Pinterest in a Socially-Distanced World

Courtesy of Andy Art.
Riley Yates
March 26, 2021

It’s no secret that Pinterest, a social media platform that allows users to save and share images on digital “boards,” is the happiest place on the Internet. No one is there for heated political debates, and no one will tell you that your dream room is ugly and outdated. No, every Pinterest user is there to have a good time! Whether users are on a mission to display the most “aesthetic” pictures on their color-coordinated feeds or to find which fridge would look best in their open-concept kitchen, Pinterest serves as an escape from reality. These days, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, every day can feel like a dull duplicate of the one before. The to-do lists of many consist of: wake up, work out, get ready, attend school, do homework, and enjoy free time, with frequent snacking and loads of screen time in between. With travel restrictions and lockdown guidelines, there’s little room for a change of scenery, let alone international travel. This begs the question: once you’ve watched all your Netflix shows and done all your DIYs, what do you do? Many turn to Pinterest for refuge. When you can’t travel to France, you make a Parisian-inspired Pinterest board instead. When all you’ve worn for the past ten months is sweatpants, you compile all of your favorite styles and trends into a fashion-themed board. The possibilities are truly endless. 

The pandemic has been a time for self-discovery for many who have taken up new hobbies, revisited old ones, and reconnected with loved ones, be it out of boredom or the need for connection. Going from a fast-paced world to one that seems to be moving at snail-speed forces one to sit with oneself and reflect inward. With fewer tasks to focus on at home, we have to focus on ourselves. In past years, some of us have used Pinterest “vision” boards to face coming-of-age angst. We ask ourselves: Who do I want to be? What’s my purpose? Obviously, the digital age has only intensified due to the pandemic, so vision boards have once again risen in popularity. People are taking to Pinterest to explore what life will look like beyond COVID and how they envision their careers, their clothes, and their living spaces. The platform becomes a source of self-discovery in that when you look at all of your carefully-curated boards, you view a reflection of yourself: your current self and who you aspire to be. Pinterest links our current situation to the aspirations we haven’t yet realized, providing a sense of hope that as soon as our world opens up, so will our new reality.