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December 6, 2010 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Pinterest is a social catalog service. Think of it as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can post collections of things you love, and "follow" collections created by people with great taste.
posted by Jodio (35 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's kinda like Tumblr?

I like the little "Scroll to Top" button.
posted by OmieWise at 8:07 AM on December 6, 2010


I really wish people could find another term besides "curate" for this sort of activity - it's not really analogous to curating; it could more accurately be called collecting, cataloguing, presenting, or selecting.
posted by Miko at 8:12 AM on December 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


Reminds me of SpaceCollective. And I do think these guys have way cooler posts.
posted by mooselini at 8:24 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was hoping it was a site where people could write and also rate pastiches of Harold Pinter. 'Cause that would be cool.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:27 AM on December 6, 2010


It's kinda like Tumblr?

Yes in that it uses that annoying box navigation. Does anyone like that? I hate it. It makes it all but impossible to systematically review site archives.

No in that it's actually WORKING RIGHT NOW (but I'm not bitter, TUMBLR).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:28 AM on December 6, 2010


it's not really analogous to curating

So then what does "curating" mean in the museum world? I'll admit to only really knowing the mix tape / fashion show / link blog sense of the word.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:31 AM on December 6, 2010


Since it appears that Google has never seen the phrase "social catalog service" before.. I'm guessing this is THE "social catalog service", not A "social catalog service". Although I'm not sure that the world really needed even one.

That said... I'm suggesting that the site be renamed "Aren't I Cute", or perhaps "Look How Cool I Am", or that old standby "Attention Whore Central"......

This is why we don't do self links on MetaFilter....
posted by HuronBob at 8:40 AM on December 6, 2010


When did curating start to mean buying stuff? If it just means selecting, then my refrigerator is a revolving exhibit, curated by me, from a wide variety of sources. I'm carefully considering how the new acquisitions will fit in with my old collection of mustards, jams and various sauces, as well as de-accessioning those that are past their sell-by dates or have dried up. Funds have been allocated for the replacement of those items that are no longer worthy of the storage space.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are these photos of real people? - Or are they clip art from various catalogs. It looks like the latter to me.
posted by carter at 8:45 AM on December 6, 2010


I tend to be a little more optimistic about the world around me. I love this particular website because it allows for a glimpse into the emerging modern aesthetic of the world. Not only is one creating a unique profile, but also assisting others to realize their palette as well.

Art historian hat off.
posted by Jodio at 8:46 AM on December 6, 2010


Did I sound too harsh?
posted by HuronBob at 8:46 AM on December 6, 2010


Well the relevant definition essentially just means to be "in charge of...(presumably some collection)", I can see how that can be differentiated from "owning", or "collecting". I can also see how you can own a collection AND curate it as well.
posted by edgeways at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2010


Jodio, you might should have noted that you are a participant on that site..
posted by HuronBob at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2010


HuronBob,

So, so sorry! Did I goof? I didn't create the sight or link to my page. I can't share something that is super cool with the world? Anyway, if it needs to come down, it needs to come down.

:/
posted by Jodio at 8:59 AM on December 6, 2010


Right off the bat you have to request an invite to be a curator, and one of the curators relocates a pretty well known building shaped like a basket.
posted by fixedgear at 9:01 AM on December 6, 2010


I also like zootool and of course ffffound.com.
posted by jragon at 9:04 AM on December 6, 2010


Pinter-est?

It's perfect for me, because I love long, meaningful pauses.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:15 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


So then what does "curating" mean in the museum world?

People are a little testy about it in the museum world due to the pop culture proliferation of the term. Not that there's anything wrong with pop culture, but it makes it seem as though curating is nothing but selecting things, and the term in museums is pretty specific and takes in a range of functions, all related to objects.

In museums, curators are in charge of caring for and researching a collection with a view toward strengthening it in some way - making it offer more knowledge or understanding. One problem with the idea of curation as "selecting" is that some curators never even get to select, acquire or display any part of the collections they're responsible for - but that's not an essential part of the job, even though it's common enough.

