Pinterest: Pinning up priceless moments
Chan, Yan Kay (Haley)
Pinterest & link
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/
Pinterest is a pinboard style social networking website that allows users to share their social photos to create and manage theme-based image collections. Users can browse through other pinboards to ‘re-pin’ images on their own pinboard or ‘like’ other users’ pins. Creeping up to Facebook with almost 11 million users (Morgan, 2012), Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting” (Pinterest, 2012). Founded in March 2010 by Ben Silbermann, Pinterest is basically a virtual visual bulletin board for the Web where images are grouped together on a user’s page, thus creating an inspirational board of ideas (Smith, 2012). Unsurprisingly popular among women, Pinterest’s most popular categories would include women apparel, food & drink and DIY & craft (Morris, 2012).
5 hyperlinks relating to Pinterest
1) The first link gives a basic set of instructions and vocabulary list for new Pinterest users. Smith runs through fundamental terms of Pinterest such as pin, re-pin, pinboard, etc. Smith also explains how users can sign up for Pinterest and follow other users (Smith, 2012). - http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-01-17/how-to-pinterest-mark-smith/52615856/1
2) The second link analyses Pinterest’s value in the newsroom. Gilbert explores the popularity and attention Pinterest has received and discusses how Pinterest has already gained reputation among journalists and news organisations (Gilbert, 2012). - http://mediaupdate.co.za/?IDStory=49487
3) The third link discusses how Pinterest can boost press results. Morgan gives step-by-step instructions on how users can utilise Pinterest to optimise viewership among various Pinterest users (Morgan, 2012). - http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/How_Pinterest_can_boost_your_press_release_results_12715.aspx
4) The fourth link discusses 4 ways on how Pinterest can contribute to education. Morrison explains how Pinterest can be used to create lesson plans, organise notes, help teachers to share their ideas and allow for student usage (Morrison, 2012). - http://www.pearsonschoolsystems.com/blog/?p=424
5) The final link points out some of the affordances and constraints of Pinterest and also provides a few links on what Pinterest is and how to use it (Sam, 2012). - http://samh-educ240blog.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/google-tool-pinterest.html
Pinterest users can upload and manage their images/pins and other various media content such as videos manually through collections known as pinboards (Warner Spencer, 2011).
Figure 1: Pinboards are themed (e.g. UQ Singapore Basketball Team) and pins can be easily organised and discovered by other users.
Pinterest serves as a personalised media platform for users whereby anyone’s uploaded pin can be browsed or searched on the main page (White, 2012). By using the “Repin” button, users can then save their favorite pins onto one of their own pinboards. Users can also “Like” a pin and alert other friends/followers of the existence of that pin.
Figure 2: User can “Repin” pins on their own pinboards or “Like” other users pins (top left corner)
Once a Pinterest user has set up their accounts and boards, they can search, like, comment and repin other users’ pins. In other words, they can repin another user’s image to their pinboard as well (Crook, 2012). A user can add an image online into a ‘pin’ by clicking the “Add+” button. The user can then select the desired image they wish to pin and place it in the desired pinboard. Users can also copy and paste the exact URL of the image into the link box.
Figure 3: Users can add a pin, upload a pin or create a board so that other users can browse their pins
Analysis 1: The tool in principle – Practitioner-focused source(s) and scholarly source(s) (Morris, 2012), (Duff, 2012), (Boyd, 2010)
The main professional task that Pinterest provides is for users to create personalised bulletin boards that organises photos by categories. These categories would include clothes, technologies, recipes and accessories (Morris, 2012). In her article, Boyd argues that the dynamics of social media websites does not necessarily dictate participants’ behavior, but rather configures the environment that shapes engagement between users (Boyd, 2010). Unlike more popular social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest’s “technological architecture is image-oriented and allows for limited text usage” (Duff, 2012). In addition, Pinterest users are unable to send direct messages to one another and this plays a significant role in the way users interact and communicate with one another.
Image 4: Limited text usage for users
Boyd also goes on to discuss how profiles, friends lists and tools for public communication are key features for social networking websites. According to Boyd, profiles are essential to any social networking websites such as Pinterest and can be seen as a way of “writing oneself into being in a digital environment” (2010). It could be argued that profiles are even more important for Pinterest, due to it’s image-oriented nature and structure (Morris, 2012). In addition, Boyd also argues that friends lists serve both a political and social function; where users present themselves to the public and at the same time, adjust one’s self-presentation and personal online behavior to “fit the intended norms of the intended public” (2010).
Image 5: How a typical Pinterest user’s profile page would look like
Affordances and Constraints
One of the technical affordances of Pinterest is that users can personalise and organise their pinboards and name them whatever they want, thus making the access of information easy (Sam, 2012). The fact that any user’s Pinterest profile page is like his/her own personal magazine that represents who he/she is, makes the website technically simple but clever at the same time (Morris, 2012). This design-preferred architecture of personalising pinboards is also a fantastic way of giving media and news outlets a visual to go with the story, thus making Pinterest’s technical affordance influential among journalists and news reporters (Morgan, 2012).
