February 21, 2012, 4:58 PM — I recently made the mistake of joining Pinterest, just to see what all the fuss is about. Boy was that a mistake. I have been being pelted with “so and so is now following you on Pinterest” messages ever since.
Pinterest, for the unaware, is essentially a kind of digital scrapbook for people who apparently did not spend enough time doing crafts in summer camp.
See an image of something you like on the InterWebs? You can use a handy little browser plugin to “pin” it to a thematically arranged Pinterest board and share it with your friends. (Which incidentally could very well violate somebody else’s copyright, which is why Pinterest just started offering rights holders ways to keep people from grabbing images.)
The Pinboards can be artsy, funny, commercial, even political. That’s all well and good. The problem is that Pinterest is just a wee bit too eager to make friends. When you sign up, it urges you to select from more than two dozen categories (like humor or technology). Pick one, and you’re automatically following 10 people who post boards in that category.
If you used Facebook to sign up, Pinterest also automatically follows your Facebook friends who also use Pinterest. They will of course follow you back in a Pavlovian fashion, resulting in a swarm of notification emails. I have received more than 100 such emails in the past 10 days, without doing anything more than I just described. I’m far from the only person who’s swimming in Pinterest spam lately.
(Also: if you’ve managed thus far to avoid Facebook Timeline, I’ve got bad news. You are required to use Timeline if you want to connect your Pinterest account. It installs itself into a prominent spot in your Timeline by default, though you can undo that later.)
Log in to Pinterest, if you dare, and you will also see a running list of everyone who followed, liked, or re-pinned one of your pins. Like you have time for this.