They are supposed to create new knowledge about the collection, through new research, and then disseminate, through writing, interpretation, exhibitions, or and/or teaching. They're also supposed to see that the objects are properly cared for - usually working in concert with conservators and/or collections care people, when those services are available. Curators also usually lead the decision to recommend objects for acquisition and for deaccessioning (getting rid of) objects that are no longer useful to the museum. They serve as content experts in their collecting areas, and bring in contacts or advisory boards to increase the museum's knowledge of something they might not have full understanding about. They're almost like university faculty in their responsibility for advancing the institution's collective knowledge about its collection.

Another part of the misconception is that the pop-culture version of "curating" is usually about someone selecting what they think are the "bests" of some type of genre or category of thing, so that "curated collection of records" really means something more like "personal top ten in such-and-such a genre of records." Museum curators don't deal with only the best objects. Sometimes, really lousy examples of an object are important to the teaching function of a museum. Sometimes they select and present objects just because they are the only example the museum has access to, maybe to fill a hole in the collection where there were none previously. They select objects for their ability to illuminate, illustrate, and teach, not necessarily for their inherent awesomeness or superiority.

Here's a decent generic job description.
posted by Miko at 9:15 AM on December 6, 2010 [12 favorites]


They select objects for their ability to illuminate, illustrate, and teach, not necessarily for their inherent awesomeness or superiority.

This is exactly how I curate my love life.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:19 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


That said... I'm suggesting that the site be renamed "Aren't I Cute", or perhaps "Look How Cool I Am", or that old standby "Attention Whore Central"......

This is why we don't do self links on MetaFilter....


Good thing this isn't that then. If you don't like the site then say that, but don't attack the poster because of it. Participating in a site that you post to the front page isn't self linking by any means.

self-link - you posted something to MetaFilter that is on your own site or that you contributed heavily towards

I don't think being a single member on a site with a couple hundred counts as "heavily". The fact that you call the iste "Attention Whore Central" is pretty telling as to what your actual attitude is.
posted by codacorolla at 9:22 AM on December 6, 2010


Curate just sounds cooler. Makes dropping 300 bucks on split colored 12" sound almost noble. Whever I drag some girl back to my place to check out my record collection I am practically Peggy Guggenheim.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:27 AM on December 6, 2010


People are a little testy about it in the museum world due to the pop culture proliferation of the term. Not that there's anything wrong with pop culture, but it makes it seem as though curating is nothing but selecting things, and the term in museums is pretty specific and takes in a range of functions, all related to objects.

Ah, yeah. Got it. Thanks — useful distinction.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:34 AM on December 6, 2010


Actually, I will find this enormously useful. I've always operated with complicated systems for collecting and managing visual inspiration, but it's been awkward with more and more digital sources (dragging images into an illustrator file is stupid, yes it is). This will be a great way to collect and sort stuff that I think is interesting and might be useful someday.

What is odd to me is the idea that the collection itself, or the act of collecting, is worth something or somehow valuable. This service does seem to encourage that kind of masturbatory show offiness - "look at my oh so precious taste in things!" but don't discount the usefulness of a tool that helps you collect stuff as a means to an end.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:37 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, so these people don't own these things, they just cruise the internet looking for stuff?

Makes a certain amount of sense. Pre internet some people had Manhattan Portage messenger bags, Whenever you asked anyone where they got them there was always alot of hemming and hawing. Part of what made them cool was knowing where to get one. Now that you can just google messenger bag, knowing where to get one is no longer an issue, what is cool is knowing about a specific messenger bag out of the millions available on the internet.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:50 AM on December 6, 2010


don't discount the usefulness of a tool that helps you collect stuff as a means to an end.

