As the newest team member that contributes to this blog, I join with a slightly different background. Before working with media psychology, specifically, I worked with crime victims. Needless to say, headlines like this one –
“Police reunite stolen items with owners using Pinterest”
– definitely catch my eye. The advent of law enforcement using social networking sites as an extension of enforcement efforts is not necessarily new. The emergence of Pinterest as a key player in that paradigm, however, is fascinating, to be sure.
Pinterest is an online, image driven, social networking platform boasting 70 million users (Smith, 2013). According to Cindy Tekobbe (2013), Pinterest is the fastest growing online social platform, outstripping even Facebook in its growth; its interactive design is image-driven; its membership is overwhelmingly female (87%); and member relationships are created around shared interests and images rather than personal connection.
Despite limitations for in-depth social interaction, Ottoni and colleagues (2013) determined that communication still happens in the form of likes and repins. These features are invaluable and provide a unique advantage for users – from individuals to advertisers to communities. Indeed, community leaders all over the U.S. have been using this to their benefit with local municipalities creating Pinterest pages as viable enforcement tools. With hundreds of arrests credited to civic support via Pinterest (Knell, 2013), the community safety net has been cast much wider than ever before.
Knell, N. (2013, January 4). Catching criminals on Pinterest? Government Technology [Online]. Retrieved from http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/Catching-Criminals-on-Pinterest.html
Ottoni, R., Pesce, J. P. Las Casa, D., Franciscani Jr., G., Meira, Jr., W., Kumaraguru, P., & Almeida, V. (2013, July). Ladies first: Analyzing gender roles and behavior in Pinterest. Paper presented at the 7th Annual International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), Boston, USA.
Smith, C. (2013, August 5). How many people use the top social media, apps, and services? DMR: Digital Marketing Ramblings. Retrieved from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-top- social-media/
Tekobbe, C. K. (2013). A site for fresh eyes. Information, Communication & Society, 16(3), 381-396. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2012.756052