Pinterest: When Curation Becomes Meaningful for Anyone

LaurentFrancois
Laurent Francois Co-founder & exec. creative strategist, RE-UP

Posted on January 25th 2012

Pinterest: When Curation Becomes Meaningful for Anyone

Curation  made a big fuss in 2010-11, while many start-ups rose in order to better structure the web for the end-users.

In an attention economy, a gap exists between an abundance of contents, signals, paths, and a very limited time to filter all these data. Some digital tools try to help us filter all these chaotic contents. But until now, curation was either a high-level skill (because it requires a strong knowledge + a lot of time to structure for example your Pearltrees), either very disappointing as automatic curation tools are sometimes very biased or partial. Curation as a concept is one of the keys for any business. Brian Solis made this relevant statement:

The interest graphs they weave within social networks serve as qualified information networks that can amplify information with unprecedented speed, efficiency and personalization. It creates a  human algorithm that brings to life an awakening and revolutionary reality; we are now reaching an audience with an audience of audiences.

 

But "curation" lacked 3 pillars until Pinterest:

  • accesibility: not anyone could find a value in spending time with digital tools
  • fun & pleasure: you need some "lol" when you are on a social network. Curation should not be reserved to bookworms
  • usability in a daily routine: the best digital applications are the ones that amplify real-life. To be provocative, one of the most popular app for iPad is the Calorie tracker

And Pinterest has many assets in each of the requirements.

  • It's easy for anyone to curate, as it takes the best of what TumblR allows you (bookmark a content you like) and optimizes the way it's archived (boards are far more intuitive & explicit than scrolling a blog)
  • It's fun because it lets users lose themselves in the depth of boards (for explorers, like on WeHeartIt) but also helps people in a hurry to easily find relevant contents, depending on their needs (the boards are categorized, and you can "follow" either an indiviual either a specific board aka center of interest: you get notifications when there are fresh contents, and that's all, less noise than on twitter)
  • It's useful on a daily basis, and I've tried to identify 5 first usages:
  1. Pinterest for pupils & students:
    Teachers could quickly adopt Pinterest to arrange some home-works. For example, pupils could have to create some boards as herbariums. Young scientists could have to analyze some cells on specific boards
  2. Pinterest for Powerpoint aka for marketers
    Tired of looking for the same old pictures that perfectly fit an idea? Well, you could structure some moodboards and update them
  3. Pinterest for non-profits: Beth Kanter made a great summary on how Pinterest could fastly be a vector for them
  4. Pinterest for e-business: as you can add some social features to products, you can "pin" diverse items around a topic. It is good for editorial (you give meaning) but it's also powerful to mobilize communities (they can give opinions and make an item "trending")
  5. Pinterest for live-events: once something big happens, it's highly complicated to follow an event and get the best of it. Either pictures are the same (see the Arab Spring: we were massively watching the same videos and the same photos), either there are so much contents that you don't find any meaning.

There are good reasons to believe in Pinterest. First because of its specific demographics: it's not populated with Sillicon Valley insiders, but with real people with real needs.

 

 

You can follow me on Pinterest, of COURSE!

LaurentFrancois

Laurent Francois

Co-founder & exec. creative strategist, RE-UP

Laurent runs a creative & digital agency in London, RE-UP.

RE-UP develops strong social media strategies for clients like L'Oréal, Clarins, or Nestlé but also for start-ups in the tech industry. 

Laurent also teaches Digital Marketing & Strategy in diverse business schools (ESCP Europe, ECS etc.).

Laurent was the first head of 360° Digital Influence in Europe (now Social @ Ogilvy), operating for clients like Lenovo, Vodafone, Tom of Finland or French government. He then created a business unit dedicated to social media revenue in one of the main media groups in France.

Laurent blogs on fashion on Hit Bag and Le Boulevardier

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Comments

I'm a recent convert to Pinterest and I can appreciate its value within the wider social media mix. I guess one of the drawbacks I find is that the categories aren't as well policed or moderated as they ought to be. So for example you'll find some categories are often cluttered with irrelevant material for that particular category. Of course, it's often quite subjective whether you think cupcakes belong in food & drink or merit inclusion in another category. Is there an opportunity for users to flag irrelevant material? Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that in order to improve the experience for all users it would be a good idea if they tighten up on the categorisation. Or am I being overly pedantic? I'd be interested to hear what others think.

Hi Orlaith! You're absolutely right, but usages are just skyrocketting. I'm pretty sure they're already shaping new iterations, new ways to categorize. It's also something interesting to let users play with limited possibilités at this stage, to better anticipate future needs. Let's see in few weeks ;)

Hi Laurent, Yes, you're right, it's still early days and I'm sure we'll see some improvements to the user experience over time. It'll be interesting to see how it develops.