Living by Pinterest’s Ethos for a Week Is a Horrible Idea

Buzzfeed writer Rachel Wilkerson Miller spent a whole week living off Pinterest's "Most Popular" page. The trick? Not succumbing to "Pinterest-stress."


Pinterest might be the weirdest place on the Internet. Or maybe that’s because I don’t cook, clean or craft. Happily, I’m not alone. Buzzfeed’s Rachel Wilkerson Miller says she breaks the stereotype of the average Pinterest user:

Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has earned a reputation as a site for Mormon housewives, mommy bloggers and basic white girls. I am a woman of color with a full-time job, I spend less than 30 minutes getting ready in the morning, and I still like Pinterest.

As a project, she lived according to Pinterest’s ethos for a week. Cooking the most popular recipes, using makeup and hair tutorials, spending free time crafting, and the like.

That sounds very stressful. She writes that she learned that some recipes were “legit,” flouncy ponytails and storage solutions are worth it, and that most of what makes something Pinterest-worthy is really good photography:

But my soup could look like the photo… just not right after I made it. The next day, I re-shot the soup in natural light with a DSLR camera. I didn’t do any fancy editing, and yet it looked so much more appealing this time around. And all it took was a $500 camera, a $250 lens and the luxury of being at home during the day, when the natural light was just right for a photo like this. All things most women who work outside the home don’t have.

So Pinterest is a little biased towards wealthier, basic, crafty moms. The same ones who report “Pinterest stress” or feeling unworthy because someone’s mason jar salads look better than their own. Social media should be more fun than that. It does explain the platform’s success though — unlike Instagram or Facebook where we document life, Pinterest is activity-driven: do this, try this. You don’t have to upload a photo if your cake doesn’t look good. Brands could capitalize on this “stress” by promoting simple recipes or crafts, and appealing to those who don’t use it as a lifestyle guide, but as a bookmarking tool. Those users are out there, too.

Publish date: December 15, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT