PINNING ORIGINALITY: CURATION PRACTICES OF CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS

Leah Scolere, Lee Humphreys

Abstract


Pinterest is a site primarily used for sharing online content particularly images, as such it is a unique platform through which to explore curatorial practices. Creative professionals or designers are a unique community of interest because of their expertise in the offline curation of visual images as a part of their profession. Drawing on museum and material studies, this study examined the social practices of design professionals on Pinterest to explore the curatorial practices and to expand our theoretical understandings of online curation and the role of curator. Through a series of in-depth qualitative interviews and online observation, we identified originality as a central value of creative professionals’ curatorial practice online. Three aspects of curation practices on Pinterest emerged from the interviews with design professionals: (1) originality as performance, (2) originality as process, and (3) originality as product. The strategic and creative selection and arrangement of digital images becomes a mode of artistic production that results in a series of ongoing exhibits in the form of Pinterest boards. This community demonstrates how online curation becomes an important mode for the demonstration of professional expertise and the production of value. The study concludes with implications for our collective understandings of online curation and the role of social media within commercial contexts.


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