Thursday, 28 January 2016

Is 'We Heart It' The New Pinterest?

So you love Instagram, you invest hours pinning on Pinterest and you may even make time for Tumblr too... There's no denying that visual social media is at the top of it's game right now. Going from content based platforms, the rise of Instagram paved the way for huge change - change that now means visual social media is BIG. In fact, it's the biggest trend in social - just ask Snapchat.


And with any new trend, comes platforms, apps and people who want to try and take a piece of the new pie. Totally acceptable - even Facebook had to start somewhere right? But until they reach a certain level, I don't tend to take much notice. As sad as it is, many try - and fail, to take on the big boys in the social media and technology playground. I've seen some awesome apps and some great ideas for new platforms, fall down and waste away because they simply can't compete. It's sad, especially when you're rooting for them, but working as a Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager I've learnt that it's part of the course. Many come and go - few make the grade. (So true about many things in life!)

So when We Heart It started to fall on my radar, my ears pricked up, and I admit it - I got a little bit excited. I LOVE visual social media and visual platforms of any sort. If it's got pretty pictures, if it shows me awesome photography - then I'm all over it. I don't personally use Tumblr, but I often see the type of pretty images that you find there and drool. I do however use Pinterest...a lot! And I've sadly started to fall out of love with it, and maybe I sense a break up coming? Much like when you're a high school sweetheart and you grow up and realise you're actually a totally different person, a less compatible one with your sweetheart - well, that's how I feel about Pinterest...


Their recent changes - especially to the mobile version has infuriated me when I want to find something quickly. My boards don't display in the normal way and it tries to pre-empt my pin choice by what I pinned last. Which seems like a good idea except when you have as many boards as I do (54) - it doesn't work. I may have last pinned a cool hairstyle to try, but that doesn't mean the next time I visit that's what I want. In fact, it's probably the opposite - I'm probably coming back for that chicken recipe or that blog post link I really want to check out. Don't try and pre-empt what I want Pinterest - you won't get it right! Finding the board you do want takes longer, and it displays differently - and not in an easier way. Taking a screen shot is now completely messed up as Pinterest now indents all the images. Yes, again, they're trying to be helpful because the idea is to help you find similar pins. Which actually, is one of the things I love about Pinterest. But for the love of God, stop ruining the picture I want to send to my BFF's with that inspirational quote with those annoying indents. It's not cool Pinterest. Not cool.

Indents. BOO.

..Basically the user experience just got slightly more annoying, it takes more time to find what what you want, and to access it, and as for sharing it - you may as well give up hope of doing it in anything less than a few minutes. I know that doesn't sound like much, but let's remember that social media is now designed to be 'on-the-go' and statistically if users can't access the content they want in seconds - NOT minutes, they give up. In this day and age we can have our cake and eat it (when it comes to social media) so Pinterest needs to sort this out stat..before people leave in droves.

Anyway - rant about Pinterest - my visual social media sweetheart - over. All of this lined up nicely for my We Heart It introduction. Much like a new friend you meet who you just click with, and know you'll get on with forever, We Heart It is my new favourite thing.

I guess I fell in love with We Heart It because it has the whole Pinterest foundation but it works better (for me) and it's got everything right that Pinterest has recently got wrong. It also combines more of the image type that I like - the soft natural and personal images of Instagram, with the beautiful photography and professionalism of Pinterest. Maybe because it's still relatively small and it's targeted to a younger demographic than Pinterest (did you know that Pinterest is targeted at someone your mums age?) but the image type is very cool and very current - which I love. I may be 28, but I can still be down with the kids...can't I?!
The user experience is so simple too - you heart the images you like, you can search by keyword/tag, you can follow your favourite people and favourite boards and add your favourite images to your own boards. Because yes, you can still set up your own boards (like Pinterest) to organise your categories - although We Heart It call them collections not boards (my bad.) You can even add your own personal images and tag them for others to heart. A nice touch is the canvas, the section where all of your hearted images show together. Seeing it all in one place looks gorgeous when you have a personal style - mine is all very white, bright and minimalist, so it's like my imagery paradise, and it doesn't matter that hairstyles sit next to landscapes - it just...works. It's so purdy.

What the We Heart It Canvas looks like
Screen shots are simple and quick now too - praise! This is key for me when using a visual content app and We Heart It images can be quickly sent to friends etc. So your friend in the midst of a fresh breakup who's having a melt down can quickly be sent that 'he's not good enough for you' meme in seconds. Perfect.

Got some time to waste? I can happily sit and go through the images on We Heart It thanks to their inspirations - a collection of various categories for you to browse. So if you don't even know what you're looking for you can still find something pretty to look at and heart away.

Still in it's infancy compared to the big boy visual platforms - We Heart It has nailed the app version and using it on the go is my primary way of use. The web platform is pretty good too - which is still also important. It sucks when one platform is far better than the other, but both app and web platforms are excellent - meaning users can pick what works for them - for me it's the mobile version, but the web is a nice addition.

It is important to remember that We Heart It is still a baby, and new to this scene - but it's doing an awesome job of making it's mark and it's growing nicely. Admittedly, the selection of images is far smaller - I can't remember the last time I actually reached the end of a search results page on Pinterest, whereas this happens frequently on We Heart It. But that's going to grow with time, and it's not like the selection is small - just smaller than Pinterest.


So, Is We Heart It the new Pinterest?

I still have a soft spot for Pinterest, my visual social media sweetheart, and I'm not quite ready to let go just yet. However it's recent 'updates' have downgraded it in my opinion and opened the door to my heart being turned...to We Heart It. I now use We Heart It more than Pinterest, the images are fresher, more modern/current and it's so much quicker and easier to use on the go.

So, do I recommend it?

Absolutely, you'll be hooked in minutes. Download it and you won't regret it. But don't forget to show Pinterest a little bit of love from time to time too.
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