Pinterest is a Visual Search Engine, Not a Social Network

by | Aug 3, 2017

First things first, is there anyone who legitimately used Pinterest as a social network? When my mom first started using the internet, she would send me links via Facebook Messenger non-stop. None of it was relevant to my life or interests, and when I questioned this onslaught of messages after a few days, she told me that this way she could go back to what she sent me and find the stuff she wanted to keep track of.

I tried to explain that what she needed to do was bookmark those pages, but that was a lost cause. So I introduced her to Pinterest. I explained that it was the digital equivalent of cutting recipes or articles out of magazines and pinning them to a cork board in the kitchen. My thought process was that bookmarks would just give her a string of text as descriptions, but Pinterest would let her see her collection of links visually.

She made it about 3 days before she went back to the Facebook Messenger route, which resulted in me permanently turning off Facebook Messenger notifications so that her latest find for stain removal didn’t wake me up at 4am.

This week, Pinterest announced that the “Lens” feature will have a more prominent location in the mobile app. The Lens feature is essentially a reverse image search, allowing you to take a photo and use Pinterest to search for things that, visually, are similar. Personally, I think this is a great move and where Pinterest excels as a search engine. Now if only I could talk people into making it their bookmark platform!


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Sarah recently relocated to Grand Rapids from metro Detroit, by way of Southern Indiana. She stumbled into a career in marketing accidentally with a focus on the outdoor industry and hunting. She has never been hunting, and her worst memories as a kid are of attempted camping trips. Her hobbies and interests include binge-watching sitcoms, teaching herself WordPress and Adobe Creative Suite, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. She is obsessed with understanding BitCoin, even though she knows she never will.