The Latest Social Media Drug
I created my Pinterest account on January 21, 2011 and, quite frankly, pinned three items and forgot about it until the recent tsunami of interest flared up. Now it’s become almost impossible for me to escape tweets and status updates that mention Pinterest. Frankly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen this kind of frenzy around a social media platform. And the number of people who openly claim to be addicted to pinning is rising at alarming numbers.
Amy Bliss – @amy_bliss
New addiction to #Pinterest – If I had nothing else to do it would be awesome. Now I have a whole new way to procrastinate.
We’ve all been warned about the evils of procrastination. We’ve all felt its power. And apparently procrastination is going to be a serious side affect of Pinterest addiction, that’s evident. The velocity of tweets that mention “Pinterest addiction” and putting off other more meaningful activities is quite impressive, even as it relates to work. But with any addiction, there’s also plenty of positives to look for when justifying an addictive behavior, especially when it comes to social media. From the consumer perspective, saving money might be the obvious justification.
Danielle Retzer – @Danielle_Retzer
@tamikou Forbes says you can make money while #pinning! Your new addiction just got a little better #pinterest http://t.co/oqZlBmtQ
If you’re a businesses, small or large, perhaps Pinterest’s ability to drive traffic to your site will be the angle that social media drug dealers will use to lure you to this addictive behavior.
CIMBhamCov – @CIMBhamCov
So Pinterest is a good addiction after all! Whose pinning? http://t.co/vPX5jo77
“According to a recent study conducted by Sharaholic, Pinterest drove more referral traffic to sites in January than Google+, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and MySpace all combined. In addition, it’s threatening to unseat Twitter, Google news, Google images, Gmail and Stumble Upon in the coming months to slide into the number two spot behind Facebook.” The quality of those links is yet to be seen, but the numbers are certainly impressive.
Pinterest’s Power To Distract And The Future Of Our Country
All of this bodes well for Pinterest growth, but not so much for it’s users productivity. In my “pinterest addiction” searches, I’ve found that this is especially true in one segment of the social media population – university students. Our up and coming leaders. If this level of distraction continues, I fear for our country’s future. Here’s just a small sample of the evidence.
- Carol Furr – @CarolFurr: I don’t even know why I show up for class! I don’t listen to a thing the teacher says thanks to #pinterest
- Alivia Boddie – @liv_it_uppp: love classes that allow me to have my laptop open during lecture so i can satisfy my pinterest addiction with ease
- Rebecca Petrie ♔ – @princess_rbckk: “@kealzzz69: I think I have a serious addiction to pinterest” I’m pinning in class right now. Tweet, pin, pin, pin, tweet…what a life….
- teresita – @t_morg: A class I’m not in I hope??“@alikins7890: Pinterest is definitely my new addiction #OhMyGod I might just fail this exam haha #Distractions”
- Lauren Stiver – @laurenstiver: Just slightly irritated there is no where in my class for my phone charger, therefore I can’t keep pinning! #addiction #pinterest
- Michelle McTaggart – @michellemct: Class time = pinterest time #addiction
- Katie Tysinger – @ak_tysinger: Anddddd I got a pinterest. Bye law school.
Harnessing All Of That Addictive Power
Clearly the future of our country is at stake. So, how do you deal with an addiction this strong and potentially destructive? Thankfully, one student has found a way to turn their addiction into something positive, they’re using Pinterest as a reward.
Molly McDonnell – @MollyLMcDonnell
Rewarding myself with pinterest after studying tonight because I have to get ahold of my pinterest addiction. This is my life.
Molly has decided to use a technique called Delayed gratification. Delayed gratification, or deferred gratification, ”denotes a person’s ability to wait in order to obtain something that he or she wants.” From a behavioral science standpoint, it makes perfect sense. If the addiction is strong enough, denying yourself access until a healthier goal is accomplished can be a powerful motivator. Not everyone possesses the attributes necessary to make this solution work for them, however.
“This intellectual attribute is called impulse control, will power, or self control. Sociologically, good impulse control is considered a positive personality trait, which psychologist Daniel Goleman indicated as an important component trait of emotional intelligence. Moreover, people who lack the psychological trait of being able to delay gratification are said to require instant gratification and might suffer poor impulse control.” Oddly, there is a high correlation between the ability to delay gratification and academic success. “The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment indicates that good impulse control might be psychologically important for academic achievement and for success in adult life.“
If your suffering from Pinterest addiction, give Molly’s technique a try. Reward yourself with the thrill of pinning only AFTER you’ve done everything you’ve defined as “productive” in your day. Use the Pinterest high as a motivator. If you can’t, it might be time to seek help. It might also be an indication that you simply aren’t cut out for success in life.
Of course, there will always be those looking for a way to medicate themselves out of this addiction. “I need to invent medicine that helps with addiction to Pinterest….” Emily Walton – @EmmyLouWh0 wrote, “and then post a pin about it!”
It Takes A Village
If you have some ideas on how to combat Pinterest addiction, please feel free to share them in the comments. Or you could make it easier for them and Pin It
More importantly, if you know someone struggling with a Pinterest addiction, share your ideas with them and help them out. Unlike some of the folks quoted in this post, they may not even be aware of their addiction. The future of our society may depend on it.
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Pinterest photo edits by Jeff Turner. Original photo by Natalie Johnson via Flickr