Posted by: corrinebuchanan | October 8, 2012

My Life According to Pinterest

I like to think that I am an individual, a unique being with original thoughts and one of a kind experiences. I have come to realize that my identity is not entirely of my own creation; instead it is continually changing and taking on characteristics of the media and the images I consume. Richard Dawkins and Susan Blackmore’s theory of memes claims, “humans evolve imitating others, that successful memes – patterns of behavior – are passed on from one person to another and thus become part of who we are, our identity.” (p. 190) This theory immediately brought to mind the new social media phenomenon Pinterest.

I hate to admit it, but I believe that my participation with Pinterest is threatening my individuality and my identity. My style and my ideas are no longer just my own. I use Pinterest as a tool to tell me how to dress, what to cook and where to travel. This makes me question other forms of media and their effect on my personal identity. With Pinterest it can be easily measured by looking at my “likes” or my “boards”, but how is my interaction with other forums such as Facebook, Twitter, TV, etc., shaping my identity?

Do you find yourself sub consciously or even consciously changing the way to behave because of the content you consume?  Has the mass availability and consumption of media made individuality impossible?

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Responses

  1. Corinne,

    I was thinking about the curation of personal culture just the other day! Sites like Pinterest (and predecessors like Svpply) make it easy for us to catalog styles and objects that inspire us and I think they have value as personal time capsules, and as time-savers. But does this trend of online curation deaden our creative thinking in that we can instantly snatch someone else’s idea? Or does it just quicken the same old process of meme replication/idea sharing?

    To borrow Malcolm Gladwell’s terminology, there has to be a tipping point at which a unique idea becomes so popular that it’s no longer unique. And I think in the internet age, we reach that point faster than we ever have before. Does that tipping point cause the idea to inherently lose cultural value? Or does it actually become more important the more it is replicated? Does it depend on who you ask?

    I think this may all tie to the fact that we, as Americans, pride ourselves on individuality. We’d like to think that our interests are unique but really – with 300 million people in our country alone – is that really possible?

    Chrissy


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