Remember that picture I posted the other day of the protester from 1963?
Well, I posted it on Pinterest, too, and today I got a message from that social media service headlined, “Pins you’ll love!”
One of them was the picture above, with the caption, “Fashionable men.”
Pinterest thinks it knows me. It’s decided that what I want to see is natty young black men in skinny retro ties.
People worry about increasingly intuitive algorithms knowing too much about them. I look at the way those programs actually work, and have to smile. They have a tendency, shall we say, to leap to thinly supported conclusions.
You especially get wild results when the principal medium of expression is photographs, which are so subject to misinterpretation. I’m a word guy; I was interested in the words on the protester’s sign. All Pinterest saw was the picture….
As I’ve said before, I have trouble getting the usefulness of a social medium based on pictures (such as Pinterest) as opposed to words (such as Twitter).
Back in the post headlined “What does a ‘like’ mean, as we slouch toward post-verbalism (if that’s what we’re doing)?,” I said:
The whole “like” thing is at least based on a word, but on a word that seems to me terribly inadequate in explaining a person’s views toward what he or she sees in a particular photograph. Like how? Like why? Like a lot, like a little?