Originally published in STIR®



Peek inside the charming, stylish and surprisingly seductive world of Pinterest.

When you become obsessed with Pinterest, you go through four phases. I should know. Granted, I’m still a far cry from Joy Cho, whose followers currently hover above 10 million (yes, you read that correctly; her fans outnumber the population of New York City). Nor am I top pinner Oge Nwaozuzu, who has so far pinned 100,135 items. Still, I went from a doubter to a devotee, with 77 boards and 1,379 pins. I have 92 followers, and I follow 68. How on earth did I get here?

Phase One: Interest
When I first learned about Pinterest, I was intrigued, but I remained skeptical: Here was yet another way to squander precious downtime. Then a few months later, I attended a blogger conference where Pinterest founder Ben Silberman gave the keynote address. At the end, he received a standing ovation! Really? Curiosity piqued, I found the Pinterest home page and signed up. Hmm, I thought, this appears to be a virtual scrapbook. As I ventured along, I discovered it was, in fact, a scrapbookers’ nirvana — and much, much more.

Like many of you, I keep piles of books and periodicals; torn-out pictures from magazines, brochures and postcards from trade shows around the world; and folders of digital images — all collected into a somewhat organized chaos. With this in mind, I created my first board: a collection of images I’d used in a recent color forecast. The pictures had inspired me, so I wanted to share them. Thus began my endless Pinterest spiral (and, subsequently, a board I’m still developing named “Swirls, Spirals and Pleats”).

Phase Two: Passion
From time to time, I would add to my original board or create new ones. As I searched, pinned and curated, I realized each board was an image in its own right. I began to admire the overall composition, enhancing it whenever possible.

Then I received an email: Someone had repinned one of my images and started following me. Once again, I had to say “Really?” With each new message, I was surprised and, well, flattered. I would check out their boards, perhaps repinning something, perhaps following them, too. The list grew. There was “Come on in …” and “Lovely randoms” from bloggers Laura Garcia and Kirsten Danielle, as well as the work of fellow color specialists, like Kate Smith’s “ColorWheels” and Kathy Andersson’s “Feathers and Flames.”

And so began the next phase.

Phase Three: Devotion
I began to spend hours looking for original and interesting content to pin, poring over design blogs and websites. I have some boards dedicated to specific hues, including “Color. I’m Chartreuse, Hue are you?”; “Color. Red, Rouge, Rojo” and “Color. 2013 Sherwin-Williams Aloe.” Then there are the more personal sets, such as the board that speaks to my collection of vintage umbrellas, aptly named “Gimme Shelter,” and the one named “Fashion,” about clothing that I’d love to own but will never be able to afford.

Then one day, I looked at my stats and saw I had built 63 boards. Not possible, I thought. Was I wasting my time? Was a reality check in order?

I reflected. I did some soul searching. In the end, though, I decided not to worry. After all, this is what I do for a living; it’s just a new way to aggregate inspirations, and keep track of anything new and notable. As I research fresh forecasts, Pinterest is a valuable tool. Besides, what else would I be doing as I watch yet another episode of House Hunters in my hotel room far from home?

Phase Four: Obsession
These days, I find myself deleting pins that no longer enhance my carefully curated boards. My searches take longer; now, only the worthiest images will do. I have invited friends and colleagues to follow me. I check my email as soon as I get home to see if I have any new repins or followers. I ponder names for new boards, and conduct new searches to curate more sets for my growing collection.

As I read back these last few lines, I realize it’s time to be honest: I'm Pinterest obsessed. But that’s OK. I’m continually amazed and inspired by the creativity of my fellow pinners. There is no end to what they can find to make me smile, laugh, pause, admire, like, comment and repin. Watching our numbers grow, it gives me hope that someday the creative class will take over the world. I believe, with every fiber of my being and every pin on my boards, that we’re at the start of something beautiful.

Check out my boards and follow some of my favorites: