The Pioneering of Pinterest

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Issue 6, Volume 113

By Amaryllis Sun 

Cover Image

Pinterest’s logo, the letter “P” enclosed in a bright red circle, stands out on the screen, demonstrating simplicity while also attracting attention. The same can be said for the platform itself, simple in purpose but drawing millions of users globally. Pinterest defies the common stereotype that social media platforms do more harm than good, as it sparks inspiration and originality in a way that others have not yet accomplished.

Pinterest is one of the top-earning social media apps, with its 2021 revenue equal to $2.578 billion. Over the past few years, Pinterest’s popularity has skyrocketed as the number of users increased 236 percent from 2016 to 2021. Since Pinterest advertises its site as a personalized app experience meant for the user to find creativity, its user demographic varies widely. Thirty-eight percent of Pinterest’s users are between 50 and 64 years old, and 32 percent are young adults, 18- to 29-year-olds. Pinterest is designed for the discovery of information on the Internet by allowing users to save or “pin” images.

Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are among the top five most popular social media platforms. All three serve as sites for users to post about their lives and connect with other users through messaging. However, social media has also gained a reputation for sparking self-consciousness in individuals, as people often compare their social media feeds to others’. This effect often reduces the creativity and connection of ideas that were once present. On the other hand, Pinterest allows users to post their own images in the form of pins and then save these pins to their own boards, promoting a bond in communities. Instead of individuals comparing their posts to others’, Pinterest creates a community where they build off of each others’ pins to spark their own creativity.

Pinterest has a variety of uses, from creating boards for recipe ideas to fashion mood boards. Viewing a diverse collection of pins on a feed encourages the user to engage in those activities, especially due to Pinterest’s usage of images that can be used as creative examples. Furthermore, Pinterest promotes inclusivity. When searching for “hairstyles” on the platform, categories to refine the search results appear, such as protective hairstyles and hairstyles for various hair types such as coily, wavy, and straight. Pinterest caters to everyone’s needs, which is why 98 percent of its users end up trying ideas they find on Pinterest, in contrast to the average across social media platforms, where only 71 percent of users try ideas they encounter. Furthermore, Pinterest works to uphold diversity in their company by diversifying their staff, asking about their employees’ encounters with racial prejudice, and ensuring that the media on their platform represents a variety of racial backgrounds. Pinterest Newsroom has a section that transparently addresses the company’s activism, a feature that other top platforms often lack. Pinterest’s inclusivity and diversity further attract its audience by supporting its purpose of a personalized user experience.

Pinterest can also serve an academic purpose, making it an especially helpful tool for students. Creating boards centered around a specific topic can be more effective than a regular study guide, as certain people prefer visual learning. Furthermore, Pinterest has a feature called “More Ideas,” which analyzes the content of a board and displays pins with similar topics, simplifying the process of creating an educational board. Pinterest also allows users to collaborate, enabling peers to effectively create boards together. Inspiration can be educational, which is why Pinterest is a unique tool that scholars can utilize to motivate their studying.

Though Pinterest has its advantages, it also contains flaws, just like every other platform. With Pinterest being a public platform, pins can be plagiarized for unwanted purposes, a consequence the original uploader has no control over. Furthermore, Pinterest has received criticism for how easy it is to take credit for other users’ work due to the ability to save a pin as an image without a watermark. Widespread plagiarism counters Pinterest’s pursuit of originality and harms creators. Pinterest must work to solve these problems by thorough communication with its users and developers, upholding the platform’s motive.

Pinterest is more complex than just pinning images to a board. The platform helps users discover their preferences and connect with others who share similar interests, creating communities within the app. Spending more time on Pinterest can prove to be beneficial, especially to students looking for motivation to study. As Pinterest gains popularity, it is important to see that there are more in-depth influences behind the aesthetically pleasing boards than just visual appeal, such as the bonding of strangers through wordless communication.