Pinterest is an app for sharing lists of scrumptious-looking stuff. It's not for girls or guys, it's for people who like looking at things. The story I've heard is that it was designed for architects and designers and "then brides found it." This is why, my sources explain, it tends toward the jewelry-and-table-settings end of the spectrum.Let's be grown up about this.
But like on any social network, it just depends on whom you're following. On Pinterest, you have fine-grained control over what pins appear in your feed. In fact, for all Google's efforts to figure out how to control unwanted social stuff with Circles, I daresay they got it backwards. Pinterest is the reverse of Google+ circles, and it's better for users.
Pinterest has been around for a while, but lately it has caught on intensely. The statistics suggest that lots of women use it, but lots of non-women and businesses also use it. It's inspiring blatant imitators, and Alexia Tsotsis even thinks that Google wants to buy it. Why all this interest all of a sudden? Pinterest is visually driven, which makes it easy and pleasurable to use, but I think its mechanics as a social network are more interesting than that.
Facebook's Smart Lists and Google+ Circles have popularized the idea that we need the ability to share different things with different audiences. That lets us have fun with some people and be boring with others without having to maintain two profiles. But neither of those networks offer much control for the person on the receiving end.
Facebook's News Feed algorithm is a bit of a magic soup. You can tell it you want more or fewer updates from certain things in certain situations, but for the most part, if they're sharing it with you, you're going to get it. Google+ lets you turn down the volume on your circles, so you can adjust the noisiness of groups you're following, but the people in those circles are just sharing wherever they share. The recipient has to do her or his best to keep all the senders organized.
Pinterest Is the Reverse of Circles
But Pinterest nails the mechanics of this. On Pinterest, users create "boards" for different things they want to share. When you follow a person on Pinterest, you follow all their boards. You can also follow individual boards. If someone you like has a board for "desserts," which you like, and a board for "spaceships," which you love, but they also post to their "cute puppies" board all day long (and you hate puppies), the solution is simple: You unfollow "cute puppies," and everything else remains.
Both the pinner and the follower only have to think about their own tastes. They don't have to guess what other people are like. People are more likely to enjoy themselves that way. Because hey, if Pinterest teaches us anything, it's that we have impeccable taste.
Do you use Pinterest? Do you need an invite? Let's get some invite gifting going in the comments.