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Pinterest Introduces Messaging Service

Pinners Can Chat, But Are Kept On Topic

Pinterest has always had a reputation as one of the more sociable social networks. Without the constant one-upsmanship of Facebook or the vitriolic political dialogue swirling around Twitter, Pinners are happy to centre their digital lives around charmingly distressed end tables and room plans which maximise chi.
The site introduced the ability to send a pin last May, but there was no real way to reply on-site. To remedy that, yesterday Pinterest introduced a direct messaging feature. In addition to sending pins users can now reply with pins of their own or with text, and can hold conversations in groups of up to ten people.

It’s already one of the superior social messaging systems available, jumping ahead of Twitter’s antiquated DM mechanics and sidestepping the whole ‘separate app’ nonsense which Facebook has got itself mired in recently. Users can not only send and receive pins and messages within the chat function, but they can also interact with those pins – view the source, or pin it to their own boards – from within the conversation.

Pinterest itself says that the chat function is geared towards collaborative efforts; organising a trip or a party, for instance, where co-ordinating who is bringing or making what can get overwhelming. There’s no contact list, for instance: designer Tom Watson says that ‘it’s more of a conversation around an object than a quick hello.’ This is probably a smart move. There’s no sense in a site like Pinterest wading into the alreadyover-crowded messaging scene; far better to use the chat functionality as a way to improve the site, rather than use the site as a launchpad for an overdeveloped messaging service.

Pinterest’s business model has always rested on its strength as a platform for promoting and sharing products. Last year the site accounted for 3.68% of traffic to publishers – second only to Facebook, and more than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Google+ combined. By ensuring that conversations on the site remain centred around pins and the accompanying products, they will maintain this commercial viability while also attracting new users to the site and ensuring that more interactions are kept in-site.

In a world where so many social media sites seem to be trying to be all things to all people – Facebook trying to turn into Amazon, Twitter trying to turn into a news site, Snapchat trying to turn into a messaging service/marketing tool – it’s refreshing to see a company with such a clear vision of their own purpose. By keeping a level head about the purpose of this new messaging service, Pinterest is holding true to Ron Swanson’s age-old advice: never half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing.


Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Pinterest Introduces Messaging Service Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, August 08, 2014 Rating: 5
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