Pinterest – Melbourne’s attractions are going seriously viral
The clatter of the www is driving many men, and even more women, to seek time efficient ways of navigating the web; turning to the tried and tested methods of the fridge magnet or pinboard, although in its digital version.
Magnets and pinboards are familiar to anyone managing a busy household and with the novelty value of Facebook fading, enter “Pinterest”. It’s just another kitchen pinboard, but this time in a digital and personalised form. Unlike Facebook, you don’t have to interact with anyone – Pinterest is private.
As all Facebook users are aware, it is a social medium about your friends and you and there is a group or clan-ish focus. In practice, not all of our Facebook friends or even all of our “real” friends are interesting. With Pinterest you follow digital boards that interest you and by definition anyone who shares similar interests. Pinterest is less about following people and more about celebrating and exploring our interests.
So what’s the attraction? Visitation to Pinterest has grown from just over a million in mid-2011 to nearly 15 million in April 2012 – fast dissemination by any measure. It is estimated that visitation will exceed 200 million by the end of 2012 – seven months away! If you are not participating yet, you probably will be before the year is out…unless of course you are a laggard! So here’s how it works.
How often have you found yourself surfing the web, just looking, and you find an ideal place to visit, an event on next weekend or a great recipe? You decide to cook, but can’t you track down the recipe. You know that you saw it somewhere and you finally pick one, but it turns out to be different from the one that you saw originally.
Pinterest allows you to “pin” the image of that cupcake onto your own Recipe Board. So when you decide to bake next weekend, you can visit Pinterest, find the image and click directly through to the webpage and recipe. There’s no need to spend hours searching.
Whilst the boards that you create are yours and are managed exclusively by you, everyone can see them and can re-pin appealing items onto their own interests. Unlike what happens with Facebook, in Pinterest you follow strangers with similar interests (or if you prefer you can follow your friends). Anonymity is part of Pinterest’s charm and you don’t need to know the others involved. You don’t even need to care. Pinterest allows you to create your own digital collections and then place them onto boards. Most people will only have a few, but those ‘seeking attention’ may end up with hundreds of boards and thousands of pins.
Within the top 10 most viral categories, is Travel and Holidays, trailing just behind Food, Style & Fashion and Arts & Crafts. Many tourism destinations and marketers are now getting on-board, and are spreading the word about their attractions and promised experiences. As is often the case in the digital space, Destination Melbourne is off to a roaring start using this vehicle to provide prospective visitors with a quick and easy way to navigate the www through its pins. Check it out on http://pinterest.com/destmelbourne/.
Authors: Professor Brian King
Professor of Tourism Management at Victoria University
Lecturer in Marketing at Victoria University