By Todd Murphy | February 22nd, 2012
The latest #newtool darling of the social media world is clearly Pinterest. For that one person who has not yet been overrun by the hype of the “next” thing, Pinterest defines itself in these words: “Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” People who use Pinterest love Pinterest. But is love enough?
Pinterest has a beautiful interface and I’m finding it a great inspiration for creative and new ideas. But I’m having a difficult time declaring it a #newtool that will have long-term, mass appeal. Yes, new users are signing up at an alarmingly fast pace. This normally bodes well as a quick adoption rate proved out for other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Even LinkedIn and YouTube have ridden the rocket to social media stardom. But where these established networks really took root was in their ability to serve both consumers and businesses alike.
I know it is is too early to call it for Pinterest, but I don’t see much use for it for a wide variety of marketing, branding, and public relations efforts. Go ahead, attack me now with all of the exceptions to my prior statement. Of course I’m generalizing, as I do see it as very much a service to the “Long Tail” of marketing, where extremely niche communities will find an audience. These communities will most likely be centered on visual and physical elements that can be “pinned” in a meaningful way. I”m also optimistic towards the value of Pinterest for personal and social interests. But as far as a new tool for business, I”m afraid it fails to answer the “why” question. Why would a business use Pinterest in a broad B2B or B2C application? The current research shows that consumers gravitate to only a few social networks, not being able to manage many networks and communities at once. Pinterest may just be too much for most social netizens.
My prediction is that Pinterest does not demonstrate enough of a significant difference over other social networking tools, in reaching a mass audience, and it will only be a niche network like Quora, Foodspotting, Instagram, and Foursquare. The aforementioned sites/networks are all really great tools, but just don’t address the same core, human nature needs like a Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter do. You guessed it, we’re still talking about the #samerules of human nature must be met if any #newtool is to become an integral part of our society. Am I wrong? Tell me where my thoughts left the tracks. I appreciate your comments…really, I do.