Pinterest, the Site for People who Love Cupcakes and Jake Gyllenhaal

Innovation, the Internet, gadgets, and more.
Dec. 6 2011 5:52 PM

Cupcakes, Boots, and Shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal

If you like any of those things, you should be on Pinterest.

(Continued from Page 1)

But what bothers me most about Pinterest is its earnestness. Unlike Tumblr, where people often post stuff just to make fun of it, Pinterest feels like the least cynical place on the Web. Though the site is based in Palo Alto, Calif., its founder, Ben Silberman, is from Des Moines, Iowa, and he has said that the site first caught on among women in the Midwest. Perhaps that explains why people don’t Pin stuff ironically, or to convey any other emotion aside from full-throated, earnest appreciation. This is not a site that will make you laugh. Ever.

What I learned from browsing around Pinterest is that I consider the Web my own personal laugh machine. I like to scour the day’s links for pictures and videos that make me laugh, which is why I follow who I follow on Twitter and why I’m always reloading Buzzfeed. If I’m looking for solemnity, I’ll read a book.

You could argue that the stuff I don’t like about Pinterest isn’t really a problem with the site, just with the kind of content it’s attracted so far. As Pinterest grows, won’t it attract stuff that’s more to my liking?


Perhaps, but I doubt it. There’s something intrinsic in the site’s design—the way it cleanly lays out photos—that seems perfect for pictures of home furnishings and designer boots, and that wouldn’t work as well for a list of the 25 Biggest Facepalm Moments of 2011. More importantly, I don’t think it should change. Just because I’m not into Pinterest doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to lots of other people. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll love it for exactly the same reasons I don’t.

Part of what makes the site so successful is that its designers know their audience, and they’re not willing to expand the site into something it isn’t—a place for slapstick viral videos, say—just to grow faster. In the summer, I wrote about Ravelry, a social network for knitters that I also would never use myself. That site worked, I argued, because it managed to replicate a real-life community on the Web.

Pinterest feels the same way. It’s not for everyone. It’s probably not even for most people. If you prefer to see the Web as a series of links—as I do—then you’re probably already having the time of your life on Twitter. But if you like design and art and typography and sharing your favorite things, then Pinterest might just be your new home on the Web.



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 3:59 PM The Trailer for Taken 3 Is Here, and Guess Who’s on His Phone Again
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.