46
57
Gini Dietrich

The Pinterest Debate Between Two Friends

By: Gini Dietrich | January 25, 2012 | 
325

This post is running concurrently on Future Comms.

On Facebook just after the first of the year, Paul Sutton posted something about not understanding what the big deal is about Pinterest.

It won’t be a surprise to you that I commented. I said something about how he was off his rocker (except I think I was a bit more nice than that).

So he challenged me to a duel.

I’m not at all competitive (hahahaha!!) so I accepted.

See what you think!

The case against, by Paul Sutton

I make no secret of the fact I’m a sceptic when it comes to new social platforms (I’ve been told I have a ‘healthy cynicism’, although I prefer to think I’m pragmatic).

Like everyone else, I’ve read the hype, I’ve signed up, and I’ve watched them come and go. And, to me, Pinterest falls into the same over-hyped category as Quora, Diaspora, and Path.

There’s no doubt Pinterest is different. As a social bookmarking site it’s far more interesting than the likes of Delicious or Diigo, and its visual nature gives it a point of difference. But, for me at least, that’s about it.

I actually WANT to like it as a marketer, but there’s just nothing compelling about it as a realistic long-term option.

Users say part of the appeal of Pinterest is it’s a ‘quiet’ network; there’s none of the mindless drivel and brand intrusion of Facebook, for example.

At some stage, however, it will have to be monetized, probably through advertising or charging brands for profiles.

What happens to the ‘quiet’ then?

I also have concerns over it’s purpose. It says its mission is to “connect people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.” So that’ll be just like Facebook and every other social network out there then? Using images may be visually appealing but that doesn’t mean it really has a unique selling proposition.

And this last point is where I think it really falls down for marketers. Just like Gini says, users have told me that Pinterest is addictive. But more often than not, that’s countered by a feeling they’re just repeating what they’re doing on other networks with no real purpose.

I’ve read several ‘how to get more out of Pinterest’ type articles, and that itself rings alarm bells for me. The fact that people need to be told why they’re using it suggests they can, and will, get bored within a month or two once the novelty wears off.

The case for, by Gini Dietrich

I’ve been watching Pinterest with great interest for the past few months. It’s not often a new social network comes along that completely captures your attention. You see, 84 percent of us are visual learners. That means we like to look at pictures and watch videos. We need to see something in order for it to sink into our brains. Because of that, I’ve long been a strong advocate of using video in your marketing programs. And then along came Pinterest.

Just like blogging and Twitter and Facebook and Google+, Pinterest started out as a personal obsession. And then, because I can’t turn off my darn marketing brain, I began to see applications for businesses.  But what really sold me is when Daniel Gordon, from Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City, began sharing his company’s Pin It contest. All you had to do is pin your favorite jewelry from their website and you were entered into a contest to win Honora Pearls.

What they did is take something really personal (photos of jewelry you like), ask you to pin it to your boards (which makes sharing easier), and they were able to create a viral effect, driving people to their site to eventually buy jewelry.

Do I think there are B2B applications for this? No. Not yet. But if you’re a retailer, in fashion, have a restaurant, or sell anything that is visual, Pinterest is something you definitely should be considering for your 2012 marketing plans.

On the personal side, I’ll admit I may need to go to Pinterest rehab. But it feeds so many of my creative juices I may never have to actually think about what I’m going to fix for dinner or buy someone for their birthday. I have all the inspiration I need on my boards! And, if you’re lazy, you can follow me and steal a bunch of my pins with one click of your mouse.

What do you think?

Cast your vote (so I can officially beat Paul) and leave us both a comment.


About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

305 comments
MariaPetrescu
MariaPetrescu

Well, just one example of using Pinterest. I run an interviews website, with several interviews formats (long, short, about startups, about food bloggers, and so on). So after a lot of thinking and attempts to find a grid like template on Tumblr first and a customized one later, we found Pinterest. And we used it, saving the money we would have spent if we asked someone to make it for us, since we needed a page where to show our interviews by format. An archive, if you will, since the website doesn't have a proper one. So here it is: http://pinterest.com/intervistato/

MarcAllende
MarcAllende

Pintrest wasn't made for social bookmarking, it was made for social scrapbooking - just collecting images. If you want bookmarking and a more diverse community, I'd suggest checking out Snip.it http://snip.it . It looks a lot like Pintrest too

BTRIPP
BTRIPP

Gini ...

