Cognitive Surplus - Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age" points to brain research showing that we're naturally more prone to share, connect and support each other than we are to acquire, consume and take from each other. More than we might think.
Interested in the sources of the images contained within this blog post?
Well then, join Pinterest, friend "CraigArtJames" (me) and see what my new friends have to share with you.
Craig Arthur James 2012