The ‘addictive yearning’ of curation sites

Carina Chocano takes a fascinating look at the neurological component of curation sites in Pinterest, Tumblr and the Trouble With ‘Curation’. It includes my new favorite German word:

If a rat is rewarded for choosing a rectangle over a square, it will learn to respond to “rectangularity” and start to favor rectangles in general. So maybe we are like the rats, and what w’re seeking while idly yet compulsively cruising Pinterest is really just the reliably unpredictable jumble of emotions that their wistful, quirky juxtapositions evoke. Maybe that is our rectangularity.

Ther’s a German word for it, of course: Sehnsucht, which translates as “addictive yearning.” This is, I think, what these sites evoke: the feeling of being addicted to longing for something; specifically being addicted to the feeling that something is missing or incomplete. The point is not the thing that is being longed for, but the feeling of longing for the thing. And that feeling is necessarily ambivalent, combining both positive and negative emotions.

(link via @iamFinch)