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How Pinterest reminds us that the web is for adults

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Pinterest and porn

(AGBeat) – Recently, we reported that as Pinterest grows, the chance of young men discovering Pinterest grows as well, and with young men visually bookmarking their interests, the site will easily be populated by potentially offensive material.

Tech bloggers are tossing up polls about whether nudity in art or otherwise is offensive, and while Pinterest is like any other community with rules (namely that they “do not allow nudity or hateful content” on the site), they are being called to prepare themselves to censor unsavory content that violates their rules (although all pins are already subject to the site’s Terms of Service and when flagged, Pinterest staff manually reviews it and either removes or allows each instance). There is alarm and hints that the site should offer stronger censorship which is ironic given these are the same tech bloggers that write endlessly about SOPA and ACTA.

The internet is a strip club

Pinterest is currently populated by mostly creatives, many of whom are artists or art enthusiasts and the bottom line is that nudity is a part of art. Additionally, the site does not force anyone to follow or view any content that is obscene – people with sensitivities should stick to viewing pins from people they know/trust/follow while avoiding a potentially offensive space, just as people with sensitivities should stick to not walking into a strip club and acting upset that nudity exists.

In this scenario, however, the strip club is not Pinterest, it is the entire web, which simply serves as a reminder that the web truly is for adults. Sure, anyone over the age of 13 can use Pinterest, and any toddler using mommy’s iPad can use the web, but it is wasted effort to run a poll about whether nudity has been witnessed on Pinterest, or to write about nudity online.

There is no such thing as a “no children allowed” button for the web, but the upset surrounding nudity on Pinterest is silly and a waste of effort, just as getting upset that porn exists online or that someone cussed on Twitter is wasted effort. While Pinterest has their rules that they request users to live by and they enforce the no nudity rules, it is a community that is based on sharing visual bookmarks of whatever interests the user, so if sideboob interests the user and someone doesn’t like that, they should unfollow them and keep their eyes on pins from people they follow that they trust not to offend them… stay out of the “Everything” category of Pinterest, or stay out of the internet overall for that matter, and everyone will be okay.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. David Pylyp

    February 20, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Do you think there is a board on Pinterest that could be used as a referral WHO is available in What City State Province Bio that I can quickly scan.

    Is it Scan or Scorn that will be received?
    Your judgement is required.

    David Pylyp
    Living in Toronto and waiting for you

  2. Tinu

    February 20, 2012 at 1:24 am

    There's for real a poll about whether art is obscene? Because it contains nudity? I may have to unsubscribe from the web for a while. I abhor pettiness. I'd move to France but I just love this freaking country so much.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Even if we lived in France, we'd still read American sites, we can't help it 🙂

  3. Allen Mireles

    February 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Lani, I celebrate your choice of topic here and your extension of the concern about nudity on Pinterest to the reality of the entire web and the reminder that the web is for adults. I'm glad you have chosen to remind readers that no one is forced to follow anyone on Pinterest (or on the web for that matter) and that there are easy ways to limit one's exposure to anything one considers offensive. Duh.

    Last week (was it only last week?) we got up in arms about a popular social media consultant who spammed Pinterest with a series of branded posters with inane quotes. While I saw the same thing others saw and was both amused and dismayed at the pinning of 24 posters that all looked the same and included quotes that seemed unimportant (and yes, I felt like it was spam) I simply unfollowed that person and several others and went to gazing longingly at beautiful interiors that in no way resemble my home's. Point being, there was an easy fix. I have no interest in being wooed by social media gurus while I am on Pinterest. I like to look at the images that resonate and I can create my ideal Pinterest experience fairly easily. I have other friends and colleagues on Pinterest who pin images of sideboobage or sexy young things in scant outfits and I blow right by those because they don't interest me. If it gets to a point of being offensive, I unfollow, so that I can focus on the images that make me salivate: beautiful, pristine interiors devoid of a single pet hair.

    For better or worse, the web and now Pinterest, are a reflection of our humanity. The good, the bad and the ugly. (And, those things differ depending on who you ask.) We must use our intelligence and our discernment when using these tools–as we do in other aspects of daily living in today's world.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Perfectly stated, Allen – "simple fix" is the concept I was addressing… not sure why this is overly complicated for some people.

  4. novalinnhe

    December 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Hmmm… I’m reading up a lot about this, because I’ve just seen a man’s board on Pinterest that completely freaked me out. I reported him instantly. I pre-empt a few rolling eyeballs at this point, but it IS within Pinterest’s Terms of Use – so although my opinion is going to be unpopular within the context of this article, I was definitely within my right to do so.
     
    However, I never really realised that there are a community of people out there who actually enjoy images like this… without being a raging pervert/paedophile. It’s been quite curious hearing other people’s opinions on it. I’ve been Googling for about an hour now, slowly forming my opinion, and quite enjoying how eloquent a lot of the people writing these articles are.
     
