By now you've heard about the latest online craze, Pinterest. But what is it and why all the sudden interest in this social media website? While I use social networking on a daily basis, I am not an expert in it, but I have had a lot of trial and error experience in the three plus years since launching Here We Are. Last week, after my first encounter with Pinterest, I knew it was going to be a huge life & style hit with staying power. Besides the usefulness, unlike other sites, there is something about the Pinterest experience that makes you feel happy. Try it once and you'll see what I mean!
If you are wondering whether or not to join another online networking site, then the following list may be of interest to you!
Top 10 Things you need to know if you are new to Pinterest:
1. It is FUN!
2. No technical know-how needed! The simple user-friendly formatting lets you get right down to business without much of a learning curve. If you can "click," you can pin!!
3. It is FREE!
4. It is all about visual imagery... With limited text, it's a bonus for the eye-strained web-surfer. Think of your account as a photo and video collection of anything and everything you like, want to share, learn about, cook, etc. According to the Pinterest about page, it "lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pin boards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes... you can browse pin boards created by other people. Browsing pin boards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests." NOTE: All boards are public so share wisely.
5. It's ADDICTIVE! There is so much to look at in every conceivable topic, interest, and area of life that it's easy to spend hours pinning and searching.
6. It is EASY to master setting up your boards and then begin "pinning" images to them. As of now, there doesn't seem to be a limit to the amount of boards, but like anything else, the more organized and specific you are, the more organized and specific you are! Click through to this video I pinned to one of my boards, "How To Use Pinterest." Note: the user page has changed a bit since Beth Hunter recorded it, but the tutorial is excellent (click the image to see the video - click on the odd box below, the video is there, you may have to sign into Pinterest).
7. It saves TIME & CLUTTER. Besides uploading a picture from your computer, when you find something you like on the web or in person (using a free iPhone app), you can pin a picture of that item to one of your boards. The benefit is that everything you want to keep track of is in one handy-dandy place...No more "file piles" of shopping ideas, magazine pages of furniture you want, brochures from your travel wish list, books you'd like to read, etc. It's all at your fingertips when you need it. TIP: Renovating? Then pin ideas you want to use and share your virtual boards with your designer.
8. It is a fabulous, VISUAL SEARCH engine. Find information you need by browsing the boards of others or by searching for specific items or ideas. Let's say you want a recipe for Key Lime Pie, just type it into the search box in the upper left corner and watch the Key Lime Pie's appear. Click through to the picture you like, and click again to be brought to the original page with the recipe (note: not every picture will have a website attached, but most do).
9. No worries about the original sources. Pinterest has taken care of this by maintaining original source information attached to each picture so you can like, comment, re-pin, embed, or tweet with just a click or two. (See #6 Source info at bottom of video screen shot for an attribution example.) UPDATE: I overstated the "no worries" approach, please read Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards by Kristen Kowalski to learn more about the brewing copyright controversy that Pinterest and its users may be creating.
10. As a social platform for personal use, you will "meet" people with shared interests and likes, not just because you have a tenuous connection from high school. It helps you get to know people on a different level, you can "see" their personality by their selections. As a business use, it can serve as another marketing tool; check out The Marketer's Guide To Pinterest and 56 Ways To Market Your Business On Pinterest for detailed, best practices tips on this approach.
Are you using Pinterest? Do you plan to? You can Follow me there. Remember, it's not how many boards you have, but what you pin that will make the experience fun. Start with one or two boards, you'll see how fast they multiply! Experiment, discover, and share with this new, uncomplicated tool that will definitely make you smile! Happy Pinning!!