I’ve been aware of Pinterest for some time now. I don’t use it myself but my wife has dabbled with it for months. She uses it to piece together collections of patterns, furniture or simply images of nature that inspire her. She even has a section titled “For Colin's Belly” which contain recipes for desserts that my stomach appreciates (although, worryingly it’s so enlarged that it’s only a matter of time before it has its own twitter account). When you pin these collections the public can view them and re-pin them. It’s a simple way of spreading information, designs or aspirational pictures, and it’s about the objects being pinned rather than the… err Pinner. It’s certainly not as self-indulgent as Facebook, or as vain as having a blog on a website that has your own name as an address… Hmm.

Anyway, until a few weeks ago it was a fairly low key site mostly inhabited by designers and artists. Then recently an article appeared in the Guardian newspaper pointing out that Pinterest currently had 12 million American devotees and 200,000 in the UK. The article positions it as possibly the next Facebook. But you know what? It isn’t (thankfully) and should never be a contender for that crown. Pinterest’s main attraction is that you know nothing about the person pinning and you don’t need to know. This to my mind is pretty nice. But, now companies have noticed that there is an untapped audience here and when that happens they get their tapping commercial sledgehammers out and bombard those prospective customers. It’s a shame that the internet has evolved from its origins to become nothing more than a gigantic worldwide billboard for advertisers and corporations.

It’s happened to Twitter and Facebook. Everybody and everything is on Twitter. Even yogurt manufacturers are on twitter. Come follow me they say. Why? What could a yogurt possibly have done that’s interesting enough to comment? What adventures does a strawberry twirl sugar free tub have? Did it have an argument with the Pineapple Crush, or has it been jilted by the uncaring thoughts of the Apricot Splash?  Probably not, they’re nothing more than another way to fill our heads with their products.

And if Pinterest doesn’t watch out it will happen to them too. Yesterday, Universal studios appeared on my Facebook page to inform me that they were on Pinterest. I couldn’t contain my excitement… oh! wait… yes I could… quite easily. Their post went as follows:

“Universal Studios is using Pinterest, an online pinboard to collect and share what inspires you.”

Really? Are you sure you’re not just taking the opportunity to try and flog me more of your tired output. I mean, is anybody really inspired by Russell Crowe’s Irish accented Robin Hood?  It’s funny, but Universal is celebrating its hundredth year and that’s the film they choose to push. It’s almost like there’s a warehouse filled with surplus copies of the damn movie and they’re desperate to unload them. This warehouse probably resembles the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Eventually either Pinterest will end up resembling the side of a bus shelter or a subway wall, by being simply plastered in corporate posters for more risible rubbish, or it will push these aside and return to what it was, a quiet, aspirational site. I hope it’s the latter as it would be nice to have one place where somebody wasn’t trying to sell me something. 

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