I just don't "get" Pinterest ... it isn't a model that corresponds to anything in my reality AT ALL ... and all the "how to use it" articles and videos eventually end up focusing on "cute shoes", which is not even remotely an interest for me. This is just the "big kid" version of my 11-year-old daughter putting print-outs of pics of Johnny Depp up on her walls ... I can't even think of anything that I'd want to stick on a "board"!

- B.T.

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith

Okay...I was thinking I was actually going to dip a toe in after seeing your board. Now I'm on the "waiting list." Really? Lost my buzz entirely.

Latest blog post: What's Up With Me, Really.

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

This debate has already taken place. It's the debate about whether the horseless carriage will ever take the place of a horse and buggy. I believe the debate has been settled. Pinterest may or may not have legs, but whether it's actually called Pinterest the virtual bulletin board and the concept of "repinning" will survive. It's a very comfortable platform for the novice. As for the business looking to turn a a customer into an ambassador, , isn't that repinning? Some platforms are better fits than others. Time is a limited resource for a business. It's also a limited resource for a customer. When a business can engage a customer on multiple platforms that business has in fact limited the amount of time that customer can engage the competition. Is it then worth it for the business to invest resources in a new platform? The idea of making a static pronouncement in such a dynamic medium (20 new SM platforms have gone live while I type this comment) is short sighted. Still it does make for a nice post and had this debate taken place last year about a new geotagging platform, the nay might have been right.

JonAston
JonAston

I voted 'Yes' - but it's worth noting that I also though twitter was stupid and would never fly.

As for Pinterest, I think it's a mistake to dismiss it's potential for B2B marketing so readily. The obvious example would be visual communication business... Graphic design, commercial signs, and web design portfolios. And what about office design and decor? Office equipment? Catering? It just requires a little creative thinking.

AbFab40
AbFab40

@mrsd_daily Thanks for flagging - like to give these things a try so may well have a play over the weekend and see if the addition strikes!

ThePaulSutton
ThePaulSutton

I have something else to throw into this debate at this juncture (and sorry I've now been here to put my side across over the last few hours - I do value sleep and even now it's only 5am in the UK!).

So this was raised in a conversation about this debate on Google+. I'd started to wonder whether there was a huge divide in usage of Pinterest across the Atlantic, as all of the stories I've been reading about genuine business value and, particularly, massive adoption among 'the public' (eg non geeks) simply do not make any sense in a UK context. In the UK there is talk of Pinterest, but this is mostly driven by the hype in the tech/social media blogs - there's very, very little in the way of people using it for much or understanding why they're using it if they are! But Gwen Morrison posted this gem, a map of how popular it is around the world: http://www.appappeal.com/maps/pinterest/ .

It explains a lot. In the US, Pinterest is the 30th most popular site. In Canada it's the 74th. And yet in the UK it's only the 149th. There is traditionally a lag of take up in most social media platforms between the US and the UK, largely because the vast majority come out of the States. (Other than Spotify, which we had for about 2 years before you guys...mwah-ha-haaaaa!) Given this, it's no wonder that there is such a marked difference between my opinion and that of Miss @ginidietrich

lorenzocaum
lorenzocaum

I think Pinterest is still invite-only as it creates a desire for people to join. They are growing quickly. On Hacker News, their was a post about all of these Pinterest "copies" popping up around the interwebs.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

Um, I just found out that Pinterest is still by invitation only. You aren't seriously suggesting that there is anything to be gained by using a platform that isn't even available to the general public yet, are you? Sorry, but entrepreneurs have far better things to do with their time - unless they are in a very strange market that includes a lot of people "into it".

