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Reflections on the Rise of Pinterest

Just what is it about Pinterest that is capturing so much attention right now? I’ve read a lot about how dealerships need to embrace this new paradigm of social sharing, but not much discussion about the conditions that make Pinterest possible. Here are a few thoughts for consideration...


Okay Pinterest, why photography? That’s like, so last century. It’s been said that Pinterest has boiled down the essence of what makes Facebook so engaging and removed the impulse toward nasty comments and drama, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Take a look at the pictures you seem to see the most of, those idealized representations of our most basic desires for food, shelter, and companionship. With video, the viewer has to move at the speed of the narrative, whereas with Pinterest, the Pinner is free to move as quickly or as slowly through the pins as she pleases.The most popular pins generally tend to have ample "room" for the Pinner to project herself into (a room, a building, a garden), or frame only one item (a cake, a necklace, a pan of enchiladas).  Thus, a Pin Board takes the form of an ongoing choose-your-own-adventure comic strip drawn in rustic pastels that promises greater self-awareness in exchange for the revelation of impulse.


I love Jon Crowley’s comment on Quora about how Pinterest is “successful because it feels like you’re being creative, without the related effort,” but with this dismissal, we shouldn’t dismiss the fact that there isart in selection. Because of the inundation of choices that mass production has thrust upon the average Joe (and Jane), the wall between creating art and expressing aesthetic preference has been torn down, and the pop culture cannibals (from Andy Warhol to Lady Gaga) are in command. A movie star must choose the right dress for the Oscars, a DJ must choose the right track to rock the party, and to be like them, we have to choose well, too. The world of Pinterest never considers necessity, only choice.


Pinterest is it right now because there we can reconcile our personal love of stuff with our public mistrust of all things “corporate.” While advertising is trying ever harder to make us fight, (Mac vs. PC, Dr. Pepper 10 is not for women, Marmite Lovers & Haters, and on and on), Pinterest’s landscape of abundance and ingenuity is serene. We want to consume and to look good doing it, but we need assurance that what we’ve found is what we want, not what someone else wants for us. Here, pinning delivers.

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Comment by Ketty Colom on July 31, 2012 at 9:42am

Not only that, but these pictures you see on Pinterest are open for interpretation and meaning. 

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