The Secret History of Pinterest — REVEALED!

Do you feel like you woke up a week ago and Pinterest had taken over the world?  I read on Twitter (so it is true, of course) that Pinterest is now bigger than Google, will be running for President of the United States, and is recording an album of Justin Bieber cover songs.

The meteoric success of Pinterest has shocked everyone.

Except me.

I have it all figured out. You see, Pinterest makes perfect sense if you just look at the natural evolution of social media …


When blogging first caught on, people actually wrote things. There was a post, comments, debate, and dialogue. But then something happened. Blogging went mainstream and became so popular that soon there were thousands and thousands of blogs.  Even plumbing companies had blogs (a sub-genre known as clog blogs). What to do? Where to go? We needed something to help us consume more of these blogs quickly. So that led to …


Numbered lists! That’s the answer! Bite-sized morsels of information like “The 10 Worst Blogging Mistakes” and “The Five Biggest LinkedIn Tips!” Bloggers learned how to dumb-down the content by counting it down! Putting a number in a headline was the key to RT Nirvana. But the information density continued to get progressively worse as companies of all sizes got in on the content marketing game. Now what do we do to communicate to people who have less and less time to read our lists?  I know! We’ll make our blog posts into a picture called an infographic!  This led to a strategy where companies and bloggers could communicate with EVEN LESS CONTENT!


INFOGRAPHICS A-GO-GO:   2010 – 2011

A typical well-researched Infographic

Well if people won’t even read our listicles any more, let’s turn our content into a colorful illustration. It’s kind of like using cartoons to tell your stories. Let’s not make people read.  Let’s just SHOW them what they need to know. And if we don’t have the data, we’ll just make it up. Only 4.6 percent of social media users ever check a fact any way. And yes, I just made that up.  See how easy that was? But soon, the web was FLOODED with infographics. We needed another breakthrough — an innovation that would be even less challenging to over-taxed web users.  Let’s just cut out the information!  We’ll simply show people photographs of stuff!



Pretty pictures!  Woot!  And MORE pretty pictures! Let’s face it, that’s all we can really handle these days, right?  We’re just too busy to read, think, or process an idea.  Just show us a picture of a cute dog or a wedding dress dammit. Of course … It all makes perfect sense. Pinterest is truly a reflection of our society, and a natural evolution of a need to create and distribute information that takes less and less time and attention.

Where will this all lead?  In my mind it can only go to …



So we have moved down the line from meaningful, debate-worthy blog posts to pictures of crafts and puppies.  Where can we go from here? I think the painter Piet Mondrian had it right.  When he and other painters moved their craft into a new level of simplistic abstraction, all they had left was lines and primary colors.  So I predict that the next big thing will be a social platform I dub “Mondrian” (maybe I need to delete a vowel to be cool – Mndrian?) which will consist solely of colors, lines, and occasional grunts, which will replace the too-complicated “like” button.

So there you have it. The history of Pinterest and the future of social media in five paragraphs.  Hope it wasn’t too much to read?  😎

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