Is Pinterest pointless? Not necessarily, although it certainly seems like that right now. Right now for me it appears to be an aimless collection of photos, with a poor noise-to-signal ratio. It could be more useful with some added functionality by Pinterest. First of all they needed an app, but they just rolled one out yesterday so that’s good start. The other two things I’d like them to do is to sort out the difference between likes and shares, to add private boards, and to enable a slideshow function.
Likes vs. Shares
What is the practical difference between a like and a share? I’ve seen explanations that likes are for storing photos that you don’t really have a board for. But then why not just have a random board? And also, this means posters are notified twice, when you like their image, and then when you repin it. If likes are seen as a draft board of sorts, then they should be no notifications attached to them (although they can be counted towards the photos stats) and also no need for them to be visible to the public. Confusion is no good, you always want something as simple and straightforward as possible.
Come on Pinterest. Do it! I know platforms have to differentiate themselves and all, but there’s a big opportunity being missed here. What if a company wants to tailor a board to a specific client list? Or one may be putting together a scrapbook for a babyshower, etc. A good compromise might be to perhaps limit users to one or two private boards to test this out. This way, Pinterests entire catalogue will not be hidden, and at the same time users can get some privacy. Win-win.
Again this is something that would also benefit businesses. You can roll out a series of images instead of having to do a PowerPoint presentation for example. For normal use, if one has a tablet they could do it such that you can maximize the photos and run through a board as if it’s your own custom made magazine, or scrapbook—they could even add the animated page turn. Or these days HDTVs are starting to get apps. Imagine a Pinterest app on your HDTV in which you can set images to flash on the screen in brilliant high-resolution. This would be wonderful for boards based on travel places, architecture, etc. Right now it’s a Web 2.0 software geared towards Web 1.0 devices and hardware. Interactivity and syncing is a must in 2012.
There are other suggestions I have though I haven’t quite articulated them yet. For example I think maybe something like mandatory descriptions and/or crediting of sources is something to look into. Also perhaps pinning an image through an image search galleries like ‘google images’ should be banned, as it increases the random/noise factor of Pinterest. Let people pin from actual websites that they’re browsing—this will also help with some of the copyright worries that have come up.
What are your thoughts on the utility of Pinterest, and also on ways to improve it?