Co.Design

Pinterest Introduces Secret Boards For Private Sharing

What was probably the world’s most public social network has added an unexpected layer: privately shared boards.

Pinterest didn’t just arrive. It exploded as a purely visual tour de force in what was a mostly text-centric social media landscape. Every pin by every user was capable of becoming a viral sensation. And much of that growth was realized because everything pinned was public, and unlike image-sharing rival Tumblr, relatively self-contained. And whereas Facebook was like a suburban neighborhood where you could stop lurkers at your front door, and Path was like an invite-only club, Pinterest was millions of gorilla-suited people holding signs on the side of the road, catching every eye possible.

But in a major update, Pinterest is offering the option to make any new board a “secret board.” Any new collection can be for your eyes only, or it can be shared with a few close people. As the company describes in their release:

We hope that secret boards will make Pinterest even more useful. You can use secret boards to keep track of holiday gifts, plan a special event, or work on a project you aren’t yet ready to share with the rest of the world. You can keep your secret boards to yourself or invite family and friends to pin with you.

In terms of sheer usability, it’s a great idea. With the flip of a single option, Pinterest can go from a “look at my awesome taste!” billboard to a private scrapbook for ideating a new user interface or figuring out what your siblings should buy your parents for Christmas. It essentially doubles Pinterest’s usefulness--giving it a purpose in our public and private lives.

Pinterest’s renewed privacy strategy is interesting. Whereas Instagram just announced that your identity was, whether you like it or not, becoming much more public, Pinterest is flipping the opposite direction, promising that your tastes can be more private. Examining the direction of all these giants, you can’t spot one standard driving the overall social engineering of online networks. So whether our status updates, tweets, and pins ultimately evolve into shouts to the world or whispers to friends is entirely unclear. For now, companies seems to be keeping their options open (which is, possibly, the real, inevitable future we’re heading toward).

Read more here.

[Hat tip: VentureBeat]

[Image: Cork Board via Shutterstock]

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8 Comments

  • Irene Velveteen

    To me, this was an obvious feature that should have been included from Day One of Pinterest.

  • Irene Velveteen

    Responding to the fact that most platforms already offer customisation of privacy settings. It seems a little delayed, Pinterest. Sorry.

  • jolievie

    This will make pinterest  a very useful tool for interior designers ,stylists etc.Perfect I' ve been hoping they would do something like this.

  • Dealing__

    Finally it has secret boards! I think that's a huge step, and really useful for freelancers and companies. Board can be shared privately to set common ground on what is going to be the aesthetics of the concepts with no hustle. I have been thinking about this feature for almost a year.

  • ext212

    Hooray for private wedding planning boards! I don't have to see what 90% of my girlfriends are pinning!

  • denny pallenberg

     25 bells just went off in my head about a much more visual way to save privately information about a project I am working on to share with my virtual team of contributors and advisers.  Identifying these user needs to complement the existing needs of its public users is a great new step forward.  I now start using it. 

  • Siafa Alvin

    I sorta get the usefulness if you want to plan a surprise event/project of some sort, but I can't help feeling like this flies in conflict of what made Pinterest so cool and useful. I liked that there was a completely open forum for sharing ideas - I've gotten a lot of cool people following my boards (leading to me following theirs in turn), and in some ways I think it kept people's behavior in check as well.

    I can't say that I'm all that surprised it was implemented, though.