‘What is Pinterest?’ has been a common question in recent months. I am not surprised either. Pinterest is the fastest growing stand-alone social network of all time.
Just last month, it was reported that Pinterest hit 10m monthly uniques in US. That’s pretty awesome, but doesn’t exactly explain what is Pinterest.
Pinterest is a social network best described as a virtual pinboard, or even a visual bank. Pinterest has the equivelants of Facebook’s ‘Like’, Comment and Share functions (Like, Comment & RePin) and you can follow other user’s boards.
The image based platform is a simple idea (it’s always the simple ones that work best). Users create and name Boards and post relevant photos onto these Boards. These Boards are then categorised under one of the 32 general Pinterest categories.
Simple, effective and visually stunning.
What’s good about Pinterest?
• Easy functionality in Pinning images from the internet to one of your Boards.
• The Boards can look fab!
• The social side of Pinterest is very appealing. You can find friends from other social networks and follow them.
• You can follow just a Board of interest, rather than a person.
What’s not so good about Pinterest?
• Do we need another social network?*
• Time…Once you catch the Pinterest bug, prepare to give it a lot of your time.
• Results – Just what do you get from a collection of images?**
*Yes, we do, when it looks as good as Pinterest does. This is more about creating something visual that means something to you, which can then be shared with other people.
**Your collection of images could be your upcoming landmark Birthday present wishlist, which can be viewed by friends and family. Your collection of images (Board) could be research for your latest project / blog article. Your Board could even be something that provides you with inspiration.
(I guess this means Pinterest is a good thing)
Who is using Pinterest?
According to Mashable, Pinterest interest (I like that!) female users equate to 62%, but was originally 80%). Early adoption from the fairer sex is not surprising when you look at Pinterest possibilities and current popular themes – recipes, fashion, Weddings….
When I heard that Women used Pinterest more, I wanted to test that this stereotype was correct. On Pinterest, I searched for ‘Men’s Brown Boots’. The search returned just one solitary pin (image).
I then searched ‘Brown Boots’. I was met with Board after Board of brown boots, with 99% being Women’s brown boots. Latest figures do confirm that 80% of US users are female, whilst in the UK it’s 60/40%. The High Definite have an amusing infographic on who is using Pinterest:
Obviously a joke, but to limit Pinterest to Women would be short-sighted and a touch sexist. I did a search on ‘Rugby’ and found numerous Boards and Pins (as well as quite a lot of Ladies rugby shirts, but I have done that point).
And I am not saying Rugby is just for Men, that too would be sexist – just trying to demonstrate Men’s interests are covered on Pinterest!
How do I use Pinterest?
Pinterest is currently invite only. You can request an invite from Pinterest direct or from someone you know that is already using it. My invitation came 24 hours after my request from Pinterest.
Once you are a member, you can get Pinning. Pinterest start you off with a couple of Boards. You just need to name them and categorise.
You can take images from other Pins / Boards on Pinterest (RePinning), just hover over the image and the “Repin” option will appear. Or you can take images from any web page. You need to install the ‘Pin It’ button to
your bookmarks bar via the Pinterest Goodies page. This is a simple drag and drop operation. Anything you pin is automatically credited back to original source of image.
Some websites even have a ‘Pin It’ button at the bottom of each post and you can expect to see more sites adopting the Pin It button in the future.
By adding (unique) descriptions to your images, you are more likely to have your Pins / Boards found by other users, so it is worth writing a short piece for each image you Pin (even ‘Men’s Brown Boots’).
Now all you need is a touch of creativity. Make a board of your favourite chart topping bands if that takes your fancy. Make a board of images for your companies latest product, create a series of images that make up your ideal wardrobe.
However you decide to use Pinterest is up to you. This is your online scrapbook that you can share with your friends. I have a feeling Pinterests growth is not about to flat-line any time soon.