Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Michael Tracey

Second Advisor

Rick Stevens

Third Advisor

Tomasz Miaskiewicz


In 2012, America's third-largest social network was still entirely a startup. As one of the fastest-growing major websites in history, has quickly established itself among the ranks of Facebook, Twitter and other social media behemoths. Pinterest's placement alongside increasingly visual web design and increasing e-commerce activity supports the possibility that emotion-laden visual stimuli may be one of the driving forces behind e-commerce through channels of visual persuasion, as proposed by Barry's Perception Theory. Research regarding the highly visual nature of credibility judgments supports this, showing that credibility assessments influence e-commerce spending. Through its extraordinary success, Pinterest posits itself as more than a case of a startup with good taste and good timing. Rather, it serves as a case study for why visual literacy (or visual intelligence) is becoming more important than ever in light of the increasingly visual (and emotionally influential) web.