Over the holidays I joined Pinterest even though I had been warned about how addictive it is. The site has been around since 2010 but has recently experienced explosive growth.
Pinterest is a social site but it is a little different in that it is more about collecting and curating than about content generation. As a serial blogger, it is a welcome break.
Pinterest boards display collections of photographs or digital images. The images are "pinned" onto the boards. There is a pin bookmark available for all the major browsers.
Find a picture, click on the Pinterest bookmark, and the picture gets pinned to a Pinterest board. It’s just like pinning something to a cork board. Boards can be collaborative, with more than one person collecting content.
Pins can be links to photographs on the Internet, or photos can be uploaded from your computer.
I have a board dedicated to travel, and when I see a photograph of a place I would like to visit, or some place I would like to go again, or even a picture of a piece of luggage I like, I pin it to my board.
The board inspires me on those cold Minnesota January nights, as I look at photos of faraway beaches and historic architecture in European villages.
I have a board that is dedicated to pictures of porches, because I like them. On a board called "red" I have pictures with red in them.
I have a board for photography where I collect pictures of equipment that I can’t afford and photographs that I think are amazing.
The boards are great for collecting and sharing ideas and can be a source of inspiration. Pinterest boards are a way to create a collection that does not take up space or ever need to be dusted.
Some people use the pin boards for wedding planning, and they can be used for planning trips or to plan a meal or a party — you can use it as a recipe book, too. Pinterest has an iPhone app, too.
We can re-pin pictures that others have pinned and put them in our collections. Pins can be liked and they can be commented on. There is a like button and Twitter button next to every Pinterest pin, and the pins can be emailed or embedded into a blog.
I invited one of my clients to Pinterest so we can share pictures of houses and rooms and decorating ideas. We have shared photographs with each other through Flickr for years so it seemed natural to share through Pinterest.
Not everything in my life is work-related, but if I can find a work-related excuse to use Pinterest, that works for me.
Pinterest is a little like Twitter in that people join and say that they don’t get it. As I follow friends on Pinterest I can tell who doesn’t get it.
In fact, I can tell more about some of my friends by looking at their Pinterest boards than I can by reading their status updates on Facebook.
I expect that some Realtor will see this article and decide to use Pinterest to showcase his or her listings.
"Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion," according to "Pin Etiquette."
Some of my own photography has landed on Pinterest. People have linked to pictures of local landmarks and architecture. When the photos are linked to correctly, the links go back to my blog and that helps generate traffic.
It is a reminder to me of how important it is to generate quality content because there is always a demand for it.
Pinterest is social but it isn’t for everyone. Women seem to flock to it and appreciate it in greater numbers than men do. Eventually there will be classes on how to use Pinterest, and perhaps books on the subject, and maybe someone will come up with a Pinterest strategy that people who want to get rich can use.
But for now, it is fun to go on the site and look at the boards and it is fun to add to my own collections, look at my friends’ collections, re-pin content, and leave comments and likes — or just lurk and enjoy.