In the early twentieth century, the emergence of national market and maturation of color printing technologies brought a revolution in advertising. Consumers received and collected many colorful advertising images and pasted them into scrapbooks. Nowadays, a group of visually-driven social commerce sites like Pinterest.com provides a platform on which both businesses and consumer-collectors publish, collect, and circulate images en masse. This thesis examines historical scrapbooks as well as a variety of Pinterest collections through the theoretical lens of sociology to determine whether Pinterest enables new modes of collection, consumption and community formation. This thesis shows that while collections of commercial images of products are often spaces in which we express consumer desires for products and engage in hedonistic imaginative play, the socially-networked nature of Pinterest allows a new type of malleable, global and taste-based community to develop that can engage in collective imaginative play.
About Ling Zhong
Lingyuxiu Zhong is a digital media studies researcher at MIT. She previously received a B.A. degree in History from Yale University, where she studied how collective memories of the past can impact a society’s identity formation process. At MIT she focused on digital image sharing and collection practices and their cultural and commercial implications.