Crafting creativity and crafting the self. How female users construct the boundaries of creativity on Pinterest
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This essay looks at Pinterest as a creative community for women. Pinterest, a virtual pinboard that allows users to share, in a visual way, inspiring things they have found on the Internet, has established itself as one of the most prominent social media sites to date. Vastly explored for the business and marketing opportunities it offers, Pinterest remains under researched as a social media platform, especially as it appeals to women, who constitute 80% of its user base. To address this gap, this essay investigates how female users construct the boundaries of creativity on Pinterest. In so doing, the essay uses, as a starting point, the notion of everyday creativity pertaining to the production of media content, which is novel in a given context. The overarching category of DIY & Crafts was chosen as a site for netnographic research with participant observation as a method of data collection and thematic analysis as a method of data analysis. The article presents four major findings: (1) Pinterest widens the traditional understanding of creativity and crafts by embracing diverse and unconventional content; (2) creativity on Pinterest is intertwined with, and often anchored in, consumption; (3) on Pinterest, creativity and crafts refer not only to making external objects, but also to individual development of users as women; (4) creativity brings ‘pinners’ together in an effort to pool knowledge and is the ideal that each user seems to connect to, yet it does not suffice to build a community. The essay also identifies similarities between Pinterest and earlier forms of media – print women’s magazines and how-to articles. Finally, the ambiguity of Pinterest is discussed in relation to its potential for empowerment, in particular as a source of pleasant feelings and a resource on creativity and everyday activities.
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