Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pinterest's interesting. But...

The next darling of the social web has arrived and its name is Pinterest. A lot of people seem to like it and I have to say, I'm quite impressed. If you like paragliding videos (and let's face it, who doesn't?) then feel free to take a look.

Edit: Don't click that link to my favourite videos - it will 404. Pinterest's got a huge copyright problem that led to me deleting my account not long after I wrote this post. Whatever the legalities of Pinterest's attempts to transfer copyright violation responsibilities onto its users, I'm not going to use a website that's obviously built to share content from all over the web, which then attempts to absolve itself from responsibility for being used for that purpose.

Beyond a first play though, I'm finding Pinterest a bit disappointing. It's very dry looking and not like real life pinboards at all, which can be fun and have all sorts of things stuck to them at all sorts of angles, overlapping and scribbled on.

It's nice that you can put lots of cool stuff in one place for people to find but it would be so much better if Pinterest...
  • Took a leaf out of Twitter's book and restricted boards to the visual equivalent of 140 Characters.
    Give people an actual board - with a set size - to fill up and when it's full, they need to start a new one. You'll get much higher quality content if you force users to refine their choices.
  • Let users play with their boards.
    Stick pins on sideways, stick them on top of other pins, let users go nuts have fun, like the Parisians do with post-it-notes. Right now, all boards look the same; they're just a load of links to pictures and videos and don't have an identity of their own. Users need to be able to give their boards a personality.

  • Stick more than pictures to them, like people do with real pinboards.
    They write each other notes, they hang a calendar off them and they pin up tickets to events they're going to. It's part of the more flexible look and feel, but as a for instance, why can't visitors to my boards write on them and say hello if I stick a post it note pad on there?

You could do some of these things by pinning pictures to other people's boards, but the site doesn't make it obvious and the board structure is too clean to encourage you to play. Pinterest's nice, but if it's going to hold our attention, then it needs to be more than just a collection of links to pictures and video that people think are cool. We need to be able to make the boards look individual. We need to be able to play with it.

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