What is Pinterest about anyway, and how does it compare to other social networking sites like Facebook? Pinterest is a new kind of “social networking” site where users can make a profile that automatically syncs with Facebook by using your profile picture which instantly allows you to follow your Facebook friends whom have a Pinterest. Then users can create boards with a theme of their interest, like “Recipes,” “Fashion,” or “Crafts.” After that comes the pinning, where users can find pictures and add them to their boards. Jen Palacios, a second year Civil Engineer say, “I like Pinterest because you can find different projects and recipes that you can try. I’ve actually made several recipes, like lemon poppy seed pancakes over Christmas break. It’s also really fun to dream about all of the things on Pinterest that you can’t have.” Moreover, with Facebook, many young people are disturbed to find that parents or older family members have an account, but with Pinterest, there doesn’t really seem to be an “age limit” or a specific age target.
My own mother has an account. She says Pinterest allows communication and further discoveries about friends that maybe other social networking sites do not permit: “I think it’s so neat because if you need to get someone a gift, you can look at what they pin and find it! Even guys can do that for their wives or girlfriends for presents.” My mom brings up an interesting point. Where do guys fit in on Pinterest?
Jen Palacios says, “I think the majority of things people pin is about weddings, crafts, cooking and things boys aren’t interested in. Once Pinterest got the stigma of being girly, guys avoided it.” Bobby Musselman (who only knows about Pinterest because Jen is his girlfriend) adds, “It’s just a girl’s version of StumbleUpon. There are other sites that you can find that are more suited to guys’ interests.” When Jen proceeded to show Bobby the areas of Pinterest like “Architecture,” “Cars & Motorcycles,” “Fitness,” “Humor,” “Sports,” and other typically “masculine” topics of pins, Bobby replied, “Now that I see they have sports, cars and motorcycles, and things like that, I may try it. I didn’t notice it because of the girly stigma. I wouldn’t brag about having one though.” Zach Hill, a student at V.M.I. added in, “Yeah, there are definitely other sites that are completely directed towards guys. At V.M.I., guys go to thechive.com. It’s basically a guy’s Pinterest.”
Pinterest may be more targeted towards women, but how does communication come into play? Jen Palacios says, “I personally think Pinterest is less about interactions with other people, and it is more for your own personal amusement. I do not communicate with other people on Pinterest except for stealing their pins. I don’t really think communicating with others is a focus on Pinterest. Facebook’s focus is to communicate with others, but with Pinterest it’s more about sharing ideas.” So what’s the point of having followers if you’re not going to communicate? “You do find out more about your friends, and you get to relate to them in different ways. You get more of a feeling of what their tastes and styles are. You know, things that they’re interested in that they wouldn’t necessarily share in casual conversation,” says Jen.