    Now that I’ve studied the subject a little more, I’ve decided I’m sort of “in the middle” on it (although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to change the fact that I am very squeamish around nudity). What I’ve concluded is that, however much it does offend people, the internet is a free platform and so people shouldn’t be restricted from posting images like this – even if it offends other parties.
     
    However, I do believe that on sites which are so “easily accessible”, or run on visual media, systems like DeviantArt’s NSFW screen should be employed. It’s perfect – just slap it over anything 12+, and not only does it help out all those worried parents/religious people/those who genuinely find genetalia disturbing, but it allows images like this to be shared more freely. And so both parties win, I think. 🙂
     
    I’m a little scared about the backlash I am going to receive from fans of this guy’s Pinterest board – particularly as a lot of them seem to be quite eloquent. However, now that I can approach the situation from a broader “stance” than the scared little girl who doesn’t want to see another naked person ever again, I hope I can deal with what is coming. The internet really isn’t a very nice place for sensitive folk!
     
    However, as I’ve been reading, I’ve been thinking outside the subject a little more. If one allows sexual images like this to be posted more openly and freely (as yes, free speech is important)… what about pro-racists? Where do they go? Do they get stopped, or simply get the NSFW filter as well? What about child pornography? There are cultures where girls become women from a much younger age, and even over here in the UK, women could get married from 12. In Japan, there is an entire culture centralised around pornography which involves animated children (i.e. under 12), that is culturally accepted. Simple NSFW or unacceptable online?
     
    Hmm… I think I’ll need to do a little more studying around this. One thing is for certain, though… free speech is a ruddy confusing little topic, aye!

  5. Pingback: Google reverses decision concerning adult blog content - AGBeat

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If you’re not on Clubhouse, you’re missing out – here’s why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) What exactly is Clubhouse, and why is it the quarantine app sensation? There’s a few reasons you should definitely be checking out right now!

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Clubhouse member hanging out on the app, on a couch with mask on their face.

The new exclusive app Clubhouse is challenging what social media can be – and it might possibly be the best thing to blow up during quarantine.

Developed by ex-Google employee Rohan Seth and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison, Clubhouse has only been gaining in popularity since lockdown. Here’s why you need to join immediately:

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is like if subreddit pages were live podcasts. Or maybe if niche, topic-centric Zoom chatrooms could connect you with people from all over the world. But it’s ONLY audio, making it perfect for this period of lockdown where no one truly looks their best.

From networking events to heated debates about arts and culture to book clubs, you can truly find anything you want on Clubhouse. And if you don’t see a room that peaks your interest, you can make one yourself.

Why is it special?

Here’s my hot take: Clubhouse is democratizing the podcast process. When you enter a room for women entrepreneurs in [insert your industry], you not only hear from the established experts, but you’ll also have a chance to listen to up-and-coming users with great questions. And, if you want, you can request to speak as well.

If you click anyone’s icon, you can see their bio and links to their Instagram, Twitter, etc. For professionals looking to network in a deeper way, Clubhouse is making it easier to find up and coming creatives.

If you’re not necessarily looking to network, there’s still so much niche material to discover on the app. Recently, I spent an hour on Clubhouse listening to users discuss the differences in American and British street fashion. It got heated, but I learned A LOT.

The celebrities!

Did I mention there’s a TON of celebrities on the app? Tiffany Haddish, Virgil Abloh, and Lakeith Stanfield are regulars in rooms – and often host scheduled events. The proximity to all kinds of people, including the famous, is definitely a huge draw.

How do you get on?

Anyone with an iPhone can make an account, but as of now you need to be “nominated” by someone in your contacts who is already on the app. Think Google+ but cooler.

With lockdown giving us so much free time that our podcasts and shows can’t keep up with the demand, Clubhouse is a self-sustaining content mecca. Rooms often go on for days, as users in later time zones will pick up where others left off when they need to get some sleep. And the cycle continues.

Though I’m still wrapping my brain around it, I can say with fair certainty that Clubhouse is very, very exciting. If you have an hour (or 24) to spare, try it out for yourself – I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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TikTok: A hotbed of cultural appropriation, and why it matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Gen Z’s favorite app TikTok is the modern epicenter for cultural appropriation – why you as a business owner should care.

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TikTok creator with a phone recording on a stand, but dances can be a sign of cultural appropriation.

Quarantine has been the catalyst for a sleuth of new cultural phenomena – Tiger King, Zoom, and baking addictions, to name a few. Perhaps most notably, TikTok has seen user numbers skyrocket since lockdown. And I don’t think those numbers are going down any time soon.

TikTok is a very special place. More so than any other social media apps I’ve engaged with, TikTok feels like a true community where total strangers can use the app’s duet or audio features to interact in creative, collaborative ways.

