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Pinterest Doesn't Want to be a Social Network Anymore

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There's a common misconception about the terms 'social media' and 'social network'. Many think that the two are interchangeable, but in fact there are a number of distinct differences. Social media is far more broad - it describes literally any online platform which allows people to freely transmit information to other people. Social networking creates actual connections between people. If you fill in a profile, send friend requests and so forth, it's a social network. If not, it's social media.

There are a number of different platforms which blur this line. Facebook is a clear cut social network, but platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest live in a grey area. Sure, you create a rudimentary profile and connect with other people, but content sharing lives at the core of the experience, not networking. Most platforms are happy to invite the comparison, and even encourage it, but Pinterest are trying to relinquish it.

For a while now, Pinterest have been restyling themselves as an image searching platform, and a very powerful one at that. They've introduced more intricate categorisation tools, better tagging options and now they've gone a step further by eliminating the 'Like' button from the platform.

Liking is more closely associated with Facebook than any other platform, but it's become so prevalent that you'd be hard pressed to find any site that doesn't employ some variation on the theme, social network or otherwise. In some cases, it makes total sense, but on others it certainly seems somewhat unnecessary, and Pinterest is one of them. Scrolling through images and adding them to boards isn't an activity that warrants or benefits from the approval of random strangers.

Pinterest are clearly well aware of this, as well as the fact that it was sometimes hard to tell the difference between 'Like' and 'Save'. They claim that, by removing it, they're encouraging users to "live in the real world". To further this, they're also in the process of developing a new US-based ad campaign which highlights the differences between Pinterest and the likes of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

There's no reason for Pinterest to compete with social networks, it's a fight they'd never win and they occupy a completely different space. Sadly the nature of sharing and profile creation has lumped them in with the big networks, even though they're offering something which has nothing to do with social networking.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Pinterest Doesn't Want to be a Social Network Anymore Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Rating: 5

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