(I promise you, a real post is coming. It’s sitting in drafts waiting for pictures. Soon.)
We’ve been friends for a really long time. I joined not long after you first launched, and I talked a ludicrous number of friends into jumping on board. This was the tool I’d been looking for. Something that allowed me to catalog things by pictures I’d seen on websites, and group them together so that I could skim through each visual folder to find what I was looking for, instead of having to have endless folders in my bookmarks, and then figure out what to call each thing so that I could distinguish one meatball recipe from another. It seems absurd to say “Pinterest changed my life,” but in some ways, it’s true. We’ll come back to that later, but for now, I’ll only say this about how you’ve changed my internet life – I have 3.1k pins on 53 boards. That is a lot of pins.
You’ve made a lot of changes since I joined. Some of those changes have been pretty awesome. You launched an app, which has made it easier to add inspiration I spot randomly “in the wild.” You launched secret boards, which I have used for gifts, surprise parties, and so much more. Other changes, I’ve been pretty neutral about. The addition of “promoted pins,” has been kind of irritating, but I get that you’ve got to make money somewhere, so ads are a necessary evil. There are a few changes, however, that have seriously killed my use of your tool, and I want to talk about those.
Let’s start with these godforsaken “picked for you” pins, and the introduction of “News”. One of the things that I have loved for so long about Pinterest is that my “home feed” was a place to go to see what my friends and family were pinning. What is interesting/funny/pick an adjective to them? I repinned a lot of these things. It was quick and easy to jump on, scroll through what people I chose to follow were pinning, and then go find what I really wanted by either searching or popping the board I needed up to find my pins. Since the release of these “picked for you” pins, I spend about 20 minutes looking at crap I didn’t sign up for and don’t particularly care to see. Why do I spend so long on this? Because I’m having to go into each of these pins, click the x, and then “hide all pins related to x.” I set my settings to tell you not to use personalization on my feed, and yet, here we are. I want to be able to tell you, Pinterest, that I do not care what you think I’m interested in. I don’t care that you see everything I pin, I don’t care that you’re trying to give me things that I could also be interested in based on what I pin. If I want recommendations based on a specific pin, I will click on it and then scroll all the way down to see “related pins.” And damnit, I want you to listen to that. I also want you to stop deciding that when I tell you I don’t want pins related to a board, it means you can pick things related to a pin. STOP IT.
On that same note, if you get rid of these “picked for you pins,” you can ALSO get rid of the “News.” The fact that Jen pinned 30 pins to her baby board is absolutely not news. I should be able to scroll down my home feed and see that she pinned all these pins. I don’t need another notification about it. Notifications used to be “hey, someone repinned your pin!” or “hey, your pin got 15 likes!” They were fun. They were a way to track how other people were viewing the things I was pinning, which is pretty cool when you’re signed up for a business account based on your little blog. Fix the home feed, lose the fake news, and then I will probably come back more. I say probably because we still have a pretty big issue.
Can we please also talk about your categorization issues? Maybe this isn’t completely a Pinterest problem, maybe this is also a Pinterest-User problem, but if that’s the case, we need a way to fix it. You see, one of my favorite things to do when I’m having a crappy day is to open Pinterest, click on “Humor,” and scroll. It mostly fixes things. But pretty often, I’ll come across something that terrifies me. Like the fact that pins with study tips for the NCLEX are often categorized as humor. If you’re going to let this happen, Pinterest, I need the ability to click the pin and tell you that this pin is in the wrong spot.
And as long as we’re talking about pins being categorized incorrectly, I’m going to pop back to that little thing where I said I was mostly neutral on “promoted pins.” Please stop putting ads for shoes and clothes and whatever into the middle of a recipe search. When you launched “promoted pins,” you promised that they would be relevant, and that we would see promoted pins that related back to the searches we were doing (in case you’ve forgotten that bit, here’s the link). In your update earlier this year, you reiterated that that was the intention when your product manager stated that she was looking for ideas to redecorate, and found a rug that was a promoted pin from Target – that was what these pins should be. These pins are not that. I’ve got pins about engagement rings showing up in recipe and humor searches, pins on weight loss in craft searches, and my favorite from just now has to be “how to help your best friend through breast cancer,” promoted by HealthLine in the middle of “Quotes.” You’re better than this, Pinterest.
I want to love you again, Pinterest. I really, really do. But for some reason, you are hell bent on driving me away. You used to be comprised of like-minded people who genuinely cared about making your site a place to be inspired, a place to carefully store things until they were needed. A place to laugh, a place to cry, a place to be consoled. You held words, art, and food to bring people together. Dreams were tucked away on pins. Now, that orderly little place is gone. It’s a mess of ads and things I didn’t sign up to see, poor algorithms including irrelevant things in my searches. Please, Pinterest, be better. It’s time to look back at the intentions that drove your founders to spend all that time creating you, and figure out what went wrong.
If you got this far and use Pinterest, congratulations. This next part is for you.
For the love of all that is good and holy in this world, check your links before you pin. I swear to Jesus, if I click through on ONE MORE adorable pin and then have to google because you pinned off someone’s front page, and NOT off the permalinked post, I am going to lose my mind. If you love something on someone’s blog so much that you have to pin it, do us all a favor and click through to the actual post before pinning. Because, JFC, you’re going to kill me.