Lori Brokaw-Stout has been “obsessed” with the photo-sharing, social media site Pinterest since she first launched an account a little more than two years ago. But she had no idea that Pinterest would be the place where her boyfriend Brian Stout would make his wedding proposal.
“My Pinterest obsession is kind of a running joke amongst friends,” Brokaw-Stout told Yahoo! News in a phone interview. “I check it on my phone when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, pretty much anywhere I have a moment of downtime.”
Of course, Pinterest is primarily used by women. So, Brokaw-Stout was surprised when her then-boyfriend Brian said he had created an account and suggested she follow him. She did so and was surprised to find that his first (and only) pin was an eight-foot long marriage proposal.
“It said, ‘Will you marry me? Re-pin if yes.’ It was a perfect way for him to propose to me and I did not see it coming,” she said.
The actual proposal was more elaborate. Brian had secretly recruited Lori’s friends and family to hold up signs, which read, “Say YES!” to a series of different topics related to the couple.
The couple married June 2 and Lori said everything has been going great for them although there has been an unexpected bit of fallout.
“It served him right because he’s now just as addicted as I am,” she said. “We’ll scroll through pins and read them to each other.”
Their marriage is ultimately another example of how social media sites are changing the ways individuals interact with each other online. Less than 10 years ago, it was still largely a social taboo to admit you met your partner via an online dating site. Whereas now, statistics suggest that around 40 million people in the U.S. alone use the Internet to search for potential mates.
Since it was first launched in 2010, Pinterest has grown to an average of more than 10 million daily users. In the 2012 presidential election, both Ann Romney and Michelle Obama created accounts to document the campaign. And while a 2012 study found that more than 80 percent of the site’s users are women, the number of men using Pinterest does seem to be growing.
For example, Richard Wong told Yahoo! News he used the site to help plan a first date with his girlfriend.
“I wanted to cook her dinner for one of our first dates,” he said. “I’m not a great chef myself.”
Wong says the pair then shared their meal ideas, which served as a catalyst to the relationship.
“She learned a lot about me from my page,” he said. “We have the comfort of knowing our tastes are similar.”
Wong, who works in marketing, says he’s also been using the site to come up with ideas for clothes for work and other subjects that can sometimes prove to be a mystery to men.
“I just tapped into a great market for guys,” he said. “Females are a bit more visually oriented than guys. But the site has helped me think about things that I wouldn’t ordinarily consider, like, how can you cater your outfits if you’re going to work then meeting up with friends afterward?”
And if things start to get too routine for Wong or Brokaw-Stout in their respective relationships, social media might have a solution for that as well.
“I call it my ‘romance board’,” Jessica Murfin told Yahoo! News. “My husband and I have been together since high school. So, we use it to come up with date ideas and add a new level of spontaneity to our relationship.”