Also don't discount the usefulness of a tool that lets you take a look inside the thought process of a person and see a visual representation of what they think is noteworthy, trendy, cool, and worth collecting. The users are basically mining the internet for you, and condensing your browsing to a single site.
posted by codacorolla at 9:59 AM on December 6, 2010


Codacorolla,

I didn't say it was a self link, I just encouraged her to note she was a member, it helps define the relationship and keeps it from becoming questionable. If I am a contributor to a blog (which is what that is), I would feel a responsibility to state that in a link at MetaFilter (and, no, I don't know where the critical number is as to how many people contribute to make it necessary to do that).

I said this is WHY we don't do self links here.. The links on that site are things that people own (pictures, the actual item, who knows, it isn't clear to me), but they have a vested interest, it's a way of showing off to some extent.. thus the "attention whore" comment... It just felt like a "look what I own, isn't/aren't it/I wonderful" feel to it.. And, that wasn't intended to be directed towards the OP, sorry if it came across that way.

but, hey, that's just my opinion... That and $10 will get you a cup of coffee... and, this should be in Meta, but I don't think it's worth a whole post there....
posted by HuronBob at 10:04 AM on December 6, 2010


Pinterest is a social catalog service.

Am I the only one who was expecting a Harold Pinter fan site?

I am? I'll be over here in the theatre nerd corner...
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:08 AM on December 6, 2010


Aaaand it turns out I'm not the only one. That'll teach me to read a thread all the way through. =/
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:09 AM on December 6, 2010


My first impression was "Tumblr for people who love shopping at Anthropologie."

I signed up recently but haven't really done anything with it. There's something slightly off-putting about so much pretty in one space. A combination of visual sugar shock and a dawning suspicion that it's all just cleverly disguised advertising.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:31 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm totally in favor of people trying new ways to organize visual (and, heck, text) information. I feel like the systems we have, the windows and documents and such, are not really all that. Sometimes I wish there were more ways to maintain a "bulletin board" like I do in real life, with oddly placed, layered, scattered content that is all laid out one or two levels deep across a wide visual plane. Sometimes I want to write 20 things on small scraps of paper and shuffle them around to recombine in many ways. Sometimes I really miss HyperCard.
posted by Miko at 10:37 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


People are a little testy about it in the museum world due to the pop culture proliferation of the term.

People in the museum world should lighten up. This curator is not at all testy about the fact that 'curating' has suddenly become cool.
posted by verstegan at 2:00 PM on December 6, 2010


Some lovely images, but gah.. who has the time for all these sites? There's not enough hours in the day for all the social media sites that are out there. (Basically, this genre is quickly falling under the twin headings of 'self indulgent' and 'I need an account on this site like I need a hole in the head')
posted by Mael Oui at 7:31 PM on December 6, 2010


I'd thought about making this FPP myself, as I've been a happy Pinterest user (same user name) for about a month or so now. Some of the bits of criticism here aren't totally unwarranted - some boards do look like the Anthropologie catalog, there are whole piles of cute, searching is pretty freaking difficult - but I've enjoyed collecting things that are visually inspiring or appealing to me.

I think the term "curator" has been used because the ideal boards are created by selective people of taste. They choose consciously what to add to their boards. It's not just "Let me go to Urban Outfitters and Banana Republic and the Sundance Catalog and pin all the pretty things!"; it can be much more cohesive and broad. I know that on my jewelry board (the one I've spent the most time/effort on) I look at many more pieces than I pin.

I guess Pinterest makes sense to me as a social networking site because it strikes me personally as different. Twitter and Facebook and [your favorite blogging platform here] are mostly about words. It could be argued that Tumblr is meant to share visual media socially, but it still strikes me as a blogging platform. I think the value of Pinterest is not just seeing what individual things people choose to pin, but what they group together.

Or, y'know, to ogle more pretty Etsy jewelry than I could buy or wear in 10 lifetimes.
posted by booksherpa at 7:46 PM on December 6, 2010


Not a single mention of delicio.us? Our attention spans and memories are getting shorter.
posted by DU at 4:22 AM on December 7, 2010


I use delicio.us, but really mainly for work links that I'm not going to visit often. Also, it's text-based, not image-based, so it didn't really come to mind.
posted by Miko at 5:50 AM on December 7, 2010


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