By: Brooke Bartschat
We live in the age of technology, an age in which almost all of our lives are lived and documented through posts, likes, retweets, and viral trends. But we know the effects of this. We have seen the studies. We have seen how the constant comparison and competition between numbers of likes, retweets, and views has negatively affected mental health in society. We have also seen the horrible effects of interactions on Twitter and Facebook. The harassment, the cancel culture, and the overall horrible comments that flood these platforms and make these apps that were supposed to be a fun place to interact with friends and family into a cesspool of misinformation, harassment, and toxicity.
Instagram, especially, has become a toxic place, rewarding and praising those who fit society’s beauty standard and promoting the most manufactured, capitalistic businesses. They put focus on numbers: likes, followers, and comments all there to show you where exactly you rank in the world. They have tried to combat this by hiding the number of likes on posts, thereby limiting your ability to compare your achievements to those of others, but you can still see your own like counts, and that’s enough to perpetuate the issue.
Twitter and Facebook are also a breeding ground for toxicity. With misinformation and rumors that spread like wildfire, these platforms are essentially the social media version of a middle school. These platforms are also the main stage of cancel culture, where someone’s career, reputation, and happiness can be ended in one fell swoop (again, like middle school).
The only saving grace is Pinterest. Though Pinterest is technically a form of social media, I find it unfair to group this platform with the other gross mental health destroyers. Unlike these other platforms where you are bombarded by unwarranted and sometimes unwelcome opinions, Pinterest is curated directly to you. It is essentially a catalog, a vision board curated to your interests and things you will enjoy. It is arguably the most wholesome, peaceful place on the internet.
Not only is Pinterest’s website aesthetically pleasing and visually relaxing, the pins themselves our wholesome as well. I don’t know about you, but when I peruse my Pinterest feed, I’m easily gratified by beautiful views of coastal Greece, gorgeous gowns, and cute puppies. Essentially, Pinterest is a catalog of all of the things on the internet that actually bring you serotonin and peace.
Over the past couple years, we have also seen a rise in social media detoxes, a conscious elimination of social media use and consumption for a set period of time. Many people I know, including myself, have participated in these detoxes. One of the things I’ve noticed, however, is Pinterest is never included. One of my best friends recently started a social media detox, which she is still on and continuing strong, and I asked her why she didn’t include Pinterest. I remember her telling me, “Pinterest is different. Pinterest is an escape that doesn’t make me feel worse when exiting.” This is the key. Rather than other forms of social media that focus on comparison and negativity, Pinterest focuses solely on the things that not only bring joy, but bring joy to you specifically. Pinterest is an endless world of recipes you want to try, places you want to go, clothes you want to buy, and overall positivity.
While other forms of social media incentivize competition and unrealistic views of success, Pinterest provides a simple outlet for creativity and fosters an actual sense of community, reminding us of the simplicity of life, the happiness that comes with indulging in good food and friendship, and offering practical advice galore to ensure the content we see is plentiful, diverse, and enriching as opposed to competitive and destructive. Though Pinterest is not entirely unproblematic or absent of any flaws, I feel, when compared to any other social media platform, it is easily the best.