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I HATED Pinterest, but it can save your marriage

Ok, I admit it, I'm reaching a bit with that title, but let me explain.

So far this year I have had so many conversations with friends about the way we communicate with others. I've definitely posted about how important communication is & how keeping a joint google calendar or iCal has helped my wife & I a lot with weekly scheduling, but in a surprising way Pinterest has also helped me the past few years in communication with others.

For those that might not be familiar with Pinterest, the whole concept of what you do on the app or website is you search different topics like "kichens", "portrait photography", "Mexican food recipes", or even "man-caves" & Pinterest basically lays out for you, in a nice neat way, a bunch of options. The thing that makes it different from say, just a simple google search, Is you can "pin" these examples or ideas to a virtual cork board. From there you can create multiple boards & title them according to the subjects you were researching. If you were planning say a wedding, you could look back and see all your favorite ideas for options for wedding dresses, wedding cakes, types of wedding venues etc. And because it's so often used for things like weddings & kids birthday parties it developed this stigma that it was basically an app for women.

Because of its general reputation, & being a guy, I already had a sort of avoidance to the app, but even to this day what I hated/still don't like about Pinterest is I feel like it can take away all creativity. Being a creative person, I take joy in coming up with ideas. I can look at empty rooms and imagine how to decorate them, I can talk to one of my kids about what they want to do for their birthday party & come up with ideas with them, & I can look at a scenery & try to photograph it in a unique way. The problem I had with Pinterest was I felt people were using it as a creative crutch & as a platform to steal other people's ideas & claim them as their own. One main thing that I wasn't taking into account was the simple fact that everyone doesn't think the same way. And by viewing Pinterest in a negative light I didn't see all the potential ways I could use it, until a few years ago when I was teaching photography.

One of the first ways I began to use it was to help my photography students understand concepts of photo composition by showing them examples on Pinterest & having them create inspiration boards for types of photography concepts we were covering (note the importance of the name "INSPIRATION" boards, not "COPY CAT" boards). The way that this method most benefitted me as a teacher was in the fact that I could analyze my students inspiration board of other people's work & begin to give them advice of how & why a certain photograph was either nailing the concept or if it was way off. What this did was it helped me create an environment where I could critique this board of ideas & not directly critique the students' work, potentially knocking their confidence before they even truly understood the end goal. It also allowed me to walk them through the logistics of how to recreate the lighting, composition, or camera settings needed to achieve certain looks.

One of the best ways I have come to use Pinterest brings me back to the title of this post, it helps me communicate with my wife. As previously stated, I love coming up with ideas, but that's because my mind simply works that way. My wife, however, is such a step by step person when it comes to creative things, so just like baking, she needs a recipe to follow.

Since using Pinterest I have been able to better communicate to my wife my ideas of how I want to decorate our living room, the kid's rooms, show her things I want to build, examples of backyard spaces, meal plans and so much more. It's helped me with my photography students, & even so many aspects of film making. When developing a film you can create inspiration boards for costuming, set design, lighting, location scouting, or even other films you may be referencing.

So that's basically it. It's not a complicated concept when it comes down to it, but it's also not necessarily a new concept either. Pinterest allows you to organize presentations of ideas digitally through photos & links & gets rid of the need for the classic trifold poster board. I've personally found it as a valuable tool for communication & organization, but how do you use it or think you can use it in your own life? Are there any other similar apps that you use in a similar way?

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