Have you discovered Pinterest? Of course you have, or perhaps you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months. Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site, with a strong presence amongst affluent, college-educated women under 50. The Pew Research Center recently published a study profiling the users of various social media platforms. If you’re interested in this kind of data-diving, check it out. Then, fly straight over to Pinterest and get started with your new obsession!
Pinterest is easier to use than to explain, so if the following description is baffling, just go to Pinterest, create your account and start exploring. The entire site is based on images and pin boards. Users pin images, from the internet, or from their computers, onto pin boards. Think of these pin boards as topics or interest areas to help you organize your pinned images. For example, I have pin boards for recipes, travel, tutorials, birds and birdhouses, colors, textures, awesome jewelry and several other topics. You’ll create and name your own pin boards to reflect what you want to pin, and you can create a new pin board at any time to start a new topic.
The easiest way to start filling your pin boards is by re-pinning. Every pinned image on the site has the option to re-pin with just a couple of clicks. You’ll also want to install a Pin It button on your browser toolbar, so you can pin images while you surf. Many sites are starting to add Pin It buttons right on their site, sometimes on each image, to encourage you to pin their stuff.
While you’re pinning, you’ll also want to start following people and boards to shape what you see when you visit Pinterest. Like Facebook, your Pinterest home page is your “feed”, or the incoming stream of what has recently been pinned by the people you follow. Your feed will change dramatically based on who you choose to follow. You’ll have the option to follow all of a Pinner’s boards, or just specific boards. The site makes it really easy to trace back interesting pins and check out the boards of the people who pinned that image. I’m following (and being followed by) lots of people I don’t know because of this discovery process.
If you create your account by signing in with Facebook, Pinterest will help you connect with your Facebook friends. I found this feature to be really helpful, especially when I was getting started. Be mindful if you do this, that your friends on Facebook may be notified each time you pin something on Pinterest. I was not interested in that type of cross-pollination, so I chose settings that would not show my pinning activity on my Facebook feed.
Another way to find images on Pinterest is to use the search bar, or the topic options that drop down when you click on the three-bar icon in the upper left corner.
Give some thought to how you pin images and how you credit the owner of each image. It’s not a good practice to pin images from a Google image search, because the link to the original source for the image will be lost. It is a good practice to list the website or originator of the image. One of the cool things about Pinterest is the way you can click through on the pinned image until you get to the source site. The entire community wins when these links are maintained.
So, you may ask, why am I so obsessed with Pinterest? Well, as an artist, I love eye candy. Pinterest is like a visual feast, and it’s really easy to curate your feed to shape that feast to suit your personal tastes. When I’m looking for visual inspiration, Pinterest never fails to feed that need. It’s an easy way to find and collect recipes. My sister used it to collect ideas for renovating her bathroom, and now she’s imagining her new kitchen as seen on Pinterest. A friend recently got married, and used Pinterest to help shape the look of her wedding. I think of Pinterest as a visual search engine that’s curated by my fellow pinners. It’s also a lovely distraction that can fill a moment or an hour with enticing imagery.
This post has been focused on my use of Pinterest for personal reasons. Next time, I’ll talk about using Pinterest for promotion and marketing. In the meantime, feel free to follow me or any of my boards at pinterest.com/wendymcmanus.