A purposive affordance of Pinterest is the amount of countless pins that other users have posted that any user can browse through, allowing multiple people to pin to the same board (Sam, 2012). This design-dependent feature allows any user to pin to the same pinboard so that the general Pinterest public can get a quick snapshot of whats popular at that moment, thus fostering creativity among users to personalise their own pinboards. Pinterest users can also collaborate with one another to share their own creative thoughts and any similar hobbies/interests (Sam, 2012). Both the technical and purposive affordances of Pinterest allows for the easy completion of the professional task of creating personalised bulletin boards for Pinterest users.
Image 6: Any user can pin to the same board (e.g. Weather)
The main technical constraint of Pinterest is that users can become easily distracted with the countless pins that are not useful/unrelated (Sam, 2012), thus delaying the process of finding their desired pin. Another technical constraint of Pinterest is the limited amount of text usage allocated for users to communicate and connect with one another. The site also does not allow for users to send direct text messages to one another (Duff, 2012).
A purposive constraint of Pinterest would be copyright infringements. A major problem concerning Pinterest users is that many images are being pinned by well-intentioned users, but without prior knowledge or permission of the owners of the image. This constraint serves as a ‘con’ for photographers who use Pinterest for marketing purposes but may find their image used elsewhere without permission. Another purposive constraint of Pinterest is that it is primarily targeted towards women. One study has shown that 97% of Facebook Pinterest fans are female (Stradtman, 2012). As Pinterest is not a “man’s thing”, it might be not be a good marketing tool for photographers or companies who are targeting a male audience.
Image 7: As a male, Pinterest may contain many unrelated images (e.g. lipstick color, pictures of unicorns, etc.)
Analysis 2: The Tool in use (News article that used Pinterest)
A recent news article written by Taylor Neff (2012) used Pinterest to keep track of autumn trends. The author utilised Pinterest’s professional task of organising personalised bulletin boards to follow images of autumn trends such as new household decorations and food recipes (e.g. apple-pie floats). Neff’s personalised “autumn” pinboard exercised Pinterest’s purposive affordance of allowing multiple users to pin on the same board, which allowed him to have a snapshot of what was popular. This in turn fostered creativity among the Pinterest public to share and collaborate similar autumn decoration ideas or food recipes. The pins of autumn trends give autumn products a strong visual appeal, and also provides links to the website of companies who are selling autumn-products.
The pros of using Pinterest to produce my story mainly lies in the visual appeal that Pinterest brings to users and readers. I’ve also utilised Pinterest’s technical affordance of providing hyperlinks to recipes and instructions on how to make the desserts. One of the main cons of Pinterest is that males are not going to enjoy reading articles and browsing pictures of desserts. I felt that using Pinterest’s strengths in visual appeal would attract female readers to my story to breed interest and creativity and therefore decided to write my story regarding the creation of creative summer desserts.
Evaluation: Recommendations and pro/con matrix
It is no accident that Pinterest has reached almost 11 million users (Morgan, 2012). This virtual personalised pinboard website of images has been rapidly growing because users can share images based around common interests and has subsequently taken the marketing world by storm (Stradtman, 2012). However, due to it’s image-oriented design, Pinterest is more popular among women who are interested about fashion or food recipes, compared to men, thus narrowing down Pinterest’s niche target audience. Pinterest might also violate various copyright laws where images might get re-pinned without prior permission of the original owner. Therefore, although Pinterest allows users to collect and arrange various images and videos, I would classify Pinterest under the “recommended with caution” category due to its lack of appeal towards men and its problems with copyright violations.
Summary Matrix Table
|Selecting a Topic||Pros||Cons||N/A|
|Media Research||Pinterest does not offer much text for media research due to it’s image-oriented architecture.|
|Newsworthiness||“A picture is worth a thousand words” definitely applies to Pinterest as news organisations can use images as a visual to go with the story.|
|Angle||Different images of the same event can represent certain events from different angles, thus adding newsworthiness to the story.|
|Defining Topic||Users can easily look up different pins or pinboards using the search bar. Users can also view popular images under the “popular” or “categories” sections.|
|Choosing Sources||Users can choose any image that suits their interest from various pinboards and re-pin them onto their own pinboard.|
|Facts and Figures||Pinterest does not offer many images of facts and figures as the images mostly appeal to emotions.|
|Interviews||There are not many images of interviews on Pinterest.|
|Anecdotes||Images of various newsworthy anecdotes can be easily looked up. Images of memes also contain anecdotes.|
|Documents, photographs, video and audio information/content||Probably Pinterest’s biggest strength due to the image-oriented nature of the website. Photographs, video and audio information can be easily found.|
|Checking Credibility||Pinterest has various copyright issues due to users re-pinning images and the original link to images can get lost along the way.|
|Selecting most important data||There are too many images to browse and filter through and researchers might find it difficult which image is the most legitimate.|
|Pyramid Structure||Pinterest does not present its images in a pyramid structure.|
|Flow/clarity||There isn’t a sense of clarity in Pinterest as images are scrambled all over the place and the website looks rather ‘messy’.|
|Designing Layout||It is easy to become distracted on Pinterest and it has many images that are not useful or uninteresting.|
|Audience Reach||With 11 million users, Pinterest has definitely reached its desired target audience.||However due to its image-oriented nature, it does not appeal to men.|
|Accessibility||Pinterest is easily accessible through various mediums, including mobile phones and various applications.|
|Criteria derived from Ricketson (2004) and Spencer (2006)|
References for Matrix Table
Ricketson, M. (2004). Writing Feature Stories: How to Research and Write Newspaper and Magazine Articles. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.
