I am doing a week of blog posts about Pinterest. If you are already a user, this particular introductory post may not be relevent, but I will be publishing six posts total on Pinterest:
- Pinterest explain, and how to use it. (this post)
- Why Pinterest is so popular
- The guy who followed over 1,000,000 people on Pinterest in the past 24 hours.
- What Twitter can learn from Pinterest.
- Pinterest for businesses and brands.
- Pinterest resources and useful alternatives.
Please visit again or subscribe to be alerted about future posts in the series.
Pinterest is a bit like Twitter was a couple years ago. You may have heard about it, and understand the basic concept, but here is a quick overview.
Pinterest is about viewing, organizing and sharing images (they offer video too, but that hasn’t taken off).
The two key parts of Pinterest are pins and boards.
A pin is any image that you want to post. You can also add a text caption to any image as part of the pin. Pinterest offers a bookmarklet that you can add to your browser to quickly pin images you see on most websites.
You have to then put the pin on one of your boards. Boards can be labeled anything you want, but people usually use them to organize images around themes. Pinterest will automatically add some boards in the signup process if you approve it. You can always delete or rename boards later. It is helpful to have the default boards as a place to start.
Your pins show up in the stream of pins that your followers see, and likewise, you see the pins of people you follow on the default Pinterest page.
You can follow all of a person’s boards, or choose to only follow the one’s you are interested in.
Pinterest uses an algorithm to place some pins at the top of your stream largely based on “re-pins” and “likes” from other users.
You can re-pin other peoples pins to your own boards and have the option of changing the text caption when you re-pin. Unless the caption is highly personalized, most users make very few changes to captions.
You can “Like” a pin, and that will show up in a separate stream that others can access from your profile. Likes are often used when a person literally likes a pin but doesn’t want to re-pin it. This could be because they don’t have an appropriate board or don’t want to make their interest as public as re-pin would make it.
Ways to use Pinterest
Like most social networks, you often don’t know how best to use it until you try it out. I personally started on Pinterest because my wife uses it, and I am interested in social networks. I use Pinterest to collect images of different art I like in addition to other random collections of images that interest me.
Popular board categories include:
The list can go on and on. Essentially any topic you could think of could be a board. And you can make it as broad or specific as you want. Most people start out creating broad catagories and over time make them more specific. But like most social networks, there are many ways to do it right. Pinterest’s search function is excellent, and when you find and image you particuarlly like, you can then explore all the images that are on that board.
Pinterest heavily leans to female users, but I believe the human impulse to collect and organize things, will make Pinterest of use and genuinely fun for most people who give it a try. Whether Pinterest can make the experience relavent to people outside of core female demographics remains to be seen. But being able to follow individuals by board (essential interests) and not just by person, naturally lends itself to more an individualized and relevant experience.
I have only used Pinterest for two months, so I welcome your ideas, thoughts and suggestions on the service. Comments are appreciated.
If you need an invite to Pinterest, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Pinterest in the subject line, and I will send you an invitation.