I signed up for Pinterest. It’s not like I need yet another social networking tool (or “social catalog,” as it refers to itself) to not keep up with, but at the same time I feel like I should be familiar with what’s out there.

A couple of initial observations. First, you have to “request an invitation” to Pinterest, then wait a few days for the official invitation to arrive in your email inbox. This is clearly meant to create suspense, and make potential users feel like membership is exclusive. Truly, I rolled my eyes when the confirmation message came up on the screen, “Thanks! We’ll send you an invite as soon as we can.” My immediate suspicious reaction was “Hey, asshats, I know you can send me one RIGHT NOW. You merely choose not to, in an attempt to whet my appetite for your service and make me feel grateful to be included when the invitation finally arrives.” It’s like being in junior high all over again. We only take CERTAIN PEOPLE in our club. Are you feeling left out and socially inept yet? You are? Good. Now you can join us.

My junior high reaction to that scenario was always, “Thanks but no thanks. And eff you, too.”

Perhaps I am overreacting to a very minor thing about Pinterest’s marketing strategy. In fact, re-reading this post, I’m sure I am overreacting. I guess I just don’t like being manipulated, and I’m smart enough to know when that’s happening.

But, like the addict who knows they ought to give up their poison, I am still using Pinterest anyway. And Facebook, for that matter. Also, I eat meat and drink diet soft drinks. Surely one of those things is going to kill me sooner or later.

Second, I really do like the idea of an image-sharing site. There are tons of cool things that I see and want to remember, but Facebooking about them, making reminders in my reminder list, or blogging about them just doesn’t seem to work well for me. I’m a visual person. Maybe this system will resonate better with me.

Third, Pinterest’s cultural code of conduct seems to be along the lines of “we are a small community, you are among the first to join, please just be nice to each other and give credit where credit is due, etc.” I appreciate that (and thrive in that type of community) but wonder how long it’s going to last. Because we all thought Google was serious with their “Don’t be evil” motto, didn’t we? Ha! Ugh. I have been on this planet long enough to understand that people are often rude and selfish jerks, especially in the context of anonymity on the internet. It brings out the worst in people. Just read the comments on Youtube sometime if you don’t believe me. And Pinterest doesn’t do anything to discourage anonymity. If it gains in popularity like I suspect it’s going to over the next few months, I wonder what’s going to happen.It will be interesting to watch.


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