Much Ado About Pinning

Pinterest, the visual bookmarking site, blew up this month. I’ve had an account for a while, but became an active user only recently. And I think that’s because I started thinking like a woman.

As NPR reports, anywhere from “58 percent to 97 percent of Pinterest users are female.” (Related: Interest Spikes in Pinterest, Notably From Women {npr/ap}.)

Some of my womany pinboards are Retail, Home Retail, Home Inspiration and Kitchen Inspiration. No, I’m not planning to buy a house. Yes, I do love to cook. But that’s besides the point, because as the writer for QVC’s “Home & Garden” and “Kitchen & Food” pages, I use my boards as a repository for good copy I find on the web.

In other words, I’m using Pinterest to help me shop. It’s that aimless process of exploring, discovering and purchasing—something that’s so foreign to me—and is (I can only assume) what makes the site more appealing to the female class.

Katie Newport thinks it is what we make it:

If users approach Pinterest with a Girls Only mentality, then that’s what it’ll be. But, if users approach Pinterest like they do Twitter – where it’s acceptable to follow people with interesting perspectives and/or similar interests, then Pinterest could be much more.

As the interest in Pinterest grows, I’m curious to see if more media/journalism organizations will give it a go. One of the firsts is Propublica, who just launched a Pinterest page. In a blog post announcing the move, they said they saw Pinterest as an

easy-to-use bookmarking tool, [and] a place to collect things you’d like to do in the future. That’s why we’ve arranged most of our boards according to medium, rather than topic.

And for the record, I’m not saying any of this is a bad thing. It just so happens that women are the early adopters on this one.

Why Google will never have a successful social network

The first reason is competitive. It hit me while reading a Nick Carr piece from back in July, when Google had recently lost its deal with Twitter to provide real-time information in Google’s search results.

Of course Twitter didn’t renew their deal with Google. Google Plus is now treading on their own territory; they pissed off the wrong company. (Again.)

The second reason is personal. Google has enough of my information, thankyouverymuch, and as their sweeping new privacy policy reveals, they aren’t going to give me control over my data that they’ve collected if I still want to use their services. In other words, I can opt out of their new rules; but I can’t have a YouTube or Gmail account. (Android users face an even simpler choice: agree to Google’s new terms or buy a new phone.)

Which brings me back to my original point. I like that emails to my family and Facebook Likes are kept separate. If these companies have no requirement to disclose what information they’re keeping and for how long, at least I can make their job (selling my info to advertisers) a tad bit harder by diversifying my social holdings (if you’ll accept my mixed metaphor). If that’s the deal we have to accept as users of a free service, we can at least make it harder for them to consolidate the various compartments of our lives. And that’s what’s creepy evil about Google’s new policy.