Posted June 19, 2013

Pinterest followers surpass 3 million for Temple advertising major

Brittany Cozzens' Pinterest pinboard features images of body art, as well as some more traditional Pinterest content such as wedding ideas and fashion.
  • Brittany Cozzens

Brittany Cozzens' influence on Pinterest just keeps on growing. Since news of her remarkable success in the social medium first broke earlier this month in news outlets such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY’s NewsWorks and Technically Philly, the rising Temple sophomore has picked up another 12,500 followers, bringing her total to 3.07 million.

Yes, that’s seven figures — an amazing response, especially considering that Cozzens began using Pinterest simply as a means of storing images for a school project. 

As a junior at York Suburban High School, she became bored with drawing the same old still lifes in art class. So she began scouring the web for tattoos, which she would recreate for her class projects. Pinterest, she decided, was the best way to keep the images organized.

As Cozzens filled her pinboard with images of body art, as well as some more traditional Pinterest content such as wedding ideas and fashion, her following grew. Soon her pins were being watched by more than 3 million — in line with some of the most popular boards on Pinterest. 

Cozzens, an advertising major from York, Pa., wasn’t aware that her audience had grown so large until she was contacted by Hello Society, a marketing firm that wanted to offer her a job as a “tastemaker.” Now, Pinterest is more than a hobby. She’s paid to introduce her followers to the firm’s clients — but only the ones she truly likes.

Brooke Duffy, an assistant professor of advertising in the School of Media and Communication whose research focuses on gender and promotional culture in a digital age, says Cozzens has achieved something that advertisers and their clients yearn — viral reach.

“I think it often boils down to a stroke of good luck, combined with hard work,” said Duffy. “Maintaining a successful fashion blog or a YouTube channel or, in Cozzens’ case, a massive following on Pinterest, requires a considerable investment of time and energy; the labor of creating/curating the content as well as responding to the interests of the audience.”

Cozzens believes that Pinterest is a powerful social media tool because it stands out among text-reliant forums like Twitter and Facebook.

“Everything else is words,” she says. “Pinterest is visual and I think people today are very visual people.”

— Jeff Cronin