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How Pinterest Will Transform the Web in 2012 (eladgil.com)
33 points by eladgil 2118 days ago | hide | past | web | 35 comments | favorite

I think we need to be careful about writing off Pinterest too quickly. Pinterest is probably the first social network to take off with "normal" people before it took off with alpha geeks. (e.g. over the holidays family/friends/parents were all talking about Pinterest. I'm not the only one: [1]).

This isn't merely about the long-form writing becoming dumbed down to button-pushing.

Once you get past the pictures of shirtless Ryan Gosling there is something really powerful: similar to how Google captured the link graph, Pinterest is capturing the interest graph [2].

[1] https://twitter.com/#!/josephflaherty/status/150961041751289...

[2] https://twitter.com/#!/josephflaherty/status/142235130872868...

Thanks for the citations ;)

I think people are getting way to focused on creating a broader theme around Pinterest's success from a technical implementation POV and not focusing on some of the bigger drivers. I see Pinterest being successful because of:

- Content: Foods, Crafts, Home, Babies: How many web services address these market as their primary focus? I'm only really up to speed on the craft industry and that alone is worth $30B a year. You'd have to combine the video game and music industries together to match that. Now think about how many companies are focusing on Music/Games vs. crafts and Pinterest's success isn't that crazy. They basically have a monopoly of...

- Women aged 15-55: I'm a heavy user, but from what I've seen ~98% of users are women. The site has a "feminine" aesthetic and a design first layout. Its a pleasure to browse on any screen.

- Fun: The collecting instinct is strong, the site makes it easy to collect, and I can build up a collection quickly. It is "Gamified" without any of the overplayed tropes of badges or leaderboards. It also is very "pretty" like a magazine.

It is useful (helps me collect recipes), Targeted (No boys allowed), fun (games/cool layout), and as johnnyn said "Real World Social". Users collect recipes and cook together, or talk about ideas while looking at an ipad together. It utilizes real social networks for distribution.

I may be wrong, but look at this list of "Social Curation" websites which behave very similarly to Pinterest and think about why they have not experienced the rocket ship growth:


I couldn't agree more. The moment I heard my wife, sister-in-law, and brother's girlfriend talking about Pinterest in separate "real life" conversations, I knew this site was something to pay attention to.

Wrote a post with my thoughts on this recently: http://www.entrepreneursunpluggd.com/blog/pinterest

I think Pinterest is a game changer because of the physical social interactions it creates outside of the site. My wife has been to multiple Pinterest "parties", where they pick a craft or recipe and make it together. If someone comes over and sees something she created from a Pinterest finding, a conversation starts and all of a sudden, Pinterest has a new user. This physical interaction to me is what makes Pinterest stand out.

That's a great point (and probably something Pinterest should devote effort to encouraging down the road).

Pinterest seems to connect a lot with "real people", not just the techies. Every mention I've heard of it from the former group is relating to some portion of their regular daily lives.

so basically, people are getting dumber and lazier. writing a thoughtful weblog post took too much time and effort, so twitter dumbed it down to 140 characters. that is apparently still too much effort, so pinterest wants to enable people to use "push button content generation" to just duplicate stuff they see ("generate content") onto a stream that others can see and duplicate themselves.

maybe they could make a browser plugin that lets users grunt at things to "generate content".

No. People are using a tool that helps them share and collect ideas to improve their lives, particularly people who aren't geeks. I've seen numerous examples of women enjoying content on Pinterest (content backed by blog posts, comments, curated collections, etc.) and using the ideas they see there to create new things... a hell of a lot of new things. I love it. I love seeing my wife enjoying herself while she creates something new and unique for our family.

When in history has creating long form content been a mainstream activity?

What a depressing vision of the future.

I tried four square for a few days before forgetting it existed. I ignore facebook feeds. A tweet occasionally get my attention because some aggregation site highlights it. StumbleUpon entertained me for a while. None of these sites contain original content.

I don't agree with Blogger being included in that group. Blogger, and blogs in general, focus on creating content rather than merely leeching someone else's creation.

I would like to see a breakdown of popular content. Strip out the one hit wonders and see just how many people truly and consistently contribute content.

You've posted a comment on a site that aggregates links to content. Pinterest is essentially the same thing. It's pictures, not so much text... but the pictures are augmented with user comments, curated into collections that people find useful, and generally the pictures are backed by more detailed content. My experience with users of Pinterest has been that they are frequently inspired to create new things from the ideas they find on Pinterest.

Curating sets is not creating content, it's organising content - just like re-tweeting, or link-sharing. That people think they've genuinely created something at the end of this process is kind of sad, though I bet it makes for some interesting data sets if you're doing a bit of mining.

Would you say that museums are not original content? Can the sum not be greater than the parts?

