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Rosanne Cash Revisits Her Roots in ‘A Feather’s Not a Bird’ Video

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Rosanne Cash’s new album, The River and the Thread, references a series of visits she recently made to the Deep South, where she and her husband John Levanthal, who produced the album, explored her family’s roots and the region’s history.

Mashable spoke with Cash — daughter of Johnny — last week about how those visits formed the spine of the record

“We started to go down to the South more often to see my friend Natalie, who was teaching me how to sew, and we’d go to Memphis and then back to Arkansas,” Cash said. “We took this trip down Highway 61, which is where all the pieces fell into place. Highway 61 was mythic. We went to the Tallahatchie Bridge. We went to Robert Johnson’s grave. We went to Money, Miss. Once we got away from it and started processing what we had seen and felt, we started writing songs.” Read more…

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Of Course the Mall of America Has a Giant 5-Story Pinterest Board

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Caribou Coffee has created a five-story Pinterest board at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Why? In part, because it could.

The brand, which recently introduced the Pinterest-created Real Inspiration Blend, has launched the giant board to celebrate the release. Fans can get their photos on the interactive board by tagging their Instagram and Twitter photos with #CaribouInspires. In addition, the brand is hosting demos for cooking for your Valentine and spring make-up tips. The board will be up until Feb. 13.

The display dwarfs a 2012 life-size Pinterest board at a mall in La Jolla, Calif. Read more…

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Target Taps Top Pinterest Influencers for Design Collaboration

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A few of Pinterest‘s most popular users have hit the bull’s-eye.

Target on Monday announced new design partnerships with some of Pinterest’s top pinners, who will soon design exclusive party-planning collections for the retailer.

The pinners, who are all top design bloggers as well as Pinterest influencers, will create collections that will then sell online and in Target’s retail stores. “We’re excited to see the launch of Target’s new design collaboration,” a Pinterest spokesperson wrote in a statement sent to Mashable. “Pinterest is a place where anyone can share the things they love and inspire others to go out and do things. Target’s latest line designed by everyday pinners is proof of that.” Read more…

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Now With 75% Of All Traffic Coming From Apps, Pinterest Revamps Its Mobile Website

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Pinterest is today launching a new version of its mobile website, which the company says is “complete rewrite and redesign” aimed at better integrating the features found in Pinterest’s native mobile applications, like its more useful pins (those embedded with additional information) and related pins (personalized suggestions). The changes will bring the mobile web experience more on par with the Pinterest on the desktop and its native software running on smartphones and tablets.

Today, the company is seeing more than 75% of its usage come through mobile applications,* but, when asked, Pinterest declined to break down how much of that traffic comes from specific platforms, like iOS or Android. That stat doesn’t include mobile website usage yet, but when it does, the percentage will go up even more, Pinterest says.

Mobile has been a rapidly growing force for Pinterest. In 2013, mobile grew 50% from the beginning of the year to become more than three-fourths of all usage. On phone and tablet, mobile usage takes over the desktop in the evenings and on the weekends, in particular.

Pinterest’s mobile website redesign, launching today, now brings the site on par with its native app and desktop counterparts. The revamp involved a migration of the site to the latest web frameworks, for a “cleaner, more modular code” that’s easier to develop on. But it has another benefit, too, for the quickly iterating social network: it makes it easier for Pinterest to share code between desktop and mobile web, going forward, which means it will be quicker for its ongoing changes to reach all the service’s users at the same time.

Also important, a modern mobile site is key to Pinterest’s ongoing international expansion efforts, as the company understands that some users’ first visit to the service will be via a mobile browser, like the basic mobile browser option installed on some feature phones today. Last month, the company announced an expansion into Indonesia, and translation into Korean, for example. And late last year, it was localized into languages including Russian, Turkish, Czech, SlovakJapanese, and several Nordic languages, too. The site is available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, and German, as well as English.

In addition to the more useful pins and related pins now included on the new mobile site, the redesign also includes updates to existing features like the board page, sign-up flow, and it now displays recent boards in the board picker. In a blog post, Pinterest says the end result is that users can now browse and save pins on the mobile web just as they would on any other platform.

