SXSW: Pinterest: We're Not 'Social Media'...And We Don't Pay For Advertising

That point was so important to Pinterest Head of Brand David Rubin that he said it twice for emphasis.

“Pinterest is not social media,” he said at his session today recounting how the not-social network grew to 70 million users and 30 billion pins in just a few years.

Yes, people share what they have discovered with others and are indeed giving advice to others. But “the reality is that people are on Pinterest for themselves,” he argues.

This is really about ME, not YOU.

“Each and every pin is put there by someone who thinks it is important.”

It is less about showing off and sharing than it is about keeping track of things , discovering and being inspired. It is really about personal order.

“People are organizing the Web’s information in a way that works for them,” he says.

When one audience member questioned the point, he says that if you talk to pinners most say they aren’t there to tell people what they are doing.” He admits there are social properties but it isn’t the core reason people are there.

Okay, but Rubin may be contradicting some of his own fine points. In recounting how and why Pinterest grew so wildly, he also says that it is in the sharing. It was all word of mouth. In fact he says that the company has never relied on advertising itself. In its history, Pinterest has only spent $10,000 in paid media. 

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