It’s odd that I’ve never signed on with the online emporium and virtual pinboard that is Pinterest.
Apparently, I’m fairly representative of the visual search engine’s main audience. Since its launch in 2010, the platform has attracted mainly women who are stimulated by beautiful images of the things they’re interested in, such as:
- home design and decor
- food, cooking, recipes
- wedding planning
And on and on it goes… For me, it’s beautiful colour, images, designs and hand-crafted things.
I’m staunchly Canadian, though, while most Pinterest participants (known as ‘pinners’, some 87 million of them and counting) are American, the majority living in the Midwest. The platform is rising in popularity, and reportedly quadrupled its ad sales in 2015. Smallbiztrends noted in its December 2016 report Social Media Marketing Statistics that Pinterest has high e-conversion rates — 73% of active pinners and 89% of daily pinners buy something they liked on Pinterest.
Reach is extending too, with a new focus on the United Kingdom this past year.
But here’s the thing. I have feared that Pinterest would spark addictive behaviours, either to compulsively buy other peoples’ creations – instead of spending that time on making my own – or pour even more hours of my life into online scanning. Sure, I’ve dipped in for an occasional look but always backed off when the sign-in wall rose.
This week, that hesitation softened and I finally DOVE IN! First I did my research, of course, to get a firm grasp on what I was signing up for. And I’m still planning to keep my privacy protected and do more looking than buying or commenting. That’s okay, some social media commentators say conversation and interaction isn’t the point on this platform. It’s not even called social media in some circles!
In an article published in Wired magazine last April, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann is quoted as saying the service is “about matching you with the right ideas.” That’s quite different from the operating model for most other mainstream social media: to connect people to people. The media watchdog www.commonsensemedia.org says Pinterest is suitable for persons age 14 and older and offers: “Inspiration in an endless stream of ideas, some iffy stuff.”
It’s also a key part of many corporate digital marketing strategies. Pinterest is now updating, working hard at expanding its international appeal, improving the visual interface and fixing tech issues like slow loading and poor presentation on mobile.
For my part, I’m hoping to find the fun in social media by immersing myself in eclectic, stimulating eye-candy of the arts and crafts variety. I think this course has helped me get here, setting a context through the readings and discussions and helping to allay fears with solid information and a just-do-it attitude. Guess I’d better beef up my self-discipline and get a dependable timer!
Any advice or comments from other Pinterest users?