Why Pinterest is Addictive – A Contrarian View

Why Pinterest is Addictive

The Psychology of Pinterest Addiction

There was a recent infographic about why Pinterest is so popular – access it here (Why is Pinterest So Addictive? by Flowtown/Column Five). It’s a good infographic that has a lot of great points, but I think it focuses too much on the tool (Pinterest) and misses some of the underlying psychological reasons as to why Pinterest is so hot.

Here is my contrarian view of why people love Pinterest. I’m not a psychologist so this is not professional advice or guidance! Let me know what you think in the comments. Are you addicted to Pinterest?

1) We’re Digital Pack Rats

Do you love to collect things? Do you have piles of eBooks stashed away in folders? Do you like to grab all your favorite things and collect them in folders in our computer, bookmark folders, social bookmarking folders or on Pinterest boards? Yes, most of us like to collect and to store them in our little burrows. We’re digital pack rats.

2) We’re Obsessive-Compulsive

I suspect that each one of us has some obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Of course some people have major obsessive-compulsive tendencies and others might just have a bit. Pinterest is great for people who like to collect, organize and perfect their collection of boards.

3) We Have Addictive Tendencies

Similar to the above, I think that many of us have addictive tendencies. Whether is donuts, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, sex, email, Facebook or….Pinterest. Perhaps Pinterest becomes a replacement addiction for something worse. Maybe that’s a good thing!

4) We Love Eye Candy

It’s clear that people love visuals. Especially striking, strange, funny or fantastic visuals.

5) We Love “Point and Click”

Pinterest is very, very easy to use.  Once you get an invite and sign up, you can start adding boards and repinning immediately. According to one infographic I saw (see my Pinterest Articles Board for data), about 80% of the sharing on Pinterest is “re-pins”. So most people are re-pinning, not adding new content.

But even adding new content is easy. Just add the Pinterest “Pin It” button (get it here) to your browser and just browse the web and collect images or video and add to your collection!

6) We Love Being Seen As The Best Pack Rat

Just kidding. Many of us enjoying being seen as the best source of great content! A prolific content curator. Gaining followers, getting re-pins and supportive comments stimulates the “feel good” parts of our brains (maybe someone could fill in the actual technical term).

7) We Love Easy Discovery

If we had our ‘druthers’ we’d rather have good content float by right in front of our noses than to have to go and seek it out. Pinterest presents all the new content right before your eyes. What could be easier?

8) We Love Low Obligation Activities

Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Google+, Pinterest has very low expectations for things like adding comments, liking, giving credit (for good of for bad) or for following back. Pinterest doesn’t feel like a chore with a lot of social pressures (or am I wrong about this?).

That’s my take but I’m sure there’s more. I’d love your take on why Pinterest is so addictive in the comments!

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  1. I guess I’d rather be a pack rat online than in my studio apartment. And better to shop the food visuals than actually eat that decadent cupcake myself.

  2. Tom,

    Overwhelming I feel the visual nature of Pinterest is what has set it apart. Google+ is very nice for non-text media but Pinterest allows you to group and collect.

    It’s also so much easier to allow Pictures to define us than our own words…


    Ryan H.

  3. Peter Sandeen from Marketing Ideas

    Hi Tom,

    Good pointers (as usually ;) )

    It seems I’m a freak: I’m very inactive in all social medias. I wouldn’t use them at all if it wasn’t a part of my job :D (I’ll get more active in a couple of weeks, now I’m still too busy with building my new website…)

    So, for me your last point about low obligation is the most important. I don’t want to use a service that will require a lot of attention, to use it “appropriately”, as is the case with the other major social medias…
    Peter Sandeen recently posted..Potatoes – The Great Time Management TeachersMy Profile

  4. Thanks for the fun post Tom. #2, #4, & #7 has me written all over it! I like the fact that you can easily organize & categorize things on Pinterest, you can easily find things through the tags & search, & visuals are a must for me. I like all things pretty!

    Another reason I think Pinterest is so appealing to people is that it’s the new, upcoming thing & everyone is there. We like to be in the “in crowd” & be were everyone is at.

    Again, great post! I definitely enjoyed it & I’m off to share!
    Meagan recently posted..Creative Business Blog Carnival – MarchMy Profile

  5. Rocked it, Tom.

    I agree the reason people love Pinterest is much deeper than the tools details. I agree about your psychological points, and if you wanna get even more meta…

    Like attracts like. Beauty attracts beauty. Beauty-lovers attract beauty lovers. ;)
    Jason Fonceca recently posted..Ryze’s Best Of Success – March 2012My Profile

  6. Thank you for sharing this so called great post and I want to tell you that you made me to register with pinterest. Thanx again.

  7. Great post. I love you blog :)

  8. Emily Woodhouse says:

    Then there’s the issue of social media fatigue. Is Pinterest just different enough from other social networks that it frees us from incessant updates and checkins? Or has it just replaced one addiction with another — a sort of social media gateway drug?