I have recently started using a new social media site. You may have heard of it. If you haven’t, you should stay away if you ever want to accomplish anything again. It is more addictive than Facebook was back when Mark Zuckerburg owned the company. Take a deep breath. Pinterest. Pin your interests. It is the worst thing to happen to my GPA since I was a science major.
Pinterest is literally an online bulletin board where the users can “pin” things they like from anywhere on the Web. There are 20+ categories and as many boards as any one person could desire. It is predominantly female now, but I could easily see it having a masculine appeal if ¾ of those categories were erased and some subcategories (i.e. football, baseball, golf, etc. rather than “sports”) were established. Pinstripe, if you will.
As I was recapping, users can pin anything, but they also follow other users. Here is where it becomes like Twitter, instead of status updates, the homepage (a neverending bulletin board) shows “pins” (thumbnail image with embedded links to the original source) as they are pinned. This is an especially cloud-like way to store craft, recipe and classroom ideas, as well as virtually scrapbook.
For example, many users have a “board” – please, don’t get me started on these metaphors – for future home decorating, weddings, outfits and vacations. What interests me most about this highly addictive interactive media site is how the theme of every book read thus far in my “Writing for New Media” course is reflected.
As I sift through “pins,” I’m reminded of why this site is successful. An image is more appealing and has a stronger impact than text. This is why Pinterest is like a visual Twitter. How hard can it be to read 140 characters compared to an entire article? Not hard at all, but how much easier is it to glance at an image and move on? With a single look at an image, there is an immediate reaction that can be placed in one of two categories: emotional connection or lack of emotional connection. This is a relationship that is quicker and easier to establish than reading text, even if it is limited to approximately 2 sentences.
The relationship between the user and the image also compartmentalizes the image as something of value or “rubbish,” as our [English 475 peeps] beloved Crow [, David] writes about. For example, a high school classmate of mine “pinned” several images within a short span of time and added “artsy” descriptions to them, such as “ethereal,” “great colors,” “nice colors” and various other single-adjective descriptors. I could care less about any of this “art.” I’m not trying to be snobby, but I feel no connection to it, though she does. It’s still art, regardless of your definition of it, but it might as well be “rubbish” as far as its emotional appeal to me goes.
Finally, remediation. How could Pinterest possibly relate to remediation. Hmmmm… Considering the purpose of the sight is to bring in all types of media from across the Web, it seems safe to say Pinterest exists solely on the idea of remedation.
Here are some things I have recently pinned along with the name of the “board” each “pin” was “pinned” to and the description, as well as a comment on the original source.
Board: Products I Love. Description: Best. Dog. Ever.
I took this photo from my Facebook account, which is a little sketch in Pinterest etiquette. I let it slide for this one because she is precious.
Board: My Style. Description: The Kennedys are to blame for these horrible dresses!
Clearly, I am not a fan of Lilly Pulitzer – at least not the apparel. I love the accessories, but there are just certain patterns that do not belong on anyone’s body, even political royalty (like the irony?)…. And Lilly Pulitzer created them all. This came from vanityfair.com (my favorite magazine), and is a society photo from the 60s/70s compiled with other pictures of the Kennedys into an album entitled “From J.F.K. to Ralph Lauren Models, the Hallmarks of Preppy Style.” So, does this mean its been remediated four times now (life to photo (1), print to Web magazine (2), magazine to Pinterest (3), Pinterest to blog (4). Now, one more for the road.
Board: Things Worth Tweeting About. Description: So glamourous.
Why did my parents never dress me as Holly Golightly? I was always a Disney princess. This is from etsy.com which is to me the Walmart of all online girly shopping. It has everything and then some. But let’s take a step back. This child is dressed as the iconic Holly Golightly (I’m itching to deconstruct the symbolism in her name – darn you, Capote!), though most passerby would say she’s dressed as Audrey Hepburn. They are wrong. End of story.
First, Holly Golightly was the star of Breakfast at Tiffany’s a novella by Truman Capote. Then, it was made into a Hollywood classic fifty years ago this month. Then (!) someone made this adorable costume and dressed up this little girl. THEN a picture was taken. This picture was published to the Internet. Someone “pinned” it, I “repinned” it, and now it is on this blog. Seven times remediated.
Will there ever be originality again? We have enough stuff to remediate to keep us occupied for several centuries. Think of remediation as a circle that technology introduces upgrades to every so often. It’s not so bad.
Left to Right and Visible Signs by David Crow
Remediation by Jay David Bolter & Richard Grusin
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
VanityFair.com, Etsy.com & Pinterest.com
P.S. That’s a Lion King quote as the title.