The Appeal of Pinterest

Ben Silbermann, one of Pinterest’s co-founders, was apparently a meticulous collector who, as a child, kept glass boxes full of beetles and stamps. It was this collector mindset that generated the inspiration for Pinterest. Silbermann noted that the simple act of collecting is universal, and he wanted to build a site that made the act of online collecting—and sharing these collections—easy and fun.2 Pinterest’s ability to indulge the inner collector in all of us is likely part of the reason why the site is so addictive.

Dr. Christopher Long teaches a course on consumer psychology at Ouachita Baptist University, and explains it in the following way: “Pinterest boards are like its users’ personal happiness collages,” he says. “[They represent] things that I appreciate, that I desire, and that express who I am, whether the things are cupcakes, shirtless David Beckham, or an inspirational quotation.”3

Chelsea Smith, the Social Media Specialist for Oreck, reported that her CEO asked her to set up a Pinterest account for the company after he’d gone on a family vacation to Mexico and noticed something surprising on the trip. He observed that every woman in his travel party was “more interested in Pinterest than getting tans and drinking margaritas!” He admitted that he wasn’t 100 percent sure what the site was all about, but he observed, “This is big. We’ve got to get on this!” Smith had already started a Pinterest account for the vacuum cleaner company, and was ...

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