Pinterest: For All to See?

Pinterest has had something of a buzz about it in these past few months, and although I’m now late to the party, I’ve finally been granted access to create an account of my own.

I first encountered Pinterest after hearing word of it and duly proceeding to pinterest.com. What I was saw seemed a little too busy for my eyes, but the concept was clear: post ‘stuff’ onto a web-based board of your own devising, sorted into a variety of categories. It seemed to be something between the ‘likes’ section of a Facebook profile and a tumblelog, of which I have many.

Now that I’ve been allowed in to try Pinterest, I find it has much more in common with Tumblr than I had first thought – right down to the reblogging and the dashboard stream, albeit one which is presented differently. The only major difference I can find is that Pinterest does not allow pseudonymity between blogs. I now feel quite strongly that this is something of an understated feature in Tumblr.

On Pinterest, every one of a user’s boards is available to view under their profile. Tumblr allows users to post to their individual blogs, or to view the comments and activity for each, but does not have this style of profile. This means that unless a user explicitly links to their other blogs in the description or layout, no-one may know there is any sort of link between them. This is because Tumblr portrays each blog as a username, so if you follow my Maps in Games project¬†through your own Tumblr dashboard, you will only ever see posts attributed to either “maps-in-games” or the user who submitted a post – never “sinnyo”, “ludometer” or “raypunk”, which are the usernames for some of my other “tumblelogs”.

There are pros and cons to doing this:

  • Pinterest quickly becomes a simpler way to share all¬†your interests, making it much more social, while Tumblr stands as more of a curating service, with isolated blogs on a particular theme.
  • Pinterest becomes yet another service in which we find we may have to self-censor, while Tumblr maintains an easy anonymity, allowing people to create dedicated channels if they feel they need to.

One of the joys I find in Tumblr is the sheer diversity of its content, and this includes content of an erotic nature, which can be deeply moving, artistic and inspirational. I make no real secret of my ‘main’ tumblelog, which does include ‘NSFW’ work, but nor do I want to expose people to it in inappropriate settings. It’s a tough call for a service whose ‘mission’ is to have its users express what inspires them.

Like I’ve said, there is a clear ‘pro’ – Pinterest is evidently a fun tool for people making wishlists, sharing fanart and fashion tips, or who feel confident (or free) enough to abandon privacy concerns about the content they post. I was simply fascinated by this little-publicised feature (or lack of one) in Tumblr, which actually leaves me feeling freer to express myself.