Elsewhere

CircleMe Lets You Rediscover Yourself Online - Jennifer Hicks via Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2012/04/06/circleme-lets-you-rediscover-yourself-online/

I was blissfully unaware of CircleMe until this morning, when my friend Jenny Hick’s piece at Forbes crossed my radar screen. Now I have another social platform to investigate:

Jennifer Hicks via Forbes

CircleMe is a social network of sorts, but only because our understanding and acceptance of connecting to people is now defined as a social network. CircleMe is however, is not based on the people you know, but on the things you like.

But, here is where CircleMe diverges from the standard, cookie-cutter social networks of today: CircleMe wants you to re-connect with yourself  — meaning all of the cultural things that contribute to shape your individual identity. Much like Pinterest is online scrape-booking, CircleMe is about the cultural things that define you, or rather you use to define yourself.

[…]

“In creating CircleMe, we felt there was a real need for a better way to collect and engage with the things that interest a person in a lasting way,” said Erik Lumer, Founder and Executive Chairman, CircleMe.  “At the same time, CircleMe doesn’t create a personalized filter bubble. It provides smart ways to link with people that have a common cultural affinity and through them, be exposed to meaningful novelty and expand one’s horizons.”

In other words, CircleMe gives users an easier, faster and non intrusive way to trigger serendipity and to disseminate culture, both high and low.

Aha! CircleMe is about coinsidensity (increasing the likelihood of serendipity).

But of course CircleMe is still really about people and connection, it’s just that all connections are nuanced by the social object involved, like a book, show, or personage. Connection through the things we love can lead to us finding other people to love, too.

I will have to take CircleMe for a test ride. Perhaps I will start with books and movies, since the tools I have been trying for that are not very good at all, and I don’t click with Pinterest.

Pinterest now the third most popular social network after Facebook & Twitter | VentureBeat

http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/05/pinterest-third-most-popular-social-network/#prclt-GwC1jRIK

Pinterest has surged to become the number 3 social network after Facebook and Twitter:

Sean Ludwig via VentureBeat

Pinterest surprised many last December when it was revealed as a top 10 social network. The new Experian report says Pinterest’s traffic surged 50 percent between February and January of this year, which is growth that’s stunning in itself. That surge has allowed the site to overtake services like Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Google+ for the third highest number of visits in February. And not only is it fun for users, it’s also a killer tool for marketers.

Adding to the good news, analytics firm comScore also  said recently that Pinterest attracted 17.8 million unique visitors in February from the U.S. alone. In terms of engagement, Pinterest is winning as well, with users spending an average of 89 minutes per month on site. However, the social network still lags behind Facebook, which has users spending an average of 405 minutes per month on its site.

Personally, I find Pinterest banal: the Las Vegas of social networks, where everything thing in the US psyche — good or bad — is raised to its most extreme garishness.

However, I don’t like Facebook much either — but for a wide variety of other reasons.

The Problem With Pinterest

I had a feeling that Pinterest was sort of Stepford Wives goes FFFound:

Pinterest is all pink, puppies and pretty ponies - Lisan Jutras via Macleans.ca

Remember how girls in high school would paper their lockers with pictures of heartthrobs, puppies in baskets, minidresses they wanted, red, fruity cocktails they’d like to get hammered on? Imagine looking in that locker, then being shoved in it and having the door slammed closed on you. That’s a visit to Pinterest.

And that’s why I find it so bleak. Here is a world devoid of science, of politics, of dark humour, of a social conscience. It’s a world where orgasms don’t exist but babies are everywhere. Where “you go, girl!” affirmations rub shoulders with Mountain Dew cupcakes. This domain is sort of like a girls-only clubhouse, but it’s not about expressing innermost desires, just surface desires—for hair, shoes, nail art, a boyfriend that exists in soft-focus black-and-white.

It’s not a subculture, either. It’s the same idea of femininity that the two biggest female entrepreneurs of the past decade—maybe ever—Martha and Oprah, made their fortune selling. And it infuriates me because it’s so damned archaic—Pinterest circa 1912 would be fundamentally the same.

It’s easy to say that my anger stems from being on the outside of this group, and I wouldn’t deny it. This easy how-to guide to being a woman, engineered by a bunch of other women, makes me not only feel like an outsider (sure, I love cute animals and cake but I also love The New Yorker, talking about bodily functions and looking at cross-sections of sea lampreys’ faces) but also like a jerk for being mean about them.

I can’t really justify wrapping this up with a big huff about how Pinterest oppresses me, because it doesn’t. I have many female friends who share my interests. There are lots of squalid places on the Internet for men and women alike to hang out. But what it says about how women see themselves is slightly depressing. Milan Kundera once famously wrote that, “kitsch is the absolute denial of shit.” He was talking about totalitarian regimes, which brook no dissent, no expression of anything authentic and challenging, because why would anyone want to change the status quo when it’s perfect?

Pinterest isn’t exactly a totalitarian regime, but it is kind of like the Army of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Dissent at your peril.

But there is real money to be made pandering to superficial interest in all that is shiny.

(via underpaidgenius)

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