Pinterest is the Prettiest Visual Search Engine
… and they’ve only just begun.
Over the last year or so, when the topic of Pinterest has come up (for clients or during internal discussions), I’ve noticed the site elicits an interesting response. There’s the eye-rolling, “only if you’re planning a wedding” comment and there’s the smarter, more sincere “they’re positioned to become the most powerful search engine” response that you’ll find here and here and from the mouths of very clever people. I favor the latter and warm to the people that tow that line much faster.
I’m a Pinterest user. Have been for a long time. I worked on a fledgeling start-up a few years prior to Pinterest’s quiet entrance to the Web and in my darkest moments, kick myself swiftly for never having stayed the course and built the thing. (This is where we all remind ourselves that anyone can have an idea, it’s the doing it, the not talking it to death, and the having more $$ to pay developers part that makes the difference). I digress.
I check Pinterest a few times a week and have boards for vacations I’ve envisioned and actually crossed off the list; for looks that inspire me from the runway shows that I regularly check when I’m in a wardrobe rut; and yes, I have the dream house board.
I’ve watched as comments quickly fell by the wayside and hearts stopped being super important to users and apparently the UI team. Messages made a come back a couple of months ago although I personally haven’t seen people really using it. The shared and private boards still seem a tad fringy. I haven’t made connections on Pinterest really. For that, there’s Twitter, Instagram, blogs and email.
But it’s the search thing that is the most compelling. The site has had a few little updates this summer, prioritizing the search bar itself and adding a suggested search term carousel. They call it guided search.
So why am I bothering saying and writing what pundits who get paid to do this have? Because I haven’t seen the conversation about Pinterest in client circles evolve as fast. And there may be come caution and burnout after Google+ and Circles, I get it. But I do think it’s worth monitoring the logged-out experience pretty closely over the next few months, from a content optimization and content marketing perspective.
Creative Mornings and Planning-Ness
So far, Autumn in New York has been packed with events and I’m beyond excited for the Future of Storytelling coming up. But before my mind moves on to something else, I thought I’d recap some highlights (mainly so I don’t forget).
I went to a Creative Mornings a few weeks ago to listen to Adam Alter’s talk about his first book Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors. The ironically enough colorblind researcher/author, gave a great presentation about how color has been shown to influence who we’re attracted to (wear red), increased athletic performance (wear black), and how we can tame aggression in men (drunk tank pink). His book is actually a collection of many other empirical studies on the role of color and our behavior and I’ve added it to my reading list.
The utterly delightful Megan Avarell (@Megatron) opened up the event with a lovely presentation on honoring the ordinary. Quite the remit for us Planners! While it’s hard to glean much from the deck, it really was a healthy reminder that if we’re in pursuit of extraordinary ideas, we have to start by thinking about ordinary people, using plain language, and making real choices about things that may or may not be easy to identify or explain.
Then ex-Ad man James Brown and now vedic meditation coach talked about maximizing flow. Why is this important to Planners? Because paying attention is what we get paid to do. Cultivating discipline around being better listeners and observers should be part of our professional growth. One thing he pointed out that I thought was especially powerful was that pre-1940s no one used the term, “I’m stressed.” Engineers used the term to predicate failure — when something was stressed, it eventually broke. The talk and the meditation got very “yoga,” which I love but I thought it was very powerful when he reminded us that “catastrophic thinking creates catastrophic results in the body.”
My absolute favorite talk came from cognitive scientist and all around awesome lady Alexandra Horowitz (@DogUmwelt), who taught us how to really look. She discussed the wonderful project On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, which she conducted her in New York, where she walked a block with everyone from a geologist, a typographer, a dog, a toddler, an urban wildlife expert, to a sound engineer… and simply listened and noted down what they observed. When setting up that project, she said, "All the good stuff is in the splendid details of the ordinary."
After her talk, we broke off into groups and did a similar exercise, just walking a block and noting down what our companions said. It was truly a meditation in just shutting up and observing the word choices other people use, the context with which they see the world, their schema, and where their attention goes when it’s unaided and what that’s all about.
She’s an absolutely wonderful speaker and presenter, and you can find a bunch of videos of her talks, if you’re so inclined.
Another speaker, and I’ve completely forgotten who, talked about how Aha! moments are formed and pointed to a Novick & Sherman 2003 study on the stuff, which you might find interesting: ‘‘Aha!’’: The Neural Correlates of Verbal Insight Solutions.
GAP’s New Normal
Just when sister brand Banana Republic has done dousing its shoppers with cutesy pop culture references like the “start-up guy,” along comes GAP, urging people to “dress normal” in its new campaign, featuring (what?) celebrities.
supes #normcore. #celebs #theyrejustlikeus
As AdWeek says slyly, “Gap is redefining the concept of normal from that of a collective norm to an individual belief. In other words, it now believes in normal relativism.”
Look, I of all people shouldn’t take issue with this, especially after I trashed the good people at Mini for trashing normal as boring not too long ago.
Also, for another time, but I believe in December 2012, I was in fact talking about normcore.
But these ideas just seem to be playing out a little too literally, don’t they?
Brilliant Insight: Unpaid Tobacco Spokesperson
One of the more interesting differences I’ve found in researching Gen X and Gen Y on behalf of a handful of brands over the last few years is their shifting opinion of advertising and what we used to call “selling out.”
As the clever people at YPulse put it, "For Boomers and Gen Xers, the idea of “selling out” was an artistic sin. Artists and fans alike looked down on the commercialization of the music they lived by. Flash forward a few decades and to say things have changed is an understatement of extreme proportions. Millennial artists and fans not only see commercial music use as a norm; they embrace it. Musicians have moved from merely performing and licensing their songs for big brands, to using their images to create products and brands themselves.”
That generational insight sits at the heart of the latest anti-tobacco Truth campaign that aired just now during the VMAs. Cleverly driving home the idea that in a celebrity culture where adorning yourself in sponsored goods is completely acceptable, the Unpaid Tobacco Spokesperson idea is brilliant. Check out the site and spot below.
Ikea may not kill Ikeahackers fan-site after all
A good move to embrace the fandoms. As we said before, IKEA could learn from LEGO’s approach to working with the AFOL community.
reblogged from emergentfutures
Ikeahackers — a venerable fan-site that competed with Ikea’s newly launched, empty “online community” — were previously threatened by Ikea and looked to face extinction.