Possession Rituals of the Digital Consumer: a Study of Pinterest

This study examines how consumers collect, organize, and categorize images they find using Pinterest, a bookmarking and image sharing website. We re-visit McCracken’s (1986) theory of cultural meaning of consumer goods in the age of digital consumption to determine how virtual possessions have become an integral part of the user’s extended self (Belk 1988). Based on interviews, netnography, and participant-observation, our findings shed light on the possession rituals of digital consumers. We found that consumers' image collection activities include claiming, personalizing, storing and hoarding, and sharing. Our research demonstrates how consumers engage in digital possession rituals and how they develop a symbolic sense of ownership even though they only possess a visual representation of that item and not the physical product.


Kristen Schiele and Mine Ucok Hughes (2013) ,"Possession Rituals of the Digital Consumer: a Study of Pinterest", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 10, eds. Gert Cornelissen, Elena Reutskaja, and Ana Valenzuela, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 47-50.


Kristen Schiele, Woodbury University, USA
Mine Ucok Hughes, Woodbury University, USA


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 10 | 2013

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