Pinterest Outpacing LinkedIn - Is Social Media Going Exclusively Visual?

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Shaun Hinklein Creative Director, Social Marvels

Posted on April 9th 2012

Pinterest Outpacing LinkedIn - Is Social Media Going Exclusively Visual?

The war of visuals over actual networking is always running wild ravaging social media, but for those who enjoy engaging with visuals and sharing content rather than networking with each other, you’re not alone. In fact the open-networkers are joining you as Pinterest members have just surpassed LinkedIn members. There are more Pinterest pins out there than LinkedIn Groups. Pinterest is not even five years old. LinkedIn is a publicly traded company. What the hell is going on?Pinterest Is Beating More Members Than LinkedIn

 

There are plenty of arguments for such a dramatic shift, but I’m going to go with shiny-new-toy syndrome. I doubt that it has anything to do with how revolutionary Pinterest has become or how unique it is to the other networks. Tumblr offers more on its blog platform than Pinterest does with its use of boards,  but the ease of Pinterest can’t be argued. The fact that everyone can share anything with a simple click (and not even source their own content) is immeasurable. Does this mean we’re dumbing down social networking and making room for just an exponential content war? Where is the conversation going? Clearly, it’s going away from LinkedIn.

We’re curious to see how LinkedIn will respond to this data and if we’ll see anything from Pinterest in the near future. As Facebook has shown us with their Facebook Homepage Ads and their consistent changes to their interface, nothing is sacred, and Pinterest will most likely be chewed up and spit out adding new features and taking away old ones. Though visuals will remain a priority who knows where the loyal Pinterest members will be when their network is in disarray. Here’s hoping LinkedIn can step up to the plate and regain their momentum.

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Shaun Hinklein

Creative Director, Social Marvels

Shaun is a Social SEO in New York. He works with technology companies and agencies within social media and SEO to optimize their digital properties and create great content.

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Comments

LinkedIn has around 150 million members.  The latest stat I have on Pinterest, which come from this Techcrunch article (http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/11/pinterest-stats/), has Pinterest users at 10 million members.

Obviously Pinterest has been getting more users in the last two months, but I find it hard to believe that they would grow at that rate.  With that in mind, where do you get the data to claim "Pinterest members have just surpassed LinkedIn members?" Would love to see a link. Thanks.

Here's my assessment- whom does a networking site benefit? - Direct users, Indirect Users (Advertisers, Companies, Analytic Firms, recruiters etc.) & the entity that owns the site.

Does Pinterest offer TANGIBLE benefits to all 3? I guess not as much for Direct Users as much for the others. The only tangible benefit i sense is getting ideas from some boards leading to purchases- albiet negligible in the absolute sense.

What users get primarily is the intangible benefit in the form of an 'experience' as a result of excuting a simple click that is equivalent of sharing. This benefit out of experience wil, i believe, see a bell curve, if we were to chart it per user basis. Meaning Pinterest will have to keep adding new users who follow the same bell curve to ensure that the overall  'user experience graph' is almost near to the point of inflection and remains there. A depiction of this trend is the user base of ~10m with recent relative surges in new users and the highly skewed gender demographic.

 

Does Linkedin offer tangibles to all 3? I believe it does this better than PI. Though again benefits more to the other 2 categories than the direct user. 

Pinterest is an easy social media site for anyone to master and use with ease. I don't place it in the same category as LinkedIn as a professional network to share and discuss topical, professional and business issues so the comparative statistical data, to me, is irrelevant.

I see and follow many pinners who do not use other social media platforms yet it gives them an opportunity to share in fun and interesting visuals and be part of the social media family. Yes, it may be the shiny new platform, but for many it is like having a plethora of magazines at your fingertips to flip through without the stress of keeping up with Twitter, Google+ or Facebook or developing new content for a blog or post.

I always seem to go online before bed as it is relaxing after a day of managing the other social media platforms. One can check in anytime to participate or check out without the burden of worry of what one may have missed. It certainly can and is a fantastic marketing platform tool for brands and therefore subject of analytics and ROI measurement.  

I would like to see the breakdown data on the membership as I believe there is a major segment that simply enjoy the beautiful pictures from around the world...no strings attached. Thank you.

The whole pretence of this article is skewed. Pinterest and linked in are not, to me, competitors. And the statistics are based on the wrong metrics. Linked in groups only accounts for a relatively low volume of its usage. pinterest is almost exclusively about pins. Its like saying "Myspace ha more members than Facebook has guys named jack, so they must be better. Its not a level playing field of comparison.

Pinterest is being innundated by spammers at the moment, plus they're terrible about responding to members. Unless they get those issues under control, they'll sink under the weight of their "success".


Also, there really isn't much interaction between Pinterest users; I may repin certain members' posts regularly, but I don't really feel like we "connected" per se.

I think that Pinterest is a good example of the direction that social media is moving towards -- visuals. However every social media platform is not equal in regards to its core strengths, end goals and capabilities. LinkedIn is information-driven at its core. The main goal is to create an online professional network, and the only way to do that is through text (since most people's careers can't be completely shown in a graphical way). I have noticed some improvements in regards to visual appeal on LinkedIn; I especially like how you can view your peers from your alma mater in a business card-like format. However to effectively use LinkedIn, you will always need lots of text -- to faciliate searches and to aptly describe yourself and communicate with others (which is the main point really)

I agree with some of the comments above that LinkedIn and Pinterest are not really competing and offer different thinsg to different targets. 

 

People are visual by nature - an this seems to be evolving into a platform to share ideas and stimulation for projects like weddings, hoem decoration and so on. I think it will find a place eventually that is about projects - and is (in reality) effectively like the old scrapbooks people keep...

 

Gary

http://www.garybembridge.com

While I don't think social media is going completely visual, I do think visual is becoming important.  After all, they do say a picture is worth 1000 words.  Given the fact that people are completely overloaded with information, visuals serve a time management need.  They can be accessed really quickly.  This is why internet memes have become so popular.  And Pinterest is similar.  An image, with a brief caption or description, can say so much and in such a delightful (and brief) manner.  Pinterest isn't the first medium to take advantage of our love for visuals.  You Tube is completely visual as well. And my guess is that the popularily of short videos outpaces the popularity of longer videos.  People want a quick snack.