A museum isn't original content. That's not even a question. Museums are collections of content, not content, they may have metadata about their content, but that doesn't constitute it as original content.

I'm not too excited for this shift. Tumblr is terrible because it's just reblogging without any conversation or communication. Pinterest is just more of the same. I really dislike this kind of social media because it's really stepping away from socializing. Everyone I know on Tumblr just reblogs, it's like the FWD: from the past made into its own service and I'm not digging it.

For anyone who doesn't want to wait for an invite via email signup, the WSJ recently offered this code in a review of the service:


There are lots of posts on here disparaging content curation and ways of doing it that don't invite original content. I don't see the problem - Pinterest and other similar sites wouldn't exist without original content to be shared in the first place. The people that create original content aren't going anywhere, and I don't think it's imperative that every person or every site needs to contribute original content. Is it bad that the web is enabling new ways of organizing and sharing what's out there and helping people find it? If you are a content creator, wouldn't you like to see your work reach audiences on Pinterest and other similar sites, copyright concerns aside?

I think that most posts are complaining that what is being called "content creation" has been reduced to simply organising others' content, which isn't without value but is minimally "creative".

It may be minimally creative, but might be an essential ingredient for efficiently linking a person's interests with content related to those interests.

Some of these comments show a heavy bias towards creating consumable content over actually creating something new and physical. My experience with users of Pinterest is that they increase their actual output of creative physical things. I think that's good. If they don't blog about their experience creating a new Christmas card holder or batch of cookies that's fine by me (I liked eating the cookies).

Those cookies sound pretty consumable to me :)

This is a good insight, and I echo it. My wife loves Pinterest and she gets new cooking and decorating ideas from it all the time.

Interesting points. As curation becomes simpler/easier/faster and the tools to do so become more ubiquitous, it will increasingly become a defining feature of our web experience.

The graphic at the top of the article is interesting; it suggests a trend of creating real articles to just short one-liners to just linking to others. What comes after this? Perhaps this is a reaction to the growth in mobile where creating content is more tiresome in favour of just clicking share on someone else's picture or article. It's empowering to those who create - their content will be shared more and there will be more curating than producing.

I think TripAdvisor experimented with this back in the day. E.g. they changed the size of the text entry box and saw that: (a) smaller text boxes got them a larger number of lower quality reviews. (b) larger text entry boxes got them a smaller number of high quality reviews. Even the size of the text entry box changes user perception of how hard it is to contribute, and how much to actually write. So I am guessing there is still lots of interesting UI innovation in these areas...

No. It suggests that new services are being created to distribute existing information and to create new forms of information. Blogger still exists and as far as I know is doing just fine. Twitter, Tumbler, and Pinterest just provide a new way of organizing, creating, and accessing information.

What comes after this?


I have to admit that I thought this was something akin to Instagram until I looked closer. To be honest I felt a bit confused and overwhelmed looking at the 'most popular' page - I know these are boards and as such curated collections of content but they look random; I just can't see the theme of each board. Would it have killed them to put a title to tie them together?

Interesting. The Pinterest fans in my life spend all their Pinterest time on the front page it seems.

I really don't find Yelp as a place where people rant about their date before they go on to reviewing food. I find it to be indispensable when I am in new cities. Does it capture everything? No, but it doesn't have to. When I know nothing more in a city than the hotel I'm staying at, it makes finding a great meal easy.

An interesting, but technology-focused perspective. Another, glaringly obvious, difference is that Pinterest and Fab both appeal to a neglected market with a neglected content, namely, women and their "interests" (obvious stereotypes here, but the point still stands). Etsy has been killing it for the same reason.

The "dumbing down" argument almost seems to assume that a web of curated/unoriginal content can not coexist with a web of content creators.

Creating new ways to interact with content on the web doesn't seem to me to be a bad thing, especially when it's usable enough for anyone to participate.

Creating and leeching are not mutually exclusive.

I simply dislike the idea that I join a new social network based on my activities on older social networks. This strategy is like a ponzi scheme.

They sent me an invite and I refused to give them my Facebook/Twitter credentials.

This is the direction ecommerce sites need to go down. Think of how much more fun pinterest is to browse compared to something like zappos.

Fab.com is one site that is already heading down this route. I think this will be part of the evolution of the socially-curated web in 2012...

Meh. I've noticed most regular people don't give a shit about the internet and it's time-wasting ability. Yes, they enjoy google for finding things, facebook for catching up with friends and the odd app (tv guide), and maybe some shopping on ebay and amazon too, but other than that, and outside of tech hub cities, few are spending their spare hours on sites like these.

It's why I stopped creating them, and went into product. Much more "spiritually" fulfilling too.

love this! go Elad! go Pinterest! :-)

interesting article

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