Social networking website, Pinterest is relatively new on the scene of websites that enable others to communicate and get to know one another; the new website has grown to a successful giant in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Founded in 2009, the website functions of the concept of “pinning” images to a collection boards which the user organizes him or herself. The images are usually linked to a website, acting as a sort of bookmark with a convenient visual aide; yielding a clever combination of scrap-booking meets bookmarking. Amidst the scores of outfit-planning, risqué pictures, cute animal photos, and memes, Pinterest holds the delightful underbelly set aside for creative types and introverts.
To those who do not use it, Pinterest has garnered the reputation of being a website consistent primarily of recipes and wistful internet window-shopping; however, the multifaceted community has a surprising number of layers. Pinterest is home to a vast number of advertising retailers; a population of users which the website has encouraged to grow, but beneath the layers of advertising, a warm community of creative individuals and introverts has begun to spring forth. Many users comment that Pinterest offers a more comprehensive way to get to know someone than one of its counterparts, Facebook. Pinterest offers compartmentalized sharing; a “pinner” can choose to follow all or just several of another “pinner’s” boards, effectively filtering any undesirable posts out of the user’s “pin feed.” Pinners can perform searches of their interests, yielding boards consistent of related subject matter and the discovery of like-minded people who created them. An overview of a pinner’s boards can quickly provide the viewer with much of the necessary information to discern an individual’s personality and interests before beginning any lines of communication, virtually eliminating the awkward, “getting to know you” phase of friendship.
In contrast, social networking titan, Facebook, has come under fire for limiting what users can see of their friends’ posts and using algorithms to determine what users will see in their own “news feeds.” A change to Facebook in 2011 determined that users would only see posts from friends whom they have recently interacted with, making it difficult for people to keep up with friends who they may have communicated with on a less frequent basis. Facebook’s policy changes elicits the questioning of their original mission statement and slogan, “Facebook: A Place for Friends.” Rather making the site seem more like a place for friends to forget about one another or become tired of the way others choose to post. The site readily offers methods to remove entire users from a person’s news feed, but little in terms of custom feed configuration.
Unlike some other photo sharing websites, such as Tumblr, Pinterest has a strict “no nudity” policy, deleting any boards seen to violate these terms, and even entire user accounts with multiple violations in an attempt to keep the site family friendly.
Pinterest’s hidden world for introverts and creative types appears to function heavily in a small subculture of folks who adhere to the theory of personality types presented by Carl Jung. Many of these individuals are able to form relationships with one another based on the categorization of their Myers-Briggs scores. For those unfamiliar with the term, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an assessment sometimes used for the purpose of job placement. The mother-daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers were avid fans of Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, and their shared interest in human behavior became an endeavor to make Jung’s theory of personality types relevant and understandable to the everyday Average-Joe.
The assessment is a questionnaire designed to determine the psychological preferences of an individual and how they effectively process the world around them. It functions on the premise of 16 distinct personality types, each defined by a specific criteria that the individual in question suits. This begins by determining if the individual is an Introvert or an Extravert, then what follows are the subcategories of Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Perceiving or Judging. The process ends with an overall categorization of something that sounds like, “ENTJ.”
There is no telling how many of these people had their MBTI officially administered by a licensed professional in order to determine their personality type, but a Pinterest search for “MBTI” or related terms will turn up a vast quantity of boards dedicated to the subject and the various defining traits of each personality type. These boards are often filled with memes of relatable subject matter consistent to each personality type. For example, a post commonly seen on “INTJ” boards reads, “INTJ: When listening to someone, I quickly jump ahead to their point while at the same time processing their motive for telling me, my adequate level of response, and planning whatever else I would rather be doing.”
Pinterest’s Do It Yourself (DIY) boards have also become a defining part of its appeal, providing savvy pinners with the know-how to upholster their own furniture, build a cheap air conditioner, and brew their own fermented beverages. Additionally, the website seems to be home to a large population of aspiring writers, using the artwork that has been posted all over the site to compile their own storyboards with captions used like notes. Educators are also often seen utilizing the site as a tool for building lesson plans, with Pinterest as a comprehensive resource for creative ways to encourage a student to get interested in learning.
With all of the possibilities Pinterest has to offer, it seems much more like a useful tool than a simple social network. The website recently hit an all time high number of 30 billion total pins and is recognized as one of the most addictive new social networks. Pinterest is much more than a giant online shopping network; it is a home workout website, recipe or creative craft source and introvert-friendly meeting-space.
By Faye Barton