Dear Pinterest team:
This bright little idea has burned in my mind for a while now, and it wants to go public.
You see, I wrote many things on this blog about reconciliation before Pinterest blew into my life like the warm breeze off Pensacola Bay.
I wrote to convince people we have more in common than the media would have us believe. I wrote that as humans, we have worth, no matter what the television or magazines say. I wrote that common grounds are equally as powerful as diverse backgrounds, and ultimately, we are better together than apart. I wrote about a day when people would return to each other instead of believing all of the divisive messages propagated by conflict-saturated entertainment.
I struggled to illustrate these concepts until the day I joined Pinterest. The premise of Pinterest is simple. It takes us back to the sandboxes of our childhoods: Here are things I like. You’re interested in them, too? Let’s be friends!
Two years ago I started an offshoot of the work in this blog by curating a board called Don’t Compare Yourself to Celebrities. The board challenged consumers to question how messages in advertising affect their sense of self worth.
I’m 774 pins into the board, with 5,500+ followers. I never anticipated that pinning commentary about a model’s neck lines to a Pinterest board would actually help people or change things, but as it turns out, it has. In fact, Pinterest has changed everything.
Pinterest is about ideas. Don’t Compare Yourself says “You don’t measure up to the crazy standards set by media and advertising? Here are several thousand people who felt that way too and decided to do something about it.” Some have told me the board helps them find freedom from those messages–freedom to look in the mirror without shame. That is a powerful thing to hear.
Pinterest… which has more female users than males… is heavy on problem-solving, an action our culture is reluctant to associate with the female mind. The virtual bulletin boards — or pinboards — are a means of collective reasoning and a powerful point of contact for people who want to exchange helpful information that improves their worlds.
I’ve learned many of the followers’ names, listened to their stories, and done hours of research gathering content for my pins. The pinners following my boards? Every kind of people. A few might agree with my beliefs on things like religion and politics, but many walk in circles far, far removed from my own, and I’m deeply touched and honored–I say this with tears–that the blank space of a virtual bulletin board allowed us to smile across the sandbox and let our stories collide. (I’m not the only one who uses Pinterest as a vehicle for self-help and social change, either.)
Because of Pinterest, I overhauled my resume, finally learned to take care of my natural curls, built a rain barrel to conserve water, went surfing, investigated Monsanto, and planted an organic garden in my back lawn. Imperfect little Pinterest is one of the most educational platforms I’ve seen in social networking. Peruse the boards and you will see the earth’s biggest whiteboard, full of everything from photography tips to STEM learning to adbusting to astronomy to geology to food activism to habits of favorite CEOs to funny posts from one charity that humanely monitors cancer in dogs for info that helps human cancer patients. (Apparently it’s a thing. “Comparative Oncology.”)
Some of the info isn’t accurate, but it still sends you into Research and Investigate Mode–the inverse opposite of stagnancy.
When I wake up, I think about the people for whom I’m creating content on the boards. They have lives beyond Pinterest, and I find myself sending out hope and prayers that they find the strength to believe in themselves until we all meet again.
And here’s the reason behind this post: I’m dying… just dying… to collaborate with them in person. I hope you’re listening, Pinterest, because I’m proposing something big.
Let’s have a Pinterest Convention (think TEDTalks or SXSW) where pinners have a space to speak, host panels, and exchange life hacks for social change. For education. For design inspiration. For landing and creating better jobs. For improving photography and cinematography. For questioning the messages in advertising, like the followers of my board.
I’m not the world’s greatest public speaker, but thanks to Pinterest, I have a story to tell a roomful of people one day. Will One Day will happen in 2014?
Here’s a side benefit: There are very few big-ticket female motivational speakers. Pin-Con would encourage up-and-coming, influential women to take their place behind the world’s podiums via a self-made (Pinterest-made) speaking platform. That alone is worth a try.
Let’s see how the idea spreads organically. If you’re a pinner who wants Pin-Con, please repin.
If you’re really into this, write Pin-Con on poster board or paper, take a picture, and pin it along with the reason you think Pinterest should host a convention.
What do you say, Pinterest?
See you on the boards–and in the convention hall. 🙂
P.S. Comment below with your ideas for the first Pin-Con!