Opinions Social Media

Pinterest Is Not For Friends (Updated)

Posted by Adam Broitman on February 10th, 2012 at 7:42 am

I was chatting with the amazing Rebecca Coleman yesterday about the influx of activity from Pinterest. Each of us have been using the service for some time, but all of a sudden we each started receiving an influx of new friend requests.

Why is this happening?

I cannot quantify every reason for this, but one is most certainly the social, viral coefficient--a concept most of you are familiar with.  We have seen this effect in the past on Twitter and Facebook, but in the case of Pinterest, I believe the viral coefficient is being triggered by people in a way that is not necessarily aligned with the vision of the site. Furthermore, I believe that that the staggering increase in traffic will dwindle after the current swell is complete. The traffic decrease will be due to the way in which people are "mass friending" one another without acknowledging what the point of the site actually is (I do of course believe that Pinterest will be very successful and the traffic will pick up again as it is a great site).

Why this will happen?

We have reached a new stage in the progression of social technology. Now that the generic social infrastructure for the web is firmly installed things are starting to get exciting. Social discovery through media is becoming a new way for people to connect, and valuable social discovery can only occur through meaningful content curation.

Social discovery is not about your friends, it is about your interests

I have been receiving friend requests from the usual suspects. The same people that I am friends with on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and so forth. I love each one of these people, but do I really need to be friends with the same people on Pinterest? Where is the value add in "re-friending" people on a new network?

The beautiful thing about the new wave of social media sites is meeting new people who share the same interests

So what Adam, why are you writing this post?

My motivation for this post is twofold:

  1. I want to let people know, if you have requested to be my friend on Pinterest and I have not reciprocated, it is not because I don't like you and it does not mean I will never friend you.
    1. I am experimenting with meeting people purely through content, not prior relationships. If we are meant to be valuable friends on Pinterest (and not just a notch on each others social bed posts) we will meet via a photo, product or random image
  2. I want to get brand strategists thinking about the essence of social content sharing before jumping on the bandwagon with no thought of how to best add value.
    1. The bottom line is, you cannot simply repurpose what you are doing on Facebook and assume people will care.

Now that we have over thought something that is meant to be fun we can get back to having fun. Happy Pinning!

More info on the influx of Pinterest email. A scandal is born!

7 Responses to “Pinterest Is Not For Friends (Updated)”

  1. Tim says:

    When I signed up for Pinterest it automatically friended people I'm connected to on Facebook, including people I didn't want to follow on Pinterest. I had to unfollow several people.

    Perhaps that the real reason that you're getting bombarded by friend requests. It's not that people are thoughtlessly friending you in some zombified haze, but Pinterest is doing it on its own. I believe Pinterest is doing this to give new users a sense of what the platform provides, as it doesn't do much until you follow some folks.

    • Tim

      Thanks for the note. If you look at the link at the end of the post, you will notice I update this post with some info on what exactly Pinterest is doing--it is not a great practice.

      I would prefer that Pinterest cater to my interests rather than connecting me with people I already know from Facebook. Many people post the same content to Facebook and Pinterest, so why do I need to be friends with them in both places?

      I think the new order of social media is going to be interest based. I want to meet new people who share the same interests as I do, not connect with people I already know.


  2. Diana says:

    Thanks for your insights. I had the same thought as you about adding my FB friends. But then after I started checking out their Pinterests, I was amazed at how much I didn't know (or forgot!) about some of my close friends. And they may feel the same about what I find interesting.

    Or maybe I'm using Pinterest in a different way than FB. For example, I added a category of my favorite movies and the lines that come to mind when I think of the movie. It was interesting to learn how many people liked the same quirky lines as I did. It was my thought that this may not have come about on FB because the level of discussion on FB wouldn't have taken it there.

    Dunno what it all means but it's another interesting way to express yourself and distract yourself from the travails of the world.

    Thanks for letting me ramble.


  3. Diana

    First off, feel free to ramble whenever you like--that what blogs are for! :)

    It sounds like the way you are using Pinterest is exactly the same way I use it--to connect with people via content.


  4. BrandieT says:

    Good Post Adam!

    I too have noticed an influx of invites and friend requests, and I expect a lot of them to fade away.

    For me pinterest is about the content only, and has almost nothing to do with the relationships or people. I rarely look at the pinners I follow and would rather do random searches, or browse by topic.

    It is a personal collection for me of recipes, travel, ideas, and plans....I just happen to be sharing it with others, if they are interested.

    I would be curious to know how others feel.


  5. Thanks Brandie! It seems we are in the same boat.

  6. Jan says:

    I purposely use only my first name on Pinterest. I wanted to be able to use Pinterest as a clearing house for my actual persona, Unfortunately because every new member that is a Facebook friend of mine, finds me, I have to be careful what I pin because I have relatives, clients and church members following me from FB to Pinterest. It is forcd censorship fpr me, just like FB. I wish there was a way of blocking some people from my boards. I know that all my pins are public but I really do use Pinterest for more than pinning. I have created a wedding board for my daughter's wedding and now all my friends are following it and seeing all our ideas. Not cool.

Leave a comment