Recently I was asked about my thoughts on the Pinterest hype. Yes, I know I’ve had A LOT to say on the subject, and quite frankly I might be ready to take a break from the soapbox…well, at least for the weekend.
This burgeoning concept of content curation versus creation has been bubbling under the surface for a few years now with sites like Tumblr, and the growing ease of social sharing buttons. I think Pinterest hit that perfect pitch, so often difficult to achieve: Right place, right time. As sharing started to become synonymous with search, and consumers were finding it easier than ever to make online discoveries with the power of shared content, Pinterest was there with a novelty. Prior to Pinterest’s huge beta splash, the most commonly shared content mediums were articles and videos. Enter a platform that provides easy sharing of a different medium, images, which are the most digestible form of content available. Compounded with a user friendly and well-designed interface, Pinterest was a no-brainer win.
Personally, I think part of the Pinterest explosion comes from a very basic human feeling, ego inflation. I’m no exception. The minute I started pinning my inbox was flooded with notifications of people (some of whom I didn’t know!) who had started following my boards, liked my pins, or the ultimate social compliment, repined my posts. In seconds I melted into my very own Sally Field, “You like me. You really like me!” moment. This didn’t stop with my initiation into the pinning club; the notifications became so great I had to limit the frequency at which I was receiving them. There is something incredibly satisfying and flattering about a stranger publicly enjoying something you created. Like Twitter, Pinterest indulges our selfish human desire to be recognized with just the click of a button. Everyone just wants to be famous, and social media platforms like Pinterest are getting everyday Joes that much closer.
As for brands jumping on the bandwagon, I’d take a minute to survey the land. I agree that claiming your Pinterest domain to avoid brand squatting is recommended. However, I would strongly suggest refraining from creating boards right away just to have content. If you haven’t noticed, social media is increasingly becoming a legit form of advertising. You wouldn’t go into any other traditional channel without a plan, and Pinterest should be treated no differently. Creating a Pinterest board graveyard left unattended could actually negatively impact your brand’s social presence, and a poorly planned strategy could lead to early brand dismissal by platform users. Take the time to create and properly manage a well laid out Pinterest plan that effectively integrates your other social properties for long term success. Or, be honest with yourself and recognize that a Pinterest presence wouldn’t be effective, and focus your resources on more appropriate and successful platforms.
Whether Pinterest is a flash in the pan, one hit wonder, fad, etc., only time will tell. However, the ground breaking statistics surrounding this new platform don’t indicate it going down without a fight. I doubt Pinterest will become the pogs of the social world.
For more opinions about this social media craze, check out this article by Dave Copeland on Read Write Web, The Curation- Over Creation Trend That Fueled Pinterest’s Rapid Growth, featuring a quote from The Search Agency.