How social is Pinterest?

I don’t really consider Pinterest to be a very social platform. I know that you can see what your friends like on a daily basis, have other people like posts you’ve liked, and sometimes they can message you privately, too. But with the multitude of other platforms for messaging and sharing, I almost view Pinterest as my online alone time.

Once upon a long time ago, you could follow links to things on Google that did not plop you in to some Pinterest board which then would link you to somebody’s blog. Now, however, I dare you to Google “space cupcakes” and see how many of them are directly linked with Pinterest.

Plus what’s the point of sharing every decorating, yoga inspired, food craving curiosity you have, anyways? I began to take screen shots of things instead of liking them, but Pinterest didn’t like that very much so they added a feature that created a new board for screen shots. Now, I screen shot from the main page only, where I’ll have to remember what item I was looking at cateloging for a party idea instead of pinning it.

Do people really interact much on Pinterest? Are there Pinterest “stars” or some other reward system that gives users incentive to be interacted with in high volume? I still don’t know those answers and haven’t looked in to them because like I’ve said, I want Pinterest to be my “leave me alone” online time. I don’t care if my friends like some camping chair, it doesn’t influence our friendship, and no I do not want that chair, too. I won’t decorate my house like yours, or make that awesome teddy bear quilt that you want to make, I don’t know how to sew, but I sure can knit! I also don’t want to see that someone I never talk to liked 16 things and added them to her furniture boards…if I could turn those features off, I would.

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5 thoughts on “How social is Pinterest?

  1. I think you bring up an interesting perspective, that I have definitely felt from time to time! It’s true I don’t use my Pinterest like I use other social media platforms, it’s totally unique in its purpose to me. I actually only have about 3-4 people I know in real life as part of the boards I follow, but overall, it’s very disconnected from my daily life (the way I like it sometimes). What I do find social about it though, is not that I see what other people pin (since I tend to cater my suggested pins very specifically to what I like anyways), but rather I can send specific pins to people. I send DIY beauty treatments to my best friend so we can do them on a Friday night. I send complicated recipes to my chef sister so she can make them for me. It’s things like that which do make Pinterest very social, in that it facilitates a sharing of interests and projects with people in my life (I end up spending face-to-face social time with friends and family over this!)

    So I think you’re right, Pinterest is by far a more “alone time” social media site than others like Facebook or Instagram, but I also think it still serves a social purpose! Thanks for the post!

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    1. I also agree with Jaclyn’s point of the potential for Pinterest to still have a social aspect although it is not as explicit as other social media platforms. Though I am not on Pinterest, I can only imagine that the usage of Pinterest seems to be primary collecting photographs and images and secondarily sharing or socializing with others on the platform. This in a way goes into the ‘Future Research’ section of Russell Belk’s chapter on, Extended Self in a Digital World. In this section, Belk describes how the digital world has allowed for an extension of self into online collections that people have. It is not the individual pictures that people feel attached to anymore, but the collection as a whole as a formation of the self. Pinterest is a unique platform in a way as it seems to have one’s ‘profile’ page page as the collection itself instead of a picture of the person collecting the things. I see it as another form of self extension, and it may be that you do not necessarily want to extend yourself in the way that Pinterest allows others to and you simply have other interests or self extensions.

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  2. I think if you’re looking for a platform that is not centered around the sharing of user-created content, pinterest is not what you’re looking for. The entire concept of it is to share your ideas so that others might take after you and do the same, or be inspired to post their own. From the google play store’s description:

    “Discover recipes, style inspiration, projects for your home and other ideas to try.”

    “Collaborate with friends—save ideas together for your next group trip, party or project. ”

    I also don’t think pinterest needs any ‘incentive’ to post content- the incentive of the site *is* to post content. Much like a blog, the appeal of pinterest is so that one might share their ideas with others, and have others copy it or be inspired by it. The social aspect of pinterest is in the medium itself, not in what users communicate through it. The very fact that you have shared something on the site speaks more for itself than any text or message you could put with it.

    If you’re looking for a platform that is solitary, I would either suggest creating a new pinterest account with no connections so that you might browse freely, or shift to other platforms that have a heavier emphasis on observation and less on participation.

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