_ Unlike other times I’ve used that phrase, I actually have had a Pinterest account for some time now. I started back when it didn’t take long to get accepted (now the wait is several days, I hear!). It seems people have caught on to this new social networking idea, and many friends from Facebook have started following me.
At first, I was a little put off. This was my secret place where all my ambition & inspiration came from! It was my escape from the real world and the people in it. And now it was being inundated by these random people that don’t really know me anymore, repinning everything I pinned. What was my sacred Pinterest coming to?!
This feeling lasted about a day.
I realized, many people don’t quite understand the full value in Pinterest. I’m notified every time someone starts following my boards. Every so often, I’ll recognize someone that added my boards and when I check out their Pinterest, nothing is in it! There are many people who simply have an account just to observe the activity around them.
Just last week I received a LinkedIn newsletter with a link to an article titled, “5 Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest to Boost Consumer Engagement”. Honestly, I didn’t read it. Not yet, anyway. I’d rather think for myself on that one. However, just like the invasion of Facebook friends, I felt as though companies were going to taint my precious space like they took Facebook and Twitter and all that is good in this world.
I got over this, too. I am in advertising—I can’t help but be interested in the marketing aspect of Pinterest. And it is, in fact, a wonderful tool when utilized correctly.
In this post, I’d like to talk a bit about Pinterest for those who haven’t used it yet, or haven’t delved very deeply into the site and its unique user experience. Part II will break down the three types of users I see in the Pinning community.
What is this Pinterest thing?
Pinterest is a social networking site in which each user creates a myriad of “pinboards.” These boards contain “pins” of images (and more recently video) from the internet or their local hard drive. Boards can be categorized for others to find them, they can be co-created (allowing multiple people to pin to them), and they can be rearranged within each user's main page. The easiest way to place a pin on a board is to “repin” something another Pinterest user pinned. You hover over their pin, hit “repin” and voila! Inspiration. It’s much like Tumblr in this way.
Other tidbits of coolness
Pinterest has a nifty tool called the “Pinmarklet,” which is a bookmark in your web browser that, upon being clicked, allows you to pin any image on a web page. Users can comment on pins, “like” them, tag other users in captions of each pin, add a price tag and use hash tags (like Twitter). Of course, every pin can be posted to Facebook and Twitter as well.
The best part about Pinterest is that pins are usually direct links to the website where the image is housed. For instance, if I pin a picture of a cheesecake I found on a recipe blog, when someone else clicks on my pin, he will be taken to the original recipe. That way, I don’t have to write the whole thing down in the caption—it’s linked right there!
One final note on Pinterest.
Still in the news and still being debated is SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act. As most Americans have figured out, this act in Congress has noble intentions, but incredibly wrong methods. Now, this blog and my website is certainly not a stage for my political beliefs, however, SOPA is a detrimental policy to almost every American that uses the interweb. It would essentially shut down Pinterest because the very basis of the site is to share other users' content. To most people, this isn't considered copyright infringement. Heck, to artists and photographers and designers whose work is constantly repinned in a slew of hundreds of pinners, it's free advertising and a way to increase global visibility. As a creative, I'd be honored to have someone repin my work. Under the current writings of SOPA, all activity on Pinterest could (and most likely would) be considered a violation of copyright law. Users could be punished, the entire site could be taken down and people could be fined exorbitant amounts of money. If you're interested, click here to easily contact your politicians and urge them to say no to SOPA.
And with that, I say,
Onward, fellow Pinners!