LUSTING FOR IMAGES? The virtual pinboard Pinterest allows users to “pin” or recommend products to over 20 million other users, most of whom are women.

Pinterest and porn

Like millions of other people, most of them women, I recently joined Pinterest. This online photo-sharing site is used to organize and recommend images according to topic or theme. The popular images on this virtual pinboard include cute baby animals, stunning gowns worn by toned models, elaborate cupcakes, shirtless men and beautiful cabinetry. Clothing, home décor and recipes are among the most common topics. Users can post images from other websites or “repin” images from other users.

The images may be nothing new, but the effect of aggregating and then sharing them is. Pinterest generates enormous amounts of Web traffic, and when users click links on Pinterest, it translates into dollars for retailers and bloggers.

The success of Pinterest seems to come from a visceral connection users have with the glossy virtual pinboards. What is the power of these images? Why the fascination? Whence the allure? And why are the pinners overwhelmingly female?

 

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