Shuffles: Pinterest’s worst kept secret
The new collage-making app that is already trending everywhere
Shuffles by Pinterest is a new app designed for collective collaging. You can ‘unleash your creative energy’ and build your own aesthetic scrapbook-esque mood board using photos from Pinterest’s library or photos you’ve taken yourself.
Soon after it was released, Shuffles managed to have its own trend on TikTok, where these “aesthetic” collages were then set to music and posted. This helped create a buzz around the app and is also where a lot of people found out it wasn’t as easy as just popping into the AppStore to download it.
Interestingly, Pinterest decided to go down the ‘invite only’ route with Shuffles. If you’re lucky enough to receive a code from somebody who already has the app then you can download it and share a code with five others. If they’re too late and your five exclusive codes have already been used up, they’ll receive a ‘we’ve reached the limit for this invite code’ message.
Understandably, this exclusivity tactic has led to more of a buzz around the app and created FOMO for those that can’t get a code. When something seems limited, time-sensitive or exclusive, it only makes you want it more, however this strategy doesn’t always work. Clubhouse, for example, launched with a similar technique but hasn’t been able to sustain its popularity since. It does, though, give Shuffles more time to fix any bugs that emerge and make changes to the app before it’s available to the masses. Pinterest was originally released in this format back in 2012, and there are already TikTok accounts dedicated to Shuffles such as @pinterestshuffles_ and @pinterestshuffles.x whose only posts include giving out codes for others to get on the app. It’s like a secret club!
Admittedly, this is an interesting marketing strategy from Pinterest. Last year they introduced an in-house team, called TwoTwenty, whose sole focus is to grow the user base through innovation, and they are the same people who released this app. It’s safe to say that this was a success as Shuffles has already spent time as the No.1 Lifestyle app in the US App Store. There are even videos on TikTok showing users how to create their very own Shuffles and people sharing their love of the app.
On Shuffles, users can choose to add effects and motion to the images to make them shake, spin, pulse, swivel and more. You could, for instance, add an image of a record player and then animate it so that it actually spins. Other cool features include being able to ‘reshuffle’ someone else’s Shuffles, meaning you can take another user’s design and customise it to make it your own.
Like with any other trend or creation, once something is popular on one platform, it then spreads across others in similar forms. We aren’t, for example, just seeing this collage content on Shuffles anymore. TikTok users are already jumping on it and calling it the ‘collage trend’, and people are using apps such as Canva, Capcut, and Magic Eraser to create that similar ‘cut-out’ style and put it to music on the platform.
Shuffles is also very similar to a new iOS 16 feature from Apple. Here, you can effortlessly crop an object from one of your photos and then paste that cutout anywhere you choose – like in an iMessage chat. You only need to touch and hold to lift the image away from the background. Cool, right? This style of content is also becoming more common on Instagram ‘Reels’.
Even since beginning writing this article, Tiktok has now created a filter to give a very similar ‘cut-out’ effect which feels eerily familiar.
Shuffles is targeting a younger demographic that’s using social media in a new way: for self-expression, not just networking. Why the app is resonating with Gen Z seems to be a combination of the technology it uses to simplify collage-making, coincided with the desire for creative expression tools that serve that demographics’ social habits.
The app also opens up new social commerce opportunities. The objects in users’ collages, for example, are linked to Pinterest and a tap will bring you to a dedicated page for the item in question. In the case of items that are available for purchase — like fall fashion or home decor, for instance — users could also buy the item by clicking through to the retailer’s website.
Shuffles has provided users with a great way to get creative and people are using this app for a variety of reasons, from creating their dream outfit to their dream home. It might even be the new platform to create memes such as this beauty. And despite its soft launch, Shuffles is currently placed number 21 in the lifestyle section of the UK AppStore. Will it fall out of popularity, or will it continue to rise as more users are allowed access to the platform? Only time will tell.