Pinterest – just another social media channel? ::

Too much of a good thing?

So, the latest buzz is about a relatively newly public site called Pinterest, a virtual pinboard where one can share, well, just about everything in a visual format. Since November 2011, the site has experienced an impossibly huge growth spike: according to a recent Comscore study, it’s suggested that number of pageviews has increased by 2000%, to the tune of close to 420+ million viewers.

And why all the curiosity? Pinterest is yet another social media channel combining the joy of self expression, the thrill of discovery, and the flattery of “pursuit” (you can “Follow” favored trendsetters, and “Like” or “Repin” their posts.) Here, the emphasis is on the visual graphic, so it’s great for sharing anything you can take a photo of. And, thoughtfully, Pinterest also has an app which  allows you to snap piccys from your iPhone & upload them directly. In the not too distant past the idea of having a camera in your mobile seemed unnecessary, even a bit decadent, yet nowadays the sentiment is more “How could we have lived without this?”

Collect, organise and share: this is what Pinterest is all about. Essentially, data asset management taken to the next level.

With the popularity of this latest, greatest social media channel, two things are certain. The first is the challenge to the incumbents (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) to up their game so they don’t lose visitors to the newcomer. And second, users/consumers will need to be ever more vigilant about managing their online presence(s) and assets: more channels means more data, both incoming and outgoing. Individuals will need to decide how and where to spend their time online, where and what to post, and level of privacy to permit. The social network that engages them the “best” – whether through functionality or breadth/depth of audience or popularity amongst their friends or technical usability, whatever the individual benchmark – will probably succeed. For now.

The waves of “changes” introduced by the social networks in an effort to keep abreast, if not ahead of the curve proves a double-edged sword. People really don’t like change (for example, the kaffufle re: Facebook’s new Timeline rejig). And they don’t like having to work harder to manage their digital assets, as the networking sites leapfrog each other with technical “innovations” to prove one up on their competition. If one or two sites can ultimately provide ease of use and an interesting community and offer secure access (identity theft and intellectual property issues on the rise), users will probably flock to those particular sites. And remain loyal.  Until something better comes along that convinces them that engagement with this new site if more beneficial than with the older one.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and newcomer Pinterest are currently the top competitors in vying for both consumer and the brand’s engagement. The former days of push advertising/marketing (one message -> all) is over, the consumer is in the driver’s seat, and so social networking is here to stay. But the only constant is change, with engagement being the carrot on the end of the stick.

If interested in seeing how Pinterest is being received on both sides of the pond:

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