Kristinesimpson
Kristinesimpson

@dibegin The only reason I use it is for planning a wedding. Not sure if I would have been drawn in otherwise. However, I am not addicted :P

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@barryrsilver You make an interesting point and it's one that bears repeating, I think: that Pinterest is, in someways, just one example of how content is shifting towards the visual. It can be a huge traffic driver - and I'll be experimenting with a PinIt button on my blog in short order just to see if it impacts shares on my end.

mrsd_daily
mrsd_daily

@AbFab40 it's soothing - think mood boards - my biggest boards are fashion and food - but you can get interior décor tips etc

DaveChaffey
DaveChaffey

@imrananwar Re: Pinterest - snap = remember how people said Quora was going to change the social world a year ago..

delwilliams
delwilliams

@wabbitoid All the social networks were invitation only at one point. The thing is it's easy to get one, and think of this, with that invite only in place it has managed to grow leaps and bounds. The thing with being an entrepreneur is that the real ones go where their audience is, it's that simple. If it is in one of the industries Gini described, they would be silly not to be there.

ImranAnwar
ImranAnwar

@DaveChaffey maybe how these sites will change the world is by helping kill such false hype predictions of changing social/world.

KarenARocks
KarenARocks

@ginidietrich@lorenzocaum The copy cats are out there alright - try Pinspire for example. Which is EXACTLY the same as Pinterest (and looks identical). I don't get it.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Luckily PR whiz Gini Dietrich is a bit more eloquent than I am about the clout of the new social media powerhouse. She argues for it in a friendly debate with PR consultant and blogger Paul Sutton over on her blog, Spin Sucks. [...]

  2. [...] love this post – as both social media marketer and a blogger. >> The Pinterest Debate Between Two Friends | Spin [...]

  3. [...] ➔ http://spinsucks.com/social-media/the-pinterest-debate-between-two-friends [...]

  4. [...] Radical Copycatting of Pinterest. When Paul Sutton and I debated the merits of Pinterest earlier this week, Karen Rocks alerted me to Pinspire. Go ahead. Click on that link. I’ll [...]

  5. [...] not convinced? A friendly debate about its value was had over at the Spin Sucks blog last week. There’s quite a conversation held [...]

  6. [...] because the Pinterest debate between Paul Sutton and I worked so well, we thought we’d do a combined book [...]

  7. [...] not the only one either! Gini Dietrich says wonderful things about Pinterest. Paul Sutton sneers. In the same blog post! I love how that [...]

  8. [...] on several of the social media sites that I follow. BUT when I read a post from Spin Sucks called The Pinterest Debate Between Two Friends, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to get over there and see what all this talk was [...]

  9. [...] so, I asked for and received my Pinterest invitation, thank you, Gini, and hopped on. As with anything new, it takes a bit of concentration (no multi-tasking, Kaarina) to [...]

  10. [...] throw your soul at any open door – opportunity or otherwise. I’m not just talking about Pinterest. I mean anything. Social. Any app. Or [...]

  11. [...] person who thinks Pinterest doesn’t rock and Google+ isn’t effective for small [...]

  12. [...] perhaps: Everyone is using Pinterest. It’s huge! Let’s get on Pinterest. [...]

  13. [...] reading Yuvi’s post, I’m coming to think that things like Foursquare, Path, Pinterest (sorry Gini) and even LinkedIn aren’t passing that test and may need to [...]

  14. [...] The Pinterest Debate Between Two Friends – Gini Dietrich was one of the first people I knew who not only embraced Pinterest, she kind [...]

  15. [...] probably all done that. I know some folks who love Pinterest, and they get lost in there, moving from one pin to another. There are boards for everything there, [...]

  16. […] Radical Copycatting of Pinterest. When Paul Sutton and I debated the merits of Pinterest earlier this week, Karen Rocks alerted me to Pinspire. Go ahead. Click on that link. I’ll […]

  17. […] because the Pinterest debate between Paul Sutton and I worked so well, we thought we’d do a combined book […]

  18. […] person who thinks Pinterest doesn’t rock and Google+ isn’t effective for small […]