Spencer, L. M. (2006). News Writing: The Gathering, Handling and Writing of News Stories. Boston: D.C. Heath & Co.
References for Report
Boyd, D. (2010). Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics and Implications. In Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites (ed. Zizi Papacharissi) (pp. 39-58).
Crook, J. (2012). This Is Everything You Need To Know About Pinterest (Infographic). Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/14/this-is-everything-you-need-to-know-about-pinterest-infographic/
Duff, K. (2012). Some more insights from danah boyd. Retrieved from http://kristenexplores.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/some-more-insights-from-danah-boyd.html
Gilbert, D. (2012). Pinterest and its value in the newsroom. Retrieved from http://mediaupdate.co.za/?IDStory=49487
Morgan, C. (2012). How Pinterest can boost your press release results. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/How_Pinterest_can_boost_your_press_release_results_12715.aspx
Morris, C. (2012). Pinterest: Facebook for women? Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/02/13/pin-your-interests-online-with-pinterest/?intcmp=features
Morrison, A. (2011). Four ways to use Pinterest in Education. Retrieved from http://www.pearsonschoolsystems.com/blog/?p=424
Neff, T. (2012). Fall pins trending on Pinterest more than ever. Retrieved from http://www.iusbpreface.com/life/fall-pins-trending-on-pinterest-more-than-ever-1.2918071#.UHvG-47vbwx
Pinterest. (2012). What is Pinterest? Retrieved from http://pinterest.com/about/
Sam, H. (2012). Google Tool – “Pinterest”. Retrieved from http://samh-educ240blog.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/google-tool-pinterest.html
Smith, M.W. (2012). How to use Pinterest’s pinboard for the Web. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-01-17/how-to-pinterest-mark-smith/52615856/1
Stradtman, L.R. (2012). The Pros and Cons of Pinterest. Retrieved from http://www.motivequest.com/blog/index.php/the-pros-and-cons-of-pinterest/
Warner Spencer, M. (2011). Pinterest: These are a few of my favorite things. Retrieved from http://www.mysanantonio.com/life/article/Pinning-These-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-things-1882964.php
END OF REPORT
Part 2: Story produced using the tool
It’s Summertime! Pinterest: Your one way ticket to dessert paradise!
Summer is just around the corner and for all you foodies out there, that can only mean one thing! It’s time for new innovative summer desserts! Summer recipes are starting to become a real trend on Pinterest and here are a few must-haves over this hot Queensland summer based on the most popular pins!
One dessert that cannot be miss this summer is The Red, White and Blueberry Trifle. This heavenly mixed dessert is made from summer fresh blueberries, strawberries, white chocolate pudding, angle foods cake and cream. All you savory cream cake lovers out there, this is certainly one for you!
Another dessert I found that is a hit on Pinterest during the summer season is The Grilled Pineapple Sundae with Brown Sugar Lime Sauce. Ice-cream lovers will definitely fancy this – Grilled pineapple, ice-cream and a brown sugar caramel sauce with a hint of lime. With a staggering 133 repins on Pinterest to date, this dessert is definitely going to be a real hit among Queenslanders looking for an ice-cool dessert on a hot summer’s day.
If baking is not your thing, this next one is so easy, even the kids can try! Introducing the new and improved Choco-Banana Melt. A.K.A ‘The Upgraded Banana Split’, this gooey filled treat is the more sinful version of the classic banana split. Split open a banana, fill it with as much chocolate chips or marshmallows, wrap it in a foil and put it on the grill for less than 5 minutes. It’s THAT simple! Pack up a dozen and head to the beach with the family and it’ll be an instant hit among the kids! Pinned on the pinboard “Mmm… So good”, the Choco-Banana Melt seems to be rapidly gaining popularity among Pinterest users due its simplicity and savory taste.
Tired of all the sinful and fattening treats? The last recipe I will leave you with is The Summer Sangria with Rum. For all you alcohol lovers out there, this is certainly the best finale you could ask for. Sangria is basically a wine punch that originated from Spain and Portugal. Spike it with a hint of rum, sweeten it with a little dose of sugar syrup, and let all your favorite tropical fruits soak in all the loveliness. Refreshing as much as it is intoxicating, this summer special will leave you utterly breathless and relaxed at the same time. The Summer Sangria with Rum is definitely not one for the faint hearted!
Before writing this article, I was never good at baking or being innovative with dessert creations but believe it or not, I’ve been getting so many ideas for Summer from Pinterest. The website is incredibly useful and all the pins have links to various websites with recipes to the desserts. As I start to use Pinterest more to collaborate my ideas for Summer desserts, I urge all Pinterest users to keep sharing their pins on Pinterest. Don’t Forget To Pin it!
End of Story