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Pinterest Isn't the Social Platform You Think It Is

by Stephen Jeske  |  
August 23, 2016
  |  2,840 views

Repeat after me: Pinterest is not a social media platform.

When was the last time you conversed with someone over Pinterest? Let me rephrase that. Have you ever had a conversation with someone on Pinterest?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the answer to that question is no.

Most people consider Pinterest to be a social network because you can share stuff, but that idea doesn't necessarily hold much water. Amazon allows you to make wish lists public, thereby in a sense sharing. Yet no one considers Amazon to be a social network.

Yes, you can add comments to a Pin. But in all honesty, threaded comments on a blog work better. Of course, we don't consider blogs as social media platforms.


I'll hand it to you that Pinterest does have certain social elements. After all, you can follow your favorite people and specific boards. But is that enough to call it social media?

If you consider Pinterest just a social platform, you're at a serious tactical disadvantage.

What is Pinterest really?


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Stephen Jeske handles Growth and Marketing at Viralwoot, a Pinterest tool used by over 70,000 marketers, bloggers, businesses, and agencies in 43 countries around the world.

LinkedIn: Stephen Jeske 

Twitter: @stephenjeske 

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  • by Alisa Meredith Tue Aug 23, 2016 via web

    YES! I've been saying this for over a year - and it really irritated some people at first. I was so happy to start seeing articles from Pinterest that backed us up - it is a search and discovery engine. If pinners want to make it work for their businesses, that is a distinction they MUST embrace. It's really the perfect blend of tech and creativity.

  • by TheRickTown Tue Aug 23, 2016 via web

    You’re just wrong.

    I know you're trying to sell Viralwoot, and to gain views for your advertisers, but your tone could use some work. Yes, your choice of a title drew me to begin reading your article. But utter disappointment at your patronizing language, disregard of the facts, and disrespect for your audience led me to spend the time on this response.
    Nevertheless, not one to point out a problem without a potential resolution, I recommend the following:

    1) Less advocacy for your own ideas, and more for those of your readers. They are the ones your advertisers are paying for, after all. Try not to piss them off.

    2) Just get on board with the idea that Pinterest is, indeed, social media. Since you apparently skipped the definition-of-social-media part of your research for this piece, I provided an excerpt of the Wikipedia version at the bottom of this response, (though you’re free to choose your own version; “To-ma-to, to mah-to”.)

    3) I recommend that instead of promoting an overly simplistic and transactional view of Pinterest users as mere points of purchase, that you embrace the fact that Pinterest uniquely enables the involvement with- and the sharing of- visually appealing and stimulating ideas and opinions among its members. That capability is its most valuable asset, not only to its participants, but also to it's revenue-oriented constituents. Given your personal objectives, it's remarkable that you minimized that.

    Pinterest members develop, collaborate, show, and SHARE their own BRANDS; they actively evaluate, communicate, and leverage the BRANDS of OTHERS; and they respond to, and are influenced by relational ideas and engagements, both with their subject matter and their networks. Think of how much more “Yes, and…” there is in that perspective than in categorizing the majority of users as ignorant, and then condescending to them as points on a line! It's so much richer, don't you think?! Without the ability to connect members socially, and artfully support their emotional and artistic interests Pinterest would be as effective at promoting products as a broom closet is at promoting chores. I'm sure your next article will be better.

    Now for the definition of Social Media: According to Wikipedia, “Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people, companies and other organizations to create, share, or exchange information, career interests,[1] ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.” The link can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media. I'd say all the characteristics of Pinterest are in there, wouldn't you? Of course you can find your own source; “To-ma-to”, “To-mah-to”.

  • by Alisa Meredith Tue Aug 23, 2016 via web

    I think perhaps the founders might be allowed the last word on what Pinterest is and is not - not to mention the fact that the average pinner uses Pinterest to collect for personal use much more than they use it to share. Here's what Pinterest's co-founder says: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jun/12/pinterest-ben-silbermann-soci...

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