Notably, the new site was designed by an all-star engineering team, including Nadine Harik (a former Googler for 7 years), Tracy Chou (Quora’s second engineering hire), Jennifer Tsai (previously at LinkedIn and Gaia), and Ash Huang (previously at Twitter) – all who happen to be women. Chou, who is a voice within the “change the ratio” movement - an effort focused on encouraging more women to get into technology and new media – noted on her own blog last fall that Pinterest had 11 women out of 89 engineers, putting them at 12%, or the same percentage exiting from CS programs. It’s good to see, then, that Pinterest is making an effort to credit its women engineers for their efforts, as part of its larger hiring and diversity goals.

Pinterest notes also there are more changes ahead for its mobile user base, but didn’t hint at details today. Likely, these will involve porting more new features to mobile, including the new interest-based homepage, plus pins suggestions from site advertisers as the company’s ad platform launches more broadly this year.

* To be clear, an earlier draft of Pinterest blog post made it sound like 75%+ of customers use mobile apps, but a company rep clarified to us that, actually, “75% of all daily traffic comes from native mobile applications.” Pinterest’s published post no longer contains this reference, but other sites may still reference the stat incorrectly, if they were sent a draft version to reference. 

You Can’t Buy Pinterest Fame

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If you want to build your following on Pinterest, there’s no easy shortcut.

That’s the message Pinterest sent to users after the company updated its Acceptable Use Policy late last week. The subtle changes to the policy now condemn users who pay others to follow them or re-pin their images. In other words, users can’t buy new followers or shares

“We recently updated our Acceptable Use Policy to simplify language and clarify our stance on a few things,” a Pinterest spokesperson said in a statement given to Mashable. “We want Pinterest to be a place where people can be authentic and share the things that interest them most, so we now prohibit paying per Pin or follow.” Read more…

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8 Incredible Museums Sharing on Pinterest

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Pinterest has a reputation as the social media channel for food and fashion, but there’s much more to the visual network. It’s a combination of eye candy and information, with businesses, educators and magazines now using Pinterest to complement their other online material.

One surprising industry that has jumped on the bandwagon is that of museums. Several of these venerable cultural institutions have proven themselves masters of Pinterest’s social media world. Museums of all kinds and sizes have created profiles, and they’re finding creative ways to bring their programs to an online audience. Read more…

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Facebook Ad Clicks Set Record in Q4 2013, But Concerns Linger

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It was another solid quarter for Facebook ads in Q4 of 2013, as the company recorded its best quarter ever in terms of overall engagement, according to new research from Adobe

Facebook saw record highs in areas such as total ad clicks and click-through rates last quarter, according to Adobe’s Q4 2013 Social Intelligence Report, which analyzes ad clicks and referral traffic for most major social networks. The social network’s click-through rates were up 365% over Q4 2012, and total ad-click volume more than doubled over the same time period last year

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Watch Out Tumblr, Pinterest Now Supports GIFs

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Earlier this week, some Pinterest users noticed that the company was experimenting with support for animated GIFs on its site – the popular, moving images that, until recently, defaulted to static photos when pinned. Today, Pinterest says that it’s rolling out support for GIFs to all pinners on the web, with mobile support expected “soon.”

According to the company, around 1 million users see a GIF on Pinterest every day, and there are already 10 million GIF images across the site. These pins will retroactively become animated GIFs, it seems.

Going forward, when you pin a GIF to Pinterest, a “play” and “pause” button will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the pin itself, Pinterest explains.

That doesn’t mean you’re in charge of determining whether your pin will be animated or not when you post – instead, the play button is visible on the GIFs found in Pinterest’s main feed, category feeds, and search results pages. In other words, Pinterest is keeping the look-and-feel of its site the same as before (meaning, static images), but now you at least have the option of clicking play to see the GIF right on Pinterest, instead of clicking through to the site where it’s hosted.

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GIFs have been popular on the web for some time, but until now, Tumblr has been the social service best known for GIF sharing. With Pinterest’s support, that could change. (Especially with Tumblr traffic looking flat these days.)

Meanwhile, Facebook has rolled out autoplay videos, which some suspect may be a precursor to animated GIF support. But while the social network could technically enable GIFs at any time, it may not have wanted to dilute the experience with the busy, and sometimes bothersome, images.

Pinterest, however, seems to have found a nice middle ground.

Pinterest: ‘We Now Support GIFs in All Their Animated Glory’

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All Pinterest users can now play and pause GIFs within pinboards, a feature previously unavailable.

