Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Adventures with Pinterest

I curate a personal art museum. As of this moment, I have 532 works of art in it. I have ancient art, classical art, folk art, and modern art in it. I have works from the well-known, the unknown, and every degree of fame in-between. I have art that have personal meaning for me, works of historic importance, multi-cultural works, shocking works, and soothing works.

Here's my art gallery. I love it. I don't have to worry about space, climate controls, visitors, theft, insurance, or any other type of maintenance issue. The only drawback is that I can't arrange and organize things. Outside of that, it's the perfect art gallery for me.

I joined Pinterest out of curiosity more than anything else. A male acquaintance on Google+ invited me to it. Of course, I had heard about the site at work, from women who were using it to plan weddings, baby showers, and other things. Outside of the recipe board, I haven't really used any of the pre-made board categories the way most people would. Oh, I started out by making boards for some of my favorite things - butterflies, flowers, landscapes, geek stuff, and glass. But my "For the Home" is really more "Quirky Home-Related Stuff" and a companion to my "Interesting homes" board. And then there's my "Inspirations of Fantasy" board, which are more or less just things that excite the fairy tale lover within me, even if they are real.

A few months ago, I made a board sort of in memory of a classmate, who had just died from cancer at the young age of 25 years. I had often enjoyed her Pinterest boards, because they showed her joy and enthusiasm for color and life, as well as her eye for style. I sensed within some of her choices an underlying desire to be married, mixed with the knowledge that she may never have the opportunity. After her death, I missed seeing her pins, so I started my own board of elegant and romantic things. However, in honor of her authenticity, I chose things that were more appropriate to myself than recreate her choices. I don't think it represents me as much as her boards did her, but it does represent the overlap she and I had - which is far more meaningful.

A few days ago, I read Plan Your Future: How to Create a Vision Board by Margarita Tartakovky, M.S. over on PsychCentral. Since I've recently been laid off due to a corporate re-organization of my department, I thought it would be a good idea to do a vision board. Due to my current financial constraints, I decided I would try to do this online, instead of getting magazines. I cruised a few online sources of things I wouldn't normally be interested in - such as a powerpoint forwarded by my mother (As_melhores_fotos_da_PIXDAUS_I.pps), a search for tattoos on Pinterest (doing a single board didn't give me many images to consider), a knitting blog (Knitting to Stay Sane), and a car TV show website (Motor Week). I finally settled on 10 images. As it turns out, I really don't find tattoos all that inspiring. I had to work to find an image I felt any affinity towards. I knew I was never really into tattoos, but I underestimated the depths of my apathy towards them. I think it's because I find skin fascinating on its own.

Anyway, I played with the images in a graphics editor on my computer until I had an arrangement I liked and then I answered the questions. I identified a color scheme, a pull towards nature, and somewhat surprisingly a desire to ascend things.

In theory, it should be possible to do a vision pinboard by culling from images you've already collected on other boards. Of course, the original exercise is set up to make you think outside of the box - and I would still suggest using sources you aren't normally interested in to start. But once you've started that process, you should be able to go back through your own boards and pick out images that pull at you. Unless, of course, you have a habit of only pinning things based on what other people approve of. In that case, you probably wouldn't get much personal insight out of using the stuff you've already pinned.

The problems with the theory (or more specifically the hunch) - you can't make a single board private, which may lead to self-censorship. You could, of course, privately gather images other ways and work with them. And as I mentioned earlier, you can't rearrange things on a Pinterest board. Still, it may still serve some purpose to have one, even if it is a bit restrained. A friend uses Pinboard, a site the requires a one-time free, but does allow you to keep certain boards private, but doesn't post images - so it wouldn't work for this. A combination of the two sites would be nice.

I suspect that there may be other ways to use Pinterest, which are not immediately obvious. Being able to visually tag things is bound to lead to different ways of processing ideas.

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