Pinterest is What YOU Want it to Be

Pinterest is the latest social network to be getting a lot of buzz and rightfully so because it is super easy to figure out, has a simple and effective UI and creates addictive behavior in it’s users. Plus, I think it has some interesting ways brands could use it to find people passionate about their products and once they open up their API some very cool possibilities begin to happen.

I’ve picked on Pinterest for a while now because it didn’t provide anything to me. I didn’t need it because the clipping mentality that they thrive on is something I’ve done in Evernote since I first started using it. I’m constantly clipping images, posts and other things that catch my attention into notebooks within Evernote. I go to them often for inspiration or when I’m preparing to give speeches.

This morning I read Chris Brogan’s thoughts on Gentlemint, which is a Pinterest clone targeting guys and while I agree that niche focused networks are a powerful and useful idea, I’m not sold on the need for one here. Not everything has to be separated in to one bucket for boys and a different bucket for girls.

Every social network is what you want to make it out to be. We choose who we follow, what sort of information we are interested in and how we want to use it.

There is no arguement that the majority of Pinterest users are women. Take one look at it and that becomes quickly obvious.

But, I love that Pinterest allows you the user to choose if you want to follow everything someone pins or just what they pin to certain boards. I’ve found myself going into every woman’s account that I follow and unfollowing any boards that might have to do with fashion, jewelery or anything else I’m not interested in. This goes for guys as well because as humans we are all interested in different things. This site is only useful to me, if I tweak it to the point that I find value in it.

I also am only following people that I’m actually interested in what they are sharing. This isn’t about friendships as much as it is about being a good gatekeeper or not. Me? I’m sharing everything from recipes I want to try, my wanderlust, the never ending quest for office zen and other random bits of awesome I might find throughout my day.

I’ve discovered that I like scanning who I’m following on Pinterest a couple of times a day just to see if anything interesting pops up. Everyone is using it differently so I’m currently still curious to see what people share. When I see something that is totally not of interest to me, I go in and edit what I follow from that person. After all I have zero interest in mason jars, dresses or makeup so why follow those? I’m in control.

I’m using Pinterest as an example, but every social network works in the same way. YOU choose who and what to follow. If you are not getting what you want out of it, stop using it or start using it differently. I’m pretty sure Skynet isn’t here yet, so we are still in control.

  • 100% agree with your post. Designing a new social network around one piece of content alone, with no added value, is a waste of time in my opinion. It’s like if someone said “Hey, Facebook has too many college students. Let’s make a clone of Facebook, except without college mentions.”

    I had similar complaints Brogan did when I first got on Pinterest. However, I had a co-worker who challenged me that if I didn’t like Pinterest, I had power to change what I saw. From there, we created “Board of Man,” which got a huge follower of men. It’s been fun to watch. From there, I’ve learned how to use Pinterest to curate my own interests and find TONS of value in the site. 

  • Christopher Sharpe

    It took me awhile to GET Pinterest. In fact, I’m still not sure I totally get it, but I’ve spent some time goofing around on it. I agree with you that there’s no need for a boy version. Once more people start using Pinterest, I think it will have less of a “women only” vibe. 

    The BIG surprise for me is the amount of high-quality traffic it’s now sending to one of my sites. I just noticed yesterday that it sends more traffic that Google+ and almost as much as Facebook. I’m still kind of blown away by this. 

  • Exactly. I’m experimenting over on Pinterest with video.

  • Pinterest is a great source of creative ideas, and the ability to filter external channels (as C.C. mentioned) and organize your own is what makes it so powerful. Seeing some of the ideas on the site has already inspired me to try my own hand at problem solving/project making, so it’s a site I will certainly be frequenting in the future.

  • Sold! I am going to start using Pinterest thanks to this blog and to 12 most. I totally agree though about each medium being what you make it and those who moan are usually only seeing one side of a coin. 

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  • I love Pinterest (and mason jars, coincidentally…).  Just read this blog post about Pinterest and injecting referral IDs into products posted from ecommerce sites that have affiliate programs.  Haven’t verified yet, but interesting story.

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