Tumbling, Pinning

In my general effort to Keep Up With Interesting Social Technologies, I’ve been looking at tumblr a bit, and since pinterest was also on my to-examine list, I was pleased when following a link from a tumblr posting led me to a pinterest posting.

And my first thought was “hey, this is just tumblr again”.

On slightly closer examination, that’s not quite right. Both of them are places that make it easy to gather and share images and text and stuff, with somewhat similar user interfaces, but there are two big differences:

A) tumblr is dominated by angsty 15-year-olds, whereas pinterest is dominated by their Aunts, and

B) while pinterest does not allow nudity, tumblr basically requires it.

Which isn’t to overgeneralize and say that every tumblr account is an angsty 15-year-old posting airbrushed bondage models alternating with poems about being true to themselves, while every pinterest account is a grown-up suburban Aunt posting cupcake recipes and Sylvia Plath; but it is at least much truer than the reverse would be, which says something.

There’s alot to say about the subtle differences in user interface emphasis and affordances that make pinterest and tumblr slightly different from each other, and even more different from say wordpress’s or blogspot’s or typepad’s weblogifying software.

But instead I thought I would delve into the nudity. :)

Kind of an interesting situation in the pinterest realm. The pin etiquette says:

We do not allow nudity, hateful content, or content that encourages people to hurt themselves. If you find content that violates our Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy you can submit the content for review by pushing the ”Report Content“ link.

which certainly suggested to me that either the terms of service or acceptable use policy would say that they don’t allow nudity.

But neither one says that! Or anything else that I can read as saying that, unless it’s implicit in the extremely broad:

contains any information or content we deem to be hateful, violent, harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, defamatory, infringing, invasive of personal privacy or publicity rights, harassing, humiliating to other people (publicly or otherwise), libelous, threatening, profane, or otherwise objectionable;

(Maybe they “deem” nudity to be “profane” or “otherwise objectionable”? Who knows!) or possibly in:

seeks to harm or exploit children by exposing them to inappropriate content

in case posting a nude to pinterest would be ipso facto seeking to harm the various child readers by exposing them to inappropriate nipples.

(pinterest is very clear that if you’re under 13 you aren’t allowed to use the service (ref COPA), but it’s not clear how relevant that is.)

So nudeness is forbidden explicitly (haha see what I did there?) in the Etiquette guide, but hinted at only vaguely in the more official documents that it refers to (to which it refers).

(There’s also the whole subject of fully clothed sex, which is a link you may not want to click on.)

On tumblr, on the other hand, there is a whole mechanism around posting nudeness and sex and general debauchery:

Tumblr is home to millions of readers and bloggers from a variety of locations, cultures, and backgrounds with different points of view concerning adult-oriented content. If you regularly post sexual or adult-oriented content, respect the choices of people in our community who would rather not see such content by flagging your blog (which you can do from the Settings page of each blog) as Not Suitable for Work (“NSFW”). This action does not prevent you and your readers from using any of Tumblr’s social features, but rather allows Tumblr users who don’t want to see NSFW content to avoid seeing it.

The unstated assumption there being that you and your readers love teh sexytimes, but some hypothetical Tumblr users (perhaps those who have wandered over from pinterest by accident) might be more delicate.

And just below that, the Tumblr Community Standards very amusingly use The Eff Word (“fucking”) when discussing why they don’t let you store feelthy videos on their servers:

You can embed anything as long as it follows the other guidelines on this page. But please don’t use Tumblr’s Upload Video feature to host any sexually explicit videos. We’re not in the business of profiting from adult-oriented videos and hosting this stuff is fucking expensive. You can use services like xHamster to host those instead.

which is also very helpful and friendly of them.

So there are two very interestingly-different communities, built on two very similar pieces of technology. (tumblr has “tags”, of which you can attach multiple to each posting, and people can search by them; whereas pinterest has “topics” to which I think each posting must be posted to maybe just one of, and you can search on them, and easily view any poster’s postings organized by them. Again subtly and perhaps significantly different. tumblr has “reblogging” of other people’s postings, which is probably the most common thing done on the site; pinterest has “re-pinning” which is also common but perhaps not quite as fundamental.)

And to go out on a high note, here is a not-NSFW picture from tumblr:

and one from pinterest:

Can’t explain that!

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