The Point of Pinterest

20120327-164005.jpgEvery spring there’s an amazing display outside our bedroom window. As the weather gets warm after winter the magnolia tree our neighbors share explodes with bright pink blossoms. Hundreds of flowers the size of teacups cast a spectacular array of light and color that is precious to behold, because within a week or more each delicate petal will flutter to the ground and disappear, not to return for another year.

My first instinct was to capture this ephemeral image in a photograph. Once adjusted for color, cropped and formatted in my iPhone I posted it to the Internet, eager to share it with the world. And though a devotee of Facebook, rather than putting it there I sent my magnolias to Pinterest and created a new board called ‘Flowering Trees’.

It was in that moment that I finally understood the point of this latest social media platform. Now that I had finally created a unique image series that stirred my passions Pinterest suddenly made sense. So with my iPhone tucked in my fanny pack I set out on my morning run in search of more trees that flower in spring.

The point of Pinterest is to share media that matter to you in a meaningful way. With architecture similar to other photo-base social media applications like Flickr or Instagram the new online services a place to share random content. Arranged by category the images you post chronicle those things you find inspiring or simply bring you joy. The web site allows you to share these images with people, typically complete strangers, with common interests and similar vision. Before I ran a mile down the Capital City Bike Trail ‘Flowering Trees’ had more than 50 followers.

As I ran I stopped to take pictures of flowers I couldn’t identify. Lovely and temporary I hurried down the path to capture as many as possible. With my iPhone I posted each to Pinterest and by the time I made it back home an hour later I had five new images pinned to the board.

My new followers viewed, clicked, liked and repined the pictures I posted. As each aggregated through Facebook and Twitter more people chimed in to share their pictures as well. I received other shots of trees in bloom from around Madison taken by my neighbor Jean Patz. I found a picture posted by my friend Juan Martinez, an environmental activist who snapped an Instagram photo while strolling the around the monuments of Washington D.C. A follower shared an image of pink flowers shot under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. And perhaps most classic of all I received a picture of cherry blossoms in Japan with Mount Fuji majestic in the background.

In no time at all each of these flowering trees will shed their blossoms. Green leaves will take their place and provide shade through the summer months. But now in spring these captured moments gathered and pinned to this board are suspended in time. And that’s the point of Pinterest. With contributions from others online we can preserve this fleeting moments like this, the passage of time and experiences most might have missed, that marks the wonderful transition from one season to the next.


The Joy Trip Project Adventure Media Review is made possible with the support of sponsor Patagonia

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.