When users come across a GIF within Pinterest, it will now show a small “play” button in the lower lefthand corner where users can start and pause the GIF.

SEE ALSO: 25 Sad GIFs to Express the Depth of Your Despair

This is the same feature that Pinterest has been testing with select users, as reported earlier this week by Mashable. It will be available to all web users, including international users, beginning Thursday, according to a company spokesperson.

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Pinterest users are able to play and pause GIFs through the platform, a feature previously unavailable

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Pinterest Is Testing A Personalized Home Page Based On Your Interests

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Pinterest is introducing a new way to browse its site with the addition of a category called “Personalized for You.” This new section is essentially a version of Pinterest based entirely on your interests. For example, a fashion-focused Pinterest user might see categories like boots, jackets, dresses, or jewelry on this page, which they could then click into and further explore.

The feature is not yet available to all users, indicating that it could be the first step within a larger rollout, or a public-facing personalization experiment. We asked Pinterest to clarify this, but the company declined to offer further details.

From our understanding, some selection of the Pinterest user base is seeing a notification asking them if they would like to try this new feature when they log in.

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This option started appearing in select users’ accounts this week, where it becomes available in Pinterest’s top navigation. That’s where you find your “Home Feed,” the “Popular” feed, the “Everything” feed, and other categories like “Art,” “Food & Drink,” “Home Decor,” “Travel,” “Weddings,” and many more. For those users who are able to access the new personalized section, it is now the first option in this category list.

Your “personalized” page itself is a collection of words and topics that seem to be based on your pinning activity. What’s different about this section is not only the content, but also the look-and-feel, which is somewhat Flipboard-esque. Instead of uniformly sized pins, some sections here are larger than others, likely indicating you’re doing more pinning around that particular topic.

Also interesting is that each individual category page within your personalized section shows which pins inspired its suggestions.

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Early feedback from the Pinterest user base has been positive, with many expressing excitement about the addition, surprise, or even shock at well Pinterest seems to know their interests.

The only somewhat negative review we’ve come across so far is one posted on a blog called “Posh Purpose,” where the user complained that she had no interest in one of the categories presented on her page, saying she was only doing research on the topic. Of course, this “research” took place before she apparently wrote about the subject and then pinned her own article to Pinterest – so I’d argue Pinterest understands her pretty well, in fact.

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As you may recall, Pinterest has been slowly working to better personalize its service since the middle of last year, when it first introduced a way for users to opt out of having their activity tracked. The company’s decision to implement this “Do Not Track” toggle switch was meant to head off any future complaints before the company scaled up its personalization efforts in full force.

At the time, Pinterest noted that it would introduce a new “Edit Your Home Feed” button on web and mobile which would make it easier for you to follow and unfollow boards. When users entered into this editing mode, they would then be met with personalized pin and board suggestions based on things they had already been pinning on the service.

Later, when Pinterest rolled out support for “Promoted Pins” (in beta testing with advertisers now), the idea was to not inflict an awful advertising experience on the Pinterest user base with things like flashy banners or pop-ups, but instead showcase native ads in the form of subtly marked sponsored pin placements that blend into the overall look-and-feel of the site.

And most importantly, which Promoted Pins a user sees is, again, dependent on their interests.

Brands testing the Promoted Pins beta today include big names like DisneyNordstromFour SeasonsHellmann’s and Tresemme (Unilever), to name a few. A fully personalized version of Pinterest would offer brands like these and others a great place to showcase their Promoted Pins, where their placement would make even more sense to the end user.

The personalized page has another benefit as well – it allows you to explore Pinterest in a way that’s not dependent on who you follow on the service. That’s something which Pinterest has struggled with, as advertisers and brands looked to the “following” metric as if it was meaningful. In fact, Pinterest has even considered discarding this metric entirely, from what we’ve heard.

It’s easy enough to envision a different sort of Pinterest where what you see and explore is less about which friends or accounts you follow on the service, but rather what sort of things you like to pin and share.

UPDATE, 5:45 PM ET: This article was updated to reflect Pinterest’s comment. The full statement provided states, “We’re always working on ways to help people discover the best Pins for them based on their interests. We’re currently testing features to help people get to these Pins quickly, but have no further details to share at this time.”

(Image credits: TechCrunch sources and Posh Purpose blog)