I read a cool report in a magazine while I was standing in line for my coffee which discussed a recent consumer survey studying American spending habits since the Great Recession in 2008. It was particularly interesting to me, because–as a Millennial– I came of age during the recession and therefore have (according to most industry experts) a permanently altered spending strategy. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the article again on the internet, but I did find others which I will share below.)
Here’s what happened. The 2008 recession was so huge and long lasting that it created a new generation of spend-thrifts with almost the exact same values as we saw from those who lived during the Great Depression. (My husband’s grandparents lived through the Great Depression, and they behaved remarkably similar to the way we do.) We carefully research before we buy big ticket items. We save our windfalls or apply it to debt instead of taking expensive vacations. (Read more here and here) And–most important to this blogger–we’ve seen a rise in the DIY movement.
Pinterest was created during the upswing of this “return to self-sufficiency” mentality. (In 2011/2012 according to Wikipedia). Parents (mostly women in America) began to see their job as home-makers to encompass self-sufficient activities. Like cooking in instead of eating out (which is both cheaper and healthier); Remaking clothes out of thrift store finds; Planning stay-cations instead of expensive trips; and making gifts instead of buying them at Christmas and Birthdays. Pinterest became the ideal place to save recipes, sewing patterns, furniture fixes, life hacks, gardening tips, and more. It supported this drive toward “make it work” in a compelling, visual way.
Neo-Survivalism Finds an Audience
This return to self-sufficiency also triggered a renewed interest in “prepping”. This 2008 New York Times interview illustrates the image shift survivalists experienced during this time. They went from gun-happy weirdos in the mountains to normal, concerned citizens who no longer believed in the infallibility of governments and infrastructure. (And just look at how Hurricane Katrina went).
It turned out that Mom’s on Pinterest–focused on their family’s well being– responded eagerly to “prepping” activities. They melded family preparedness with DIY values and crafting skills into a powerful, synergistic model. Pins about Bug-out bags stand shoulder to shoulder with pins about canning, document organization and retention, pet first-aid, and educational kid’s activities, games, or puzzles.
Consider the paracord.
A good example of this kind of influential melding can be seen in paracord crafts. During war time, troops were taught how to use their parachute cords in a variety of life-saving ways like making tourniquet’s, shelters, snares, etc. Survivalists rediscovered (or at least re-disseminated) all kinds of military and back-country survival methods and began advocating taking paracord on hikes, in bug-out bags and emergency kits, etc. On Pinterest, it rapidly took on the facade of crafting as cool paracord macrame crafts became available: bracelets, key chains with hidden compartments, water bottle slings, shoelaces, and on and on. Survival techniques like this one become cool on Pinterest. Conversely, crafting becomes useful. Many people (myself included) are less willing to do crafting for the sake of the craft. We want everything we do to have both form and function.
A Motivated Audience
Pinterest is host to an audience of highly motivated, caring citizens. We want preparedness education. We love our families and want them to be safe. Emergency Management is in a prime position to be an influential voice on Pinterest because there’s already a culture of self-sufficiency and life hacking there. While Emergency Managers don’t often view their messages as “life hacks” maybe they should. Maybe it would get more attention.
Here’s a list of some of the best Preppers on Pinterest. I highly recommend a peek:
* My Supplemental Pinboard — small but growing.
* The Survival Mom –anything you would ever want from a book list, to craft projects, to frugal living, to fire arm safety/self-defense, to health, to fashion… I love her.
* Preparing for SHTF — Probably the most pins I’ve ever seen. High quality information. Ranges from the intense, military-grade prepping to the more casual “I want a useful garden” type prepping. Definitely worth a visit.
* Backdoor Survival — A few more homesteading basics and some mental health tips and quotes.
* Knowledge Weighs Nothing — it’s true. Very good source for at home medical remedies and survival uses for common household items.
* Prepared Christian — not as comprehensive, but a really good community.
And here’s a few good prepping blogs that you might like to Pin
* The Organic Prepper — Because safety can be healthy too.
* Off the Grid Survival — for the more advanced survivalist
* Survival Doctor — Hello, how useful is this? Get easy-to-understand, topical medical advice with DIY medical care tips.
Not enough? Here’s someone else’s list of 50 more.
What do you think about prepping? Is Pinterest a good place to educate the public? Do you know of a good site to share? Comment below.