I went to look at Pinterest this morning. They won’t let me. They want my birthday.
Why do they need my birthday? It will not, no matter what they claim, help them make my search experience any better since I input directly what I am interested in.
I figure it’s a desire for more advertising revenue. It could help them sell targeted advertising at me…Like I need more of that in my life. I get plenty from other sources.
At least, before, Pinterest had to figure out ads related to sewing, cooking, and photography, not assume that, because I am “une femme d’un certain age”, that I need a barrage of ads for incontinence products or unpronounceable medications. (If I hear “Sometimes I get bladder leaks” one more time I might scream!).
I used to like Pinterest.
They gave me access to posts that weren’t necessarily visible in the Google-y/Bing-y world, where posts are listed first by who is paying them to advertise, followed by who might be induced to pay them for ads, then by the big ticket clickers, after which the listings just fall apart and become random and irrelevant. They are unable, although I suspect that it is really unwilling, to give any visibility to people who are just posting about their own experiences.
Side note: this is one of my greatest concerns about AI. It’s just one more manipulator in this system “optimized” to repeat the messages that are already out there. If it really had any merit you could find interesting material on page two of a search.
In Pinterest it was easy to search on obscure ingredients, like aquafaba or lemon balm, and find out how they can be used; craft ideas, like adding pockets, or cutting out cool snowflakes; and out-of-the-way travel locations.
Drawing a line
How old I am is none of their business, and it is one more point of vulnerability for scammers and hackers to get a hold of information that might endanger me. So I deleted the app from my phone.
Back in the day…
Can you remember when a search took you from your known area of interest out into a world of new ideas? Like when you opened the encyclopedia to look something up and saw a new term linked only by the first few letters that led you on a path of discovery? Internet searches used to be like that.
Now you type in the name of a city and you get an entire page trying to sell you places to stay and/or flights. Expedia, Hotels.com, Trip Adviser….
At the very bottom of the page you might get one Wikipedia or tourist board listing that actually tells you a little about the place. Page two is generally random nonsense derived from the idea that you clearly didn’t know what you wanted to learn about and/or misspelled the name of a more well known place.