My name is Sophie and I’m a Pinterest-aholic. I can quite happily spend hours on this most inspirational of social sites, poring over anything from gorgeous teapots, to coloured buttons, to mind bending architecture.
As I gazed at a beautifully curated board of fonts this morning, I started to wonder, has anything bad ever happened on Pinterest? While Twitter and Facebook hit the headlines almost daily for its users’ trolling, online bullying and all manner of other bizarre behaviour, Pinterest seems to remain a pristine world of total loveliness.
I tried to find an example of something bad that had happened on Pinterest, but the best I could come up with was this charming Buzzfeed article about a girl who assigned Hitler and Stalin quotes to Taylor Swift.
To see another example of Pinterest’s goodness, I tried typing ‘women are’ into Facebook:
And finally, Pinterest:
See the difference?
So what can explain this phenomenon? You might argue that it’s because Pinterest is predominantly used by women. And well, it seems that most trolling and other such loathsome online activity is carried out by men. (That said, in the famous trolling of feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, a woman was one of those successfully prosecuted.) And women also dominate most social channels, not just Pinterest.
So what else might make Pinterest a vitriol free zone? In part it comes down to the way Pinterest run their platform. Unlike other social media sites they have made a firm decision about the sort of place they want Pinterest to be, and have developed strict policies about what you can and can not upload. To test this out I tried searching for ‘boobs’ and got a telling off from Pinterest in return. This not only controls the content uploaded, but also sends a clear message to users about the way in which the site should be used.
Further, as Dr. Christopher Long argues:
“Pinterest boards are like its users’ personal happiness collages. [They represent] things that I appreciate, that I desire, and that express who I am, whether the things are cupcakes, shirtless David Beckham, or an inspirational quotation.”
Is it this combination of inspiration and aspiration which drives Pinterest users to express what is best in themselves, rather than what is worst, which promotes the positive over the negative and which makes Pinterest such a vibrant and inspirational place to spend time?
What do you think? And what’s more, am I wrong? Has something bad ever happened on Pinterest?