Pintrest is no longer just a space for planning one’s dream wedding decor or interior decorating scheme. I recently learned of a practice to transfer all images used on a blog or twitter feed onto a Pintrest page. The owner of Pintrest page can curate the images into whatever narrative they see fit. For example, the Pintrest page for “African Diaspora, PhD” displays the images featured on the blog African Diaspora, PhD. Pintrest has been gaining ground as a powerful content creation tool for the business world. But what are the implications for curating Pintrest boards that tackle issues in the humanities?
Due to its ease of use, the wide availability of browser and mobile phone plug-ins, Pintrest is an accessible collection tool for visual data. The half-life of content on the internet, meaning the time it takes for a post to accumulate fifty percent of its total views, is usually very short. For Facebook, it can be as short as ninety minutes. For Pintrest, a post can keep showing up for three and a half months, which gives pins a longer shelf life. So content will stick around much longer than your average Facebook post, theoretically reaching more people.
But is there a difference between museum curation and internet curating? Museum Geek provides a great discussion on the use of the term “curator” in this digital age. Personally, I think the concept of anyone able to curate a topic that they find interesting is valuable because people can acquire a personal investment in humanities topic. One can think through their editing process. What should be included and why? If people can conceive of themselves as a curators of information then perhaps that will give them a deeper understanding of the curation process for museums. What if museum sites had an application that allowed users to curate their own imaginary online exhibitions from objects in the collection? Would that help interest in the collection?
Another point to consider when using programs like Pintrest is the risk of too much random data and not enough organization. So if one posts a set of images on Facebook, then Twitter, and then curates a board on Pintrest, Also, do we run the risk of too much data and not enough linkages to organize it all? Pintrest is good for general interest type of content but when you start to want more specialized content, it becomes harder to refine the search. Pintrest is also very consumer driven so does that mesh with the academic and educational goals of museum curation? So if images are curated on Pintrest, posted on Twitter and Facebook, how is everything linked? How can one person make sense of all this data?