Deep Thoughts: Real vs Virtual Collecting

My mother has always been a collector of things in real life and has gone through a number of phases.  There was a house phase and everything in our house had houses on it, there were plates with pictures of houses, house magnets, house boarder paper and house miniatures all over the place.  Then there was a duck phase, it looked like pond threw up in our home and the ducks ran wild.  Now we are in the angel phase my dad once said “there are so many angels in our house if they ever came to life they could pick the thing up and fly away with it.”  Some collectors collect things for value but my mom collects things purely out of “like” and most things end up in the basement or at a garage sale someday.

My mom’s passion for collecting wasn’t passed on to me in the “real world” sense.  I personally can’t stand clutter and the having a bunch of random things around the house drives me nuts.  For a while I almost felt that people were imposing collecting on me.  For instance, I have a cat, so to some people that means – hmmm, Jodi has a cat so I must get her things with cats on it.  Over the years gifts to me have included random items with cats on it, I’ve received cat magnets, picture frames and t-shirts, socks ect….  Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful but part of me just wants to tell people – Dude, just because I have a cat does not mean I want stuff with cats on it.

While I sniff at “real world” collecting, I’ve found that I have become quite addicted to virtual collecting via Pinterest.  Some of my favorite pin boards include collections of nail polish designs, do it yourself ideas, recipes and art.  I could spend hours on the site browsing and pinning away without even realizing how much time has passed.  This has made me wonder what virtual collecting offers that actual collecting doesn’t.  I think the answer is that virtual collecting offers a potential experience instead of just stuff.  For instance, I could make that recipe someday or I could paint my nails like that.  While this explains some of the boards there are others that just offer pure enjoyment like the art board or cute animal pictures board.  I guess in the end, Pinterest offers the experience of collecting as much and whatever you like without running the risk of ending up with piles of unwanted junk or sinking your well-earned wages into an army of precious moment dolls.

What’s your favorite Pinterest Pinboard?

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4 thoughts on “Deep Thoughts: Real vs Virtual Collecting

  1. Although I don’t have a pinterest, I am a virtual hoarder when it comes to music. With Spotify and Pandora and about 300 other online streaming options, managing an extensive library (finding album art, tagging the right genres, etc.) seems stupid but I can’t stop. I think it’s something left over from the days of Napster I never really got away from.

  2. I’ve never considered this before, but can completely see what you’re saying. I’ve never been much of a collector either (I’m a reverse hoarder – I throw everything away) but I do like what Pinterest has to offer for exactly what you described. My two favorite “idea boards” are for vacations and DIY home remodeling projects – experiences I’d love to have. Admittedly, most of the things I browse to pin I probably won’t ever actually ever get to in real life (Can we say – although I love home remodeling, I have no raw talent for it?) But I think I use it for exactly what I assume people use collections for – I browse through the pictures and things just for the enjoyment of it. It’s a little escape and the chance to look at something pretty. Thanks for sharing this idea.

  3. So I have to admit that I am afraid of this Pinterest thing. I don’t know… like Facebook, I’ve seen so many of my friends get sucked into it and I wonder if it’s just becoming a list of things they’ll never do because they just keep adding to this virtual space instead of acting on their “interests”. You seem to touch on this a bit in your blog, and offer an interesting point about it being a safe place to collect without risks.

    Also, I wonder whether your mom ever collected Hummels? They are these strange European figurines placed in pastoral settings. They creep me out. My mom has hundreds of them. Apparently, I will inherit them!!

  4. I think it is an interesting observation you make here. The more I thought about this “virtual collecting” the more I see the relevance of this phenom to what we’re studying in class. The whole idea of content being irrelevant is the basis of the “virtual collection” isn’t it? You can have a collection without actually having a collection! Another idea wrapped up in this Pintrest practice is the satisfaction we get (by feeding “drive”) merely by repeating an action (eg. pinning things). The more things a person “pins” the more often this drive is fed., and the more often they crave the repetition…! Really, really though provoking and apropos, no?

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