Not a day has gone by this past week without some blogger talking about Pinterest’s exponential growth. While the growth is impressive, I wouldn’t start ditching other social media networks just yet. While I am an avid user of both Facebook and Twitter, I can safely say that they are not ideal for sharing content. Facebook has become far too political for the average poster. You want to put a story out there, but thanks to edgerank everyone has a brief shot with their content to take off. People are hesitant to post links on their FB pages because they may or may not get a response, nobody wants to be an ‘over-poster’ type, aka nerd. Well I’m a nerd and I OWN IT.
I post to Twitter with very little expectations for real results (hits or leads generated). Twitter is mainly just fun for me. While I seem to have a few thousand followers, I’m not presumptuous enough to think that anyone is waiting with baited breath to read my posts and comment on them. Pinterest has a beautiful GUI and you can see pretty pictures in a nice format. The real power of Pinterest is in the networking and link promotion for retailers. I would not necessarily direct any of my b2b clients to divert energy and resources to Pinterest, but it’s something to keep an eye on. It makes me think back to a post I wrote last year about intent generation vs. harvesting. The increasing popularity of Pinterest makes me think retailers are now creating strategies with the explicit purpose of generating interest in products and services that people have not been interested in previously. The game used to be about just catching those who were already searching for new jeans or shiatsu lessons, now it’s getting people to think these things are their own idea.
In recent history I have seen negative comments about social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Stumble, etc. and I disagree with the criticisms completely. Social bookmarking is still the best way to find fresh and fun links at your leisure. Pinterest is the very proof that the social bookmarking concept is still viable. The difference between social bookmarking sites and Pinterest is it’s lack of original content. Users on Reddit, Digg, Stumble, etc. follow the 4chan model of community content building. Pinterest has tended to be reposting of existing content, recipes, new scarves, etc. almost in the vein of etsy. Pinterest definitely reminds me of etsy and I would argue the demographics are probably strikingly similar.
File this one under trends to watch… It could mark a shift in the way marketers reach consumers online. Stay tuned!