Pinterest adds direct messaging, but there's a catch

  • AFP
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2014 15:36 IST

The new feature might be called "Conversations" but don't expect to be able to use it to discuss the current economic climate, the state of team sports or even what was on television last night.

And that's because it's all about the Pins. Anyone who uses Pinterest will know that it's a social network that brings users together around a shared interest or project and that all interaction on the site is channeled towards those interests.

The site doesn't want to be a place where friends simply hang out and chat in general -- there are already plenty of options available, from Facebook and WhatsApp to Line and Google Hangouts -- for simple social interaction.

Pinterest is all about a shared interest or taste and Conversations has been designed specifically as a new way of keeping the discussion around those interests going and keeping it on topic, and of course, keeping it within Pinterest.

That's why to start a conversation with someone, you will have to send them a ‘Pin' -- i.e. an image -- and then that person can respond with a comment about the image or with Pins of their own.

As well as hosting a one-on-one conversation, the new feature, which is supported on desktop, tablet and smartphone, will support group chats with up to 10 users. Therefore it could be a great collaborative tool -- say for an interior design project or planning a wedding.

It also takes the record of those discussions off the site and out of plain view. It's always been possible to have a back-and-forth on Pinterest via the comments section under new Pins or boards.

Conversations builds on the Send a Pin feature that the site launched last year, which let users share new images with others within the community via an email alert. Although a very basic and limited feature, Tom Watson, the company's Product Designer, claims that two million Pins are sent every day.

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