Letters of Life

O, How I Have Pinned!


Pinterest (Photo credit: stevegarfield)

All recipes have a sequence of events. A rock bun doesn’t appear in the oven fully conceptualized from the baker’s mind. Likewise, with a recipe for disaster.

Since last week, it had been an uneventful Lent. I ignored Facebook the same as it ignores people who don’t give a hoot. I ignored shopping, which doesn’t ignore at all. Ask any female window-shopper.

It started in the Inbox. A blog I subscribe to written by a Christian mystic I admire had a new post. His wife had been spending as much time on Pinterest as he on his blog and had to find out what the fuss was about. He listed key benefits, one of which was that you created on Pinterest “your own little visual online media library.”

I decided to visit Pinterest. It’s turned out to be a visual artist’s dream of a site, a clean layout featuring pretty, witty images bursting with colour clipped from all over the world wide web and slotted into matchbox windows which tiled the screen. Some of the matchboxes were photos of windows looking out into blazing seas and oceans.

I clicked the Join button which had been cleverly-worded into “Request an Invite”. One of the fastest-growing websites in history has to invite you? Either the text was worded by a marketing fox of the female persuasion or it was some geek who had a Masters in how reverse psychology worked on women.

I requested an invite. I waited a few days, which is two weeks in the virtual world, and got a sweet email from the people at Pinterest. It said, “”Thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list. We’ll be sure to send you an invite soon.”

I joined a wait list? I thought I was joining Pinterest. What website has a wait list unless it’s Google+ in beta? This was like chasing a shopper who had just stepped into H&M out of the store and into the street because it is getting more and more crowded and will you please wait outside.

Then late last night, as Youtube was tutoring me in learning to sing a Mandarin worship song properly, I heard a ping from my Inbox. It was Pinterest! And they had me at: “You’re in!”

The copy was sleek and sly: “I’m excited to invite you to join Pinterest, a social catalog. I can’t wait to have you join our little community.” Who is this “I”? Again, the sly marketing fox. Anyway, I was In, so who cared?

To me, this was like getting a members-only invitation to a secret, closed-door, four-hour Private Sale featuring the latest offerings by on-the-edge fashion designer Dries Van Noten. To anyone else, it might have been a hand-delivered invitation to a closed-door launch of a book by your favourite author who had just flown into town and the queues outside the store was six hours long.

I got onto the site immediately. It took me a while to figure it out, but I was obviously sold on the product without a test drive. I muddled around a bit and someone repinned my pin. It’s amazing how fast your vocabulary expands with every new hot site you join. At the same time, one has the niggling suspicion there is a dumbing-down effect going on.

In my enthusiasm, I invited a few friends to join Pinterest. This way, no one would have to wait. They’d been handed a members-only invitation, by me!

The next day, one of these friends whom I had invited posted on his blog how the online life is not worth living compared to Life, and how lamentable the extent to which we allow the virtual world to intrude. Didn’t I give up the virtual on account of Lent?

So one blogger got me going on Pinterest and other chastened me for reLenting.

I felt like I was in a class where the teacher was scolding the whole class on account of one errant pupil, me. The chastisement was made more acute coming on Sunday morning: I was going to church in an hour’s time.

And so, in quiet and pensive mood, I sit and think about forgiveness and how I have pinned.


3 Responses »

  1. Smart, insightful and very witty! One of your very best!

  2. More from Eliot’s ‘The Rock’:

    The Word of the LORD came unto me, saying:
    O miserable cities of designing men,
    O wretched generation of enlightened men,
    Betrayed in the mazes of your ingenuities,
    Sold by the proceeds of your proper inventions:
    I have given you hands which you turn from worship,
    I have given you speech, for endless palaver,
    I have given you my Law, and you set up commissions,
    I have given you lips, to express friendly sentiments,
    I have given you hearts, for reciprocal distrust.
    I have given you the power of choice, and you only alternate
    Between futile speculation and unconsidered action.
    Many are engaged in writing books and printing them,
    Many desire to see their names in print,
    Many read nothing but the race reports.
    Much is your reading, but not the Word of GOD,
    Much is your building, but not the House of GOD,
    Will you build me a house of plaster, with corrugated roofing,
    To be filled with a litter of Sunday newspapers?

    And the wind shall say: “Here were decent godless people:
    Their only monument the asphalt road
    And a thousand lost golf balls.”

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