(Final Project) Pinterest: A Background


As a boy, Ben Silbermann entertained a hobby shared by millions of people around the world: he collected things. Inspired by his passion, Silbermann hatched an innovative idea: Pinterest. Pinterest, he thought, could act like an online scrapbook – a place for people to search for and gather meaningful information. Some people prefer to search for recipes; some enjoy sharing favorite books; others use the website to save their favorite memes. Regardless of what one most enjoys, Pinterest is the place to keep it all together. The Essential Guide to Rhetoric describes one’s identity as the set of labels and patterns of behavior that make up your public persona. A person’s political power and social status are linked to the identity categories with which he affiliates (Keith 2008). Pinterest offers a different way to connect with the labels and patterns of behavior that define a person’s life.

“Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We… can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.” – Pinterest Mission Statement

Silbermann and a few close friends began work on Pinterest in late 2009. By March 2010, the site had opened to 5,000 select users for testing. Silbermann himself personally contact the first 5,000 users, asking for feedback and taking into consideration his betas’ thoughts and suggestions. The site officially launched in 2010 and soon after had over 10,000 users. However, it was not until the site was made into an application for the iPhone and iPad that it truly took off. It was named one of the 50 best websites and one of the top 10 best social networking sites of 2011.

Today, Pinterest is home to over 20 million users who use its services to create, collect, and organize… yet, of these 20 million users, a staggering 72% are female. What does this mean in conjunction with feminism, and how does it relate to the Internet phenomenon on role-playing games? This project will attempt to determine the implications of Pinterest, feminism, and a new type of RPG for rhetoric, writing, and gender communication. 


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