However, being able to use another user’s original audio or replicate their dance has highlighted the prevalence of cultural appropriation on TikTok: the app, as wholesome as it may be at times, has also become a hot bed for “virtual blackface”.

The most notable example of appropriation has to do with the Renegade dance and Charli D’Amelio – who is young, White, and arguably the most famous TikTok influencer (she is second only to Addison Rae, who is also White). The dance, originally created by 14-year-old Black user Jalaiah Harmon, essentially paved the way for D’Amelio’s fame and financial success (her net worth is estimated to be $8 million).

Only after Twitter backlash did D’Amelio credit Harmon as the original creator of the dance to which she owes her wealth – up until that point, the assumption was the dance was hers.

There is indeed a myriad of exploitative and appropriative examples of TikTok videos. Some of the most cringe-worthy include White users pantomiming black audio, in many cases affecting AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Styles of dance and music that were pioneered by Black artists have now been colonized by White users – and many TikTokers are not made aware of their cultural origins.

And what’s worse: TikTok’s algorithms favor White users, meaning White-washed iterations of videos tend to get more views, more engagement and, subsequently, more financial gains for the creator.

As you can imagine, TikTok’s Black community is up in arms. But don’t take it from me (a non-Black individual) – log onto the app and listen to what Black users have to say about cultural appropriation for yourself.

Still, the app is one of the fastest growing. Companies are finding creative ways to weave their paid ads and more subliminal marketing strategies into the fabric of the ‘For You’ page. In many ways, TikTok is the next frontier in social media marketing.

With a few relevant locational hashtags and some innovative approaches to advertising, your business could get some serious FREE attention on TikTok. In fact, it’s the future.

As aware and socially conscious small business owners, we need to make sure that while we are using the app to get ours, that the Black creators and artists who made the app what it is today are also getting theirs. Anything short of direct accountability for the platform and for caustic White users would be offensive.

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Promoted tweets getting over-promoted? Time for Twitter backlash

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter has enacted changes to how frequently Promoted Tweets – i.e., ads – are seen by users, and in true Twitter fashion, there’s mixed opinions.

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Smartphone open to Twitter with promoted tweets open on the top of the feed.

Did anyone else ever watch the Strong Bad Emails cartoons from Homestarrunner? One of the running gags there – and subsequently one of my favorite bits – was when he’d just delete a fan’s email outright while insulting the author. Strong Bad was great at laying down the delete hammer and had zero cares in the world about doing it.

The idea that you – as a user, person, entity – can reclaim a little bit of omniscient authority is powerful. Generally, we like being in control of our lives, and the ability to exercise that authority resonates deeply.

Digital companies are still coming to terms with the idea that their users maintain some ability to revolt against their new policies, trying to straddle the line between new features and improved tools while still keeping an existing audience happy. Typing “hate the new” into Google will show results solely around new interfaces and an endless string of abhorrence. The new Facebook layout is bad. The new Gmail is bad and here’s how to revert it.

I’m sure others exist for any widely used app or service. Sometimes even new logos incite rage. I’m not here to make a statement either way, but usually there’s some ground in between pure opinion and justifiable discussions about user interface and experience. Regardless, change can make users upset.

Twitter recently rolled out changes to how Promoted Tweets work. You should know first that a promoted tweet is just an ad, and were originally set to appear only once per timeline. However, recent updates to Twitter’s internal services has resulted in some users reporting the same ad being shown multiple times in rapid succession, and even repeatedly over and over.

Think about Google search results – there are definitely ads at the top of the first page, and they are usually relevant to the topic at hand and only show up in that area. A user can quickly scroll downward past this and look through other results. But imagine how frustrating it might be to have a first page riddled primarily with ads, effectively choking out other results.

Twitter maintains that, “we’re thoughtful in how we display Promoted Tweets, and are conservative about the number of Promoted Tweets that people see in a single day.” This has led some users to believing this behavior indicates some kind of issue with their internal systems. I like to think about the scene in Office Space where Michael Bolton (not the singer) mentions that he may have put a decimal in the wrong place; that is, there’s a configuration error at Twitter instead of some kind of sea change.

However, Twitter has said this is not a glitch. In fact, they stated it was intentional, and further clarified that, “We regularly experiment and deploy changes to our advertising experience. We are constantly innovating and testing, and will continue to adapt as we learn.” Despite worldwide complaints, Twitter has not officially acknowledged this situation as problematic.

As a result, many users have taken to blocking the advertisers involved with the Promoted Tweets. Much like Strong Bad exercising his ultimate authority over his domain, this means that companies are in danger of losing their ability to reach users entirely. As this number grows, the consequences could widespread, and it will be interesting to see if Twitter changes their outlook and/or has potential pressure from advertisers. Twitter has stated that this may simply be temporary to exhaust a surplus of ad inventory, and this remains to be seen.

As users continue to voice their complaints, it will be interesting to see how the situation ultimately resolves.

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