There is certainly no shortage of messengers in the App Store: Snapchat, Kik, What’s App, the list goes on and on. Not to mention Facebook’s messenger app and direct messages from Twitter and Instagram. And, how can we forget Google Hangouts? Actually, they’re pretty easy to forget. Anyway, it seems like it was only a matter of time before Pinterest joined the private party. It’s like a regular VIP lounge out there.
So, why Pinterest? Why would a social network for exploring your interests, spend time building a messenger? Well, Pinterest’s new feature might be called “Conversations,” but don’t plan on using it to discuss sports or the weather. As with everything on Pinterest, it’s all about the pins. After all, it’s a social network focused on bringing people together around shared projects or interests. And, to date, all interaction on Pinterest is focused on those interests. And, being cute. Pinterest is big on cute. And, kittens. And, teensy cottages covered with miniature roses. Those things.
Have I mentioned that I really dislike “cute?” LOATHE CUTE. Just an aside …
Pinterest isn’t trying — yet — to be a place where friends hang out and chat in general. As I mentioned, earlier, there are already plenty of options available for that. Plus, that wouldn’t be cute. Sports and the weather just aren’t that cute. Conversations has been designed specifically as a new way of keeping the discussion around those shared interests going and keeping it on topic — and, of course, keeping it within Pinterest. Let’s keep those cute little discussions going!
Pinterest users send 2 million (many of them exceptionally cute) pins a day on the service. But until this week there has been no native way of responding to the pins, short of sending your friend or co-worker an email. That’s where Pinterest messages come in. “We see it as heavier weight than a Facebook Messenger,” says Tom Watson, the product’s designer. “It’s more of a conversation around an object than just a quick hello.” Well said Tom. Except you forgot the cute part. Maybe that’s just a given now. Sigh.
Starting this week, the company is rolling out messages on Android, iOS, and the web. Like Facebook’s “chat heads,” recent messages pop up to the left of the feed as bubbles with your friends’ faces. You’ll find the others under the pin icon where notifications pop up. Just click the ‘+’ icon, type in the name of a friend on Pinterest, and you can send a pin or a standalone message. The impressive thing about Pinterest messages is that the pins you send within the app retain all the functionality of a pin you see anywhere else on the site. Anything you can do with a pin on Pinterest’s web site, you can do inside a message: pin it to a board of your own, send it to another friend, or click the ‘heart’ to add it to your list of favorites. You can even drag a pin from the site into a message.
That might not sound like much, but it blows most other internal messaging products out of the water. Unless you’re among the relatively few number of verified users, Twitter’s years-old direct-message feature still won’t let you send most URLs, even though sharing links is a core use of the platform. It was big news last December when Twitter DMs finally added the ability to send photos. Meanwhile on Facebook, shared links can be opened and not much else. — The Verge
The new feature also clearly demonstrates how Pinterest, which was originally designed as a public scrapbook, has slowly embraced private sharing. The first step was the addition of “secret” boards in 2012. The next step was when Pinterest offered the ability to send pins privately. With Conversations, Pinterest is simply becoming a more complete collaboration tool. It brings the social network one step closer to its mission of getting people not just to pin (cute) things, but to do (cute) things. And, most important, to buy (cute) things. Because, rest assured, Pinterest is not a public service. They need to make money somehow. Preferably, lots of it. Adorable money. Super-cute dollars. Anyway, you get the point.
Have a cute weekend. I’m nauseous.