What is Pinterest?

When you need an idea, you need Pinterest

Have you heard of Pinterest?

Pinterest, launched in 2010, is a popular content and image sharing website, best compared to an online scrapbook. Users find images, designs, or content they like somewhere on the Web, create a category (or "pinboard"), and then post it to the website. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites on the Web, boasting over 12 million users (mostly female) as of the time of this writing. It's an intriguing way to curate what you're interested in on the Web.

Simple to get started

An invite must be requested from Pinterest in order to join. Once accepted, users can log in with their username and password, or with either a Twitter or Facebook user profile.

The basics of using Pinterest

There are several main categories at Pinterest: including Everything, Videos, Popular, and Gifts. Within the category "Everything" are dozens of sub-categories, ranging from Architecture to Other. "Videos" shows the most recent and popular multimedia, "Popular" shows you what's currently trending, and "Gifts" is a very useful breakdown of merchandise saved by the community, filtered by price.

Images and other content (infographics, videos, slideshows, etc.) can be saved to an individual's profile and organized into greater collections. Most users organize their collections via themes, i.e., "wedding" or "DIY". Individual collections as well as the greater community at large can all be viewed on the main page. If a user find something that they like within another collection, they can save it to their own page.

Each user can find other users to follow within the site. Once followed, all the content from that user then shows up within your personal Pinterest flow of images.

Finding images and other content to save to the site is made easier by specialized browser buttons; a "Pin It" bookmarklet for those looking to save content to their Pinterest page or for webmasters who want to encourage their readers to save content from their website.

Basic Pinterest terms you need to know

  • Pin: Any content added to Pinterest
  • Pinning: The act of adding something to the site
  • Pinboard: A collection of content , also known as pins, usually organized around a topic or theme.
  • Following: If you follow someone else on Pinterest, you therefore are able to see their content on your personal board. "Follow All" follows an individual user, "Follow" tracks an individual board.
  • Repinning: Placing something from another board onto one of yours.
  • Liking: If you "like" something, the image gets added to your profile; the image does not become part of your boards (collections).

The impact of Pinterest on the Web

Pinterest's growth has been phenomenal and shows no sign of stopping. Content is shared not only on the site, but also on Facebook and Twitter, which makes its reach even more all-encompassing.

Mostly, Pinterest is about content, both creating it and curating it. For example, a bride planning a wedding now can collect menus, dresses, flowers, and potential music in one convenient place, sharing them with members of her wedding party. A store can reach out to its customers by uploading new releases, commenting on followers' profiles, and sourcing new material.

Anyone who has a project that they would like to organize can use Pinterest as a streamlined content management tool that is collaborative in real-time, which makes the site both beautiful and exceptionally useful.