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16 Nov 2012 / Julie

a few thoughts on Pinterest

Pinterest is a gold mine for noticing patterns about people on an individual basis.

This revelation came to me when it suddenly occurred to me that i have an affinity towards stars.

I noticed this because i was able to see things i had collected and noticed there was a theme. A pattern had emerged. I gravitate towards things with stars on them.

It got me thinking about my interests on the whole. What was it that i liked that i thought i still liked but really only liked as a kid and not actually currently as an adult? What were the things that i actually like as an adult? I felt like there was this line of things i say i like because i always have, or always used to, but may not anymore.

Pinterest helped me identify where the lines were drawn. It helpe me identify those patterns.

I’m not neccesarily able to categorize the things in my life enough to see patterns emerge. And no other online thing really gets at this categorization the way pinterest does. On facebook, you can “like” things all over the place, but they aren’t collected. It’s more like waving or winking at a friend than it is noting and retaining something for future reference. Therefore, no patterns to be detected.

Evernote, which i used a lot for collecting things i found and wanted to save from online, could have offered me this opportunity but didn’t. And i think it’s an issue of volume and intent. Evernote kept the things i collected. I went out into the world and if i saw something i liked, i collected it in evernote.

With pinterest, and part of it’s addicting quality, is that you’re essentially doing a fast paced word association or choice algorhythm. Like this? no. Like this? yes. Like this? no. etc. you’re looking at things on pinterest for the express purpose of finding things to collect. So the volume level is higher and patterns emerge faster because of it.

From my pins you can tell i love color. jewel tones, mostly. You can tell i’m addicted to good words of happiness, fire-under-the-ass, and love (and a little snark). If you looked at my food board, you’d probably notice patterns there too. But the thing that somehow stood out at me was the fact that i have a serious pull towards designs, patterns and embellishments involving stars.

Recently, i had actually done this pattern seeking consciously.
A friend of mine had been talking about updating his wardrobe. He had a board of clothes items he wanted to acquire and so one day I had taken a look at the pins on this board to see what kinds of things he was thinking about. Using the information in the pins, i saw patterns and was able to put together a shopping list for him of good staples to round out his wardrobe. I had turned his collection of liked things and turned it into an actionable, creatable wardrobe.

Its those kinds of patterns that i feel make pinterest the gold mine of info that it is. It has a super small data set though because while there are a lot of people pinning things, the # of people is a small % of the whole of people. AND the amount of new material that’s making it into the rotation is super small compared to the breadth of material that exists in the world. For me, at least, i know that i really only repin current pins versus using pinterest as an evernote-kind of collection space from outside sources. I think i may have clicked “pin this” on a site outside of pinterest once. all of the rest of my 897 pins (at least at the time of this writing) are repins of things already in the pinterest world. and really only from two places: pins from people i follow, and whatever is floating on the “popular” board. rarely do i venture out, which limits what i am exposed to even futher, potentially creating a more robust environment for patterns to emerge even quicker.

So those are my brief thoughts on pinterest. and why i am now no longer fighting it as much as i did. Because at least for now, it is showing me kind of the things that really get me excited and the things that make me happy. and if life is all about doing more of the things that make you happy and filling your life with people and stuff that excites you and folling your passions than it’s not neccesarily a bad thing that i’m able to narrow that down.

happy pinning!
happy pattern recognition!

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