Who's Who on Pinterest

One of the main players on Pinterest—and in the rhetorical events I explore in this article—is Jane Wang. Jane Wang was once Pinterest's most followed user (Indvik, 2012), and her account still ranks among the top five most followed on Pinterest ("Top Pinterest Profiles," 2014). Wang's account boasts over 8 million followers; in contrast, the official account of the Pinterest corporation has only just above 300,000 followers (as of January 2014). With so many followers, Jane Wang might easily be viewed as one of Pinterest's tastemakers. Her pins often receive hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of repins, meaning the content she shares is so popular that other individuals want to save the links for themselves and share it with their own friends and followers (see http://www.pinterest.com/janew/pins/).

Part of Wang's prominence in the online site is related to the fact that many users are auto-subscribed to follow her (at least, she is suggested as a person to follow for many users, and/or one must diligently unsubscribe from following her during the registration process or afterwards). Wang seems to also have been with the site since it first began, enabling her to amass millions of followers and hundreds of pinboards (see http://www.pinterest.com/janew, 2014). Wang's long-term presence on the site also makes sense as she is co-founder Ben Silbermann's mother (Indvik, 2012).

Although Wang's popularity on Pinterest has been surpassed by other users (recent counts put Joy Cho at the top of the list of most-followed users), she remains an active and influential presence on Pinterest ("Top Pinterest Profiles," 2014). As an influential presence within the larger Pinterest community, looking to Wang's account can be particularly useful for understanding the trends and trending interests among Pinterest users. Wang's account boasts numerous boards that cover a wide range of topics, from a board entitled "Delicious" for saving recipes to boards about design, photography, toys, shoes, and more. As such, Wang's account is a valuable source for a portrait of how individuals can use Pinterest. Moreover, as the case study example of this article demonstrates, Wang's account is also a space where users of the site can negotiate and explore the rhetorical potential of Pinterest.