Pinterest and Its Algorithm
Pinterest is an app that allows you to share images while also networking at the same time, which has also always been affiliated with the idea of creativity. On Pinterest, users create an account and have a profile, where they can look up a variety of images that range from almost any object you could possibly think of. With those searches, after you find what you are looking for, you have the ability to “pin” the image. This means that image will be pinned and connected to your profile, where you can easily access it next time you open the app and don’t have to go searching through your phone. Not only does Pinterest benefit yourself, but it is also a networking app, where you can follow your friends and share ideas with one another, creating a large community that allows people to express themselves and show their interests. Some things that people might pin, and share are recipes, home inspiration, Halloween costume ideas, or even art that people have created and can use for something. Point is, you can explore as much as you’d like, and share all different kinds of ideas that please you.
With that being said, what is fun and manageable about the app is the usage of an algorithm. This one source states that an algorithm, “is a series of instructions telling a computer how to transform a set of facts about the world into useful information. The facts are data, and the useful information is knowledge for people, instructions for machines or input for yet another algorithm” (Denny). What I liked about this definition of an algorithm is that the way its worded helps easily explain Pinterest. For example, let’s say you are interested in baking some fun and decorative cookies for a Christmas party you are going to attend, but you are having a hard time deciding what the design should be. That is when you open Pinterest and type “Christmas cookie ideas.”
You see in this image from my personal search that Pinterest is automatically helping you find what you are looking for, as it attempts to make your search easier in order for you to find what you are looking for. Not only does Pinterest help you out in this specific situation, but it will also remember your search history. That means that next time you open the application, and you are on your home page, Christmas themed ideas will appear. This is because the application has realized you have found an interest, showed it attention by opening different images, and is trying to help you get even more creative and show you what the app believes you enjoy. The reason I bring up an algorithm when talking about restrictions is that when Pinterest is continuing to show you images based on your searches, that is all it is showing you. Your Pinterest feed and algorithm can be completely different than almost every other person you’ll meet because the app makes your profile, account, page, and feed for you. It has a very similar concept as the app TikTok’s “For You Page”, where videos are shown on your feed based on videos you have liked. The same thing goes for Pinterest, just with images. Pinterest is restricting you to see everything or any other thing that isn’t in your search or in your interest, until you physically search the next thing. There are pros and cons to this for sure, but I will say it can make your job much easier when you are trying to find the perfect design, idea, or gift!
Denny, Jory. “What Is an Algorithm? How Computers Know What to Do with Data.” The Conversation. The Conversation, July 29, 2021. https://theconversation.com/what-is-an-algorithm-how-computers-know-what-to-do-with-data-146665.
Lundstrom, Kathryn. “Pinterest Saw Massive Q3 Revenue Gains.” Adweek. Adweek, October 28, 2020. https://www.adweek.com/convergent-tv/pinterest-saw-huge-q3-gains-as-ad-spend-shifted-from-facebook/.