Paul Melcher's selection
It's a new year and along with it, like every year ( if not very week), it brings along a new social media hype. While they switch and change, some disappearing ( myspace) and some growing stronger ( Facebook), they all seem to share one thing in common : photography. Most, if not all, prominently use photography as an anchor point around which friends, family, fans and followers gather and discuss. It is no surprise as photographs are created for one purpose only : to share. When we snap a picture, wether be it of familiar faces or foreign landscape, of news events or food, we have one thought it mind : Show the resulting picture to someone else.
It's just part of the way we communicate and more than often, it is so much easier than a long text description. While Flickr was probably the first successful social media platform built around photographs, Facebook is now the biggest. For how long ?
In comes Pinterest. Described as “ a pinboard-styled social photo sharing website. The service allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections.”, it is fast becoming the latest trendy social hangout for web surfing aficionados.
The reason ? It is extremely easy to use. Once a bookmarklet is installed on your browser's toolbar, you can pick any image of any site and add it to your board in 2 clicks. After that thousands upon millions of people can see it and “repin” it. There is a lot of discussion going around currently regarding the legality of Pinterest. Obviously, there is massive copyright infringement issues here as anyone can easily take an image form one site and place it Pinterest without ever having any authorization nor, obviously, paying a license fee. Most images get pinned along with a URL back to their original source. While some like this marketing feature, it is not enough for most, especially anyone making money out of licensing images. The debate is still on, especially since the site has passed 10 million users and is growing very rapidly.
Outside of the controversy, there is something very seducing about Pinterest. One can browse and discover what kind of photographs are popular as well as discover photography from previously unknown sources. Since the Pinterest members are the curators, the content is an ever changing flow of surprising and mostly unsurprising content where iconic images clash with cute kitty porn mixed with original and creative content.
If one would like to discover the current photography taste trends, it is a great place to hang out. No need to be a member or to pin anything to see what is going on. No need either to go there every day, every hour. A few visits here and there a month are quite sufficient. And since Pinterest offers a section entirely focused on photography, there is even no need to scroll through endless images of handbags, dresses and shampoo.