ISR Distinguished Speaker

Loren Terveen

Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
“Analysis of Social Curation on Pinterest: Content, Diversity, and Gender”
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Faculty Host: 

Email RSVP required to by Wednesday, April 9.

Donald Bren Hall (building #314), room 6011

No cost to attend.


Click here for directions and parking information.


I will report on several quantitative studies of Pinterest, a popular social curation site where people collect, organize, and share pictures of items. We investigated several key issues: What distinguishes Pinterest from existing sites (like Twitter); and what patterns of activity attract attention (audience and content reposting)? We organized our studies around a number of theoretically grounded factors including: (i) the extent to which users specialize in particular topics, (ii) homophily (similarity of interests) among users, and (iii) gender. Our key findings include:

  • Four verbs set Pinterest apart from Twitter: use, look, want, and need;
  • Women and men differed in the types of content they collected and the degree to which they specialized; further, male Pinterest users were not particularly interested in stereotypically male topics;  
  • Sharing diverse types of content increases your audience, but only up to a certain point;
  • Homophily drives repinning: people repin content from other users who share their interests; homophily also affects following, but to a lesser extent.

Our findings open up new research questions and suggest strategies both for users (e.g., strategies to attract an audience) and maintainers (e.g., content recommendation methods) of social curation sites.

About the Speaker: 

Loren Terveen is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Minnesota.  His research interests include a variety of topics in human-computer interaction and social computing. He helped develop one of the early recommender web sites (PHOAKS) and recently has led projects that have: revealed new information about how valuable content is created on Wikipedia and the lifecycle of Wikipedia users, produced and deployed new interface designs to enhance participation in online communities, developed a novel location-aware messaging system, and combined wiki and geographical information systems technologies to create social web sites that let people enter and access information about places in their local communities. Prof. Terveen received his Ph.D. 1991 from the University of Texas at Austin, then spent 11 years at Bell Labs and AT&T Labs before joining the University of Minnesota.  He has served the human-computer interaction community in various leadership roles, including as co-chair of the CHI and IUI conferences, program chair of CSCW, and a member of the SIGCHI Executive Committee.