You’ve probably heard of the new social bookmarking experience Pinterest – but are you aware of just how it can change the current landscape of the Internet?
As things stand, large companies like Google and Facebook are cosying up to their users, intent on becoming a fixture of the World Wide Web and being de facto choices for users for search and social networking. Google is even keen on moving into the social side via Google+, although this is really little more than a competent exercise in data mining.
Traditional social bookmarking services such as Digg and the dominant method of sharing links, Twitter, are both at risk from the polished presentation and simple features of Pinterest. In fact, Twitter could be seriously at risk from this new service.
Pinterest is More Powerful Than Digg
Many websites continue to rely on the tried and tested success of services such as Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon, useful online services that allow web surfers to find and share websites and articles that interest them. These services overcome the need for a desktop-based list of favorite bookmarks, instead centralizing the user’s preferred online destinations into a web-based index.
Naturally the websites that feature buttons for these services benefit, resulting in some powerful results – Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon are all capable of sending an article from a brand new blog into the stratosphere if enough people notice and share it.
Yet these services are very Web 1.0, designed for a time before smartphones and tablets. Pinterest’s pleasing user interface immediately casts a stone against the old school Digg.
Pinterest Is Not Another Google+
You may well be aware of Google+, the social circle tool launched by the search giant in 2011 that was touted as a challenger to the social networking crown of Facebook.
As things have turned out, so far Google+ is running in the social networking “damp squib” league, pushed by “on the pulse” techies as a solution to the all-encompassing devilry of Facebook but failing to add anything particularly new or compelling.
Google+ is little more than a trendy diversion, and I reckon Google knows this; once they’ve got your personals bagged and tagged there is no longer any need to use Google+. Cynical, yes; but then this is Google we’re talking about.
Pinterest requires little in the way of personal information. While Facebook is one option for signing up, this can be removed after your account is created and is really only provided to enable you to share the Pinterest wonder among your Facebook friends.
So What Is Pinterest?
It might sound a little pretentious, but Pinterest is the ultimate means of expressing your appreciation for a website or article, a vehicle for sharing, commenting and simply “liking” something that a friend or contact has shared.
Like the Facebook share function in microcosm, Pinterest allows the reader to make his or her own decision about whether the item deserves further sharing. Interesting Pinners gain new followers as their favored links are shared, but there is none of the data mining that takes place on Facebook or Google Plus. The use of a Facebook or Twitter login to access Pinterest means that this new service can transcend both of its forebears, riding on their coat tails to gain a foothold – something that shouldn’t take long.
Ultimately Pinterest goes beyond social networking. This is a living, breathing collection of bookmarks and recommended links for you to share with people with the same interests as you. There’s no compulsion to use it, no demands that you sign in and stay in touch with people.
How Pinterest Evolves Social Bookmarking
With its wide, scrollable layout Pinterest is ideal for desktops, laptops and tablets alike, superseding the link sharing ability of Twitter by providing a preview image of the page being shared.
There is a lot more going on here than single, when-you’re-ready-to-read Tweets and web page shares. Pinterest displays a full page of items that friends have pinned, a page that keeps on growing as you scroll down, much like the Facebook or Twitter time lines. These items are presented in such a way that they present an evolution of the social bookmarking concept.
While there is no means to leave a status message or similar, there is no need. Pinterest allows the user to express themselves in links. It is fast, effective and compelling and should soon prove a serious competitor to existing social bookmarking tools. Twitter in particular should be watching its back – a small number of power users on that network apparently originate over half of the links that are shared on the network. What’s more, Pinterest doesn’t require third party apps to make it more interesting. The user interface is perfect for many different types of device.
Although Facebook and Google+ might be able to overcome a downturn in link sharing among contacts, Twitter is certainly vulnerable; in comparison it is little more than a drab list. Meanwhile Pinterest is likely to become a preferred tool among those that don’t feel comfortable sharing their life story with Facebook.
Don’t think it could happen? A quick look at MySpace proves that the biggest online giants can crumble, often by making just one wrong decision.