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Pinterest: A Network of Simple Curation in the Digital Age
By: Jennifer Stack
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Pinterest, the virtual pinboard/social network, has hit critical mass — finally! Everyone I know these days is a “Pinner,” from distant high-school acquaintances to colleagues’ mothers. It is a unique experience to receive emails in the excess Facebook-quantity league from Pinterest detailing that old friend A and childhood neighbor B “started following all of your pinboards." Recent reports by Shareaholic display Pinterest’s recent hot-ticket status with numbers that indicate that the network, as a referrals source, trumps Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube collectively! The network is a strong with a community of nearly 5 million users and audiences represented by a total of 1,927,951 people per month and 16,429,625 visits per month as cited by quantcast.com.
Since its inception in December 2009, the invite-only network has curated visual images from fashion to food and from home decor to hairstyles, always focusing on the aesthetics of the pictures and videos. The content is vast and wide and spans all the sectors. The only common factor across the millions of new pins added every week is that they inspire. There are 32 categories to browse in the Everything section, from Architecture to Other. Pinterest has integrated Facebook and Twitter into its social sharing capabilities and allows users to find pins, boards, and people to follow from their Facebook friends list.
Pinterest is not formally in a partnership with Apple, but its preference is clear as the Pinterest mobile app is currently exclusively available to iPhone users only, and only desktop users with Safari browsers can easily pin images online via a “Pin It” button that can be installed on Safari. The Pinterest team offers both Apple and non-Apple users a “Follow" button for websites, similar to Facebook’s "Like” or Twitter’s “Follow” chicklets, in addition to a “Pin It” button for websites that acts the same as a Facebook “Share." CPG brands have yet to capitalize on the network’s audiences, but fashion and entertainment publications are setting the tone as early adopters. The majority of entities on Pinterest have been utilizing the network to distribute their own content rather then aggregating user-generated content.
E-Commerce is a potential evolution of the network as The Gifts section, structured by price limits from $1 to $500+, provides a potential functionality to the site that is currently limited to browsing and redirecting to online stores at this time. The future is bright for the predominantly female network (estimated at 70% vs. 30%), which maintains a positive and interactive microcosm that is ruled by “Pin Etiquette." The advertising opportunities are endless in the digital space. However, the formerly niche network, Pinterest, thus appears to be far more interested in cultivating the strong and supportive community and its creativity as evidenced by the complete lack of any formal advertising elements.

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About the Author
Jennifer Stack is a Social Media Strategist at a digital advertising agency. She was a 2011 Notable.ca YP Social Media Finalist. International Marketing Communication, MA. International Marketing Strategy, MSc. LinkedIn + Twitter.
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