Ann Romney Is a Genius at Pinterest

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Photo: null/Pinterest

Perhaps you've heard: Pinterest is the hot new social networking website for the ladiezzzz. (Men are not actually banned from use, though you might not have realized that from some of the coverage.) Anyway, shortly after a rather pointed Pinterest board aimed at her husband went viral, Ann Romney created a Pinterest account of her own — and there are precisely zero sharp edges to her boards.

As David Graham of the Atlantic points out, it's a canny move for a would-be First Lady, and she'll probably be joined on the social network by her rivals soon. Precise estimates of Pinterest's female usership vary, but they're as high as 80 percent; 97 percent of the site's Facebook fans — probably the most engaged users — are women. So it's a way of reaching out to female voters.

But perhaps crucially, what makes an appealing Pinterest board is awfully similar to what makes an appealing First Lady.  For one thing, it's all visuals (unlike, say, Twitter). For another, Pinterest is all about curating — selectively sharing intimate details that probably have very little to do with your actual personal life. So is stumping as a spouse.  And, just as she's proved formidable in the latter, Ann Romney's sparse Pinterest page is rather genius in its own way.

Her recipe pin board not only includes two pictures of dishes involving red, white, and blue fruit dishes, it is beautifully neutral: banana bread might be the most controversial inclusion, and when you're forcing someone to write about about the taste of a bland, smooth fruit combined with sweeteners and flour as "controversial," you've really achieved something. There's a whole separate page devoted to patriotic food and decorating ideas, although, if Ann Romney actually uses any of them in her own home(s), I will personally eat all 864 pages of Anna Karenina, one of two books in this great wide world of ours Romney deems "worth reading."

Under the "Stuff I Love" category, one thing and one thing only: A picture that tells the story of her involvement with the New England Chapter of the National MS Society. Not chocolate, not expensive clothing, not fancy vacations.  But lest you think she doesn't love her husband: The board labeled inspiration just has one picture as well, of her husband and two sons at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Worshipful, anodyne, and yet the whole thing exudes a certain kind of generic warmth — which, whether or not a campaign would actually express it in that way, is often what they're hoping for in a First Lady.