A local technology writer from one of the daily newspapers in the Twin Cities put a call out to all his Pintrest followers as to why they use this social media platform. I’m thrilled to be included in his blog that was the background for the article that ran on the front page of the Sunday paper (see previous post).
About fell off my chair when I saw my headshot in his blog – it is a very odd feeling to be included in the story after being behind the story for so many years!
(Note: This post is part of extensive Pinterest coverage this weekend. I wrote a Tech Test Drive column about it, along with a feature story about local Pinterest users. I also created a Pinterest board showcasing items pinned by the people quoted in my article.)
It took me a while to “get” Pinterest.
I was well aware of its runaway popularity but, as with many up-and-coming social networks, I was unable to see its appeal or relevance to my own existence.
I had set up an account and amassed a list of Pinterest friends, though, so I reached out to them with a question (not exactly in these words): “So what the frack is the deal here?”
Several of them responded via e-mail with lengthy and spellbinding analyses that helped me grasp the awesomeness that is Pinterest. Since then, a switch has flipped in my cerebral cortex and I’m pinning like a crazy person.
So if you’re confused about or skeptical of Pinterest, read on. These users might make you a believer.
Note that the name of each person is hyperlinked to his or her Pinterest account, while the description of each person links to his or her home, professional or bio page.
1) The ability to go in, even for just a few minutes, and scan to see what people are pinning, and find new images that might interest me. A friend described it as “visual snacking.” I think that sums it up well.
2) The creative freedom. I love how you can create and curate boards for just about anything. I have one for Men of PR fashion. Another for Bad Ass Shoes. Yes another labeled “Oh, the Places I’ll Go” (travel destinations)
What I don’t like: It’s currently tough to identify other users you might want to follow. There have been some lists published by Pinterest power users lately, but the tool needs to make this easier.
I’m on for three main reasons:
1) I like the beauty shots of faraway lands and beautiful sunsets. By taking a few minutes out of my day to surf the Pinterest boards, I can have a mini-retreat to some wonderful far way place as a goal of where we will travel, or a reminder of places visited in the past.
2) I like some of the kid-friendly tips and food ideas. I saw a Mater (as in the movie “Cars,” a movie my 3-year-old son has seen a million times) sandwich face that I will attempt to replicate this weekend. I found some fruit and veggie tips that will get some play soon in our kitchen.
3) Lastly, I love some of the quotes. Though Twitter and Facebook is lousy with people re-quoting famous people or passing along funny thoughts. But, being a visual person, sometimes the impact of the thought/notion is realized in the font or visual impact of how it’s presented. I take 5-minute breaks throughout the day to look at Pinterest as a breath of fresh air or to have a laugh.
At the end of the day, my husband and our 9-year-old daughter look at things for his “Star Wars” board or other funny visuals. Luckily, by controlling the pinners we follow, we can have a relatively G-rated experience, something that is becoming harder to do elsewhere.
Also – visually – I see Pinterest as the digital file of all the cool magazine pictures I used to rip out and save for “one day.” Now its all organized in one spot that I can access any time.
As an interesting side effect, it is a little voyeuristic to see the style choices and trends that are out there. I’m learning more about my 19-year-old niece’s (who lives in Washington DC and I only get to see once a year) taste and style preference in a quick/easy way! She loves silver rings as much as I do – all those gifts I’ve given to her have paid off!
My husband, Christopher, blogged about Pinterest here.
I like what I learn about my friend’s interests. Conversely, I don’t like that it’s not very intuitive to turn off specific boards (I have no need to see a friend’s vast collection of bird pictures).
I like that I can find crafty ideas without having to go to a million craft-mom blogs. I have a million good ideas now. My friend Mandy often creates or cooks off of Pinterest and I would like to do more.
I like being able to search for ideas, or images, or recipes, etc.
I worry about pinning things up, and wondering if they are “safe” and “stored.” I worry I will have link loss later.
I am interested in how people are starting to use it beyond the obvious. I like seeing “Restaurants to Try” and “Books to Read” boards, and I am interested in how it is becoming a visual notebook.
In terms of professional vs. private, do my clients really need to see all my chocolate recipes? That will take some management.
1) Beautiful interface; good for discovery 2) Facebook integration 3) Simple settings (love those cool sliders) 4) Pin-it button for browsers and websites 5) Posting process is very simple
1) The default notifications; too much bacn 2) The invite system to get into beta; not everyone I know is on it yet. 3) Would like to see ratings integrated since the best application for the service are products.
I think the success of Pinterest has mostly to do with how easy it is to post content, its beautiful design and its deep Facebook integration. Their viral spread via a controlled beta was also smart but that approach is beginning to look old as the service gets more popular.
I didn’t “get it” at first but the more I use it, the more I see applications for it (like wine reviews).
I actually found out about Pinterest a year ago from an intern while the site was mostly crafts, and I asked for an invite but never received one. I was able to join about six months ago and have been in love ever since. Here’s why it’s so Pinteresting:
1) Visually stimulating: even if you have no intention of planning a wedding, making a new recipe, or have any interest in online shopping or crafting, scrolling through Pinterest is a delightful way to spend time online.
2) Creatively invigorating: I often check Pinterest in the evenings to get outfit ideas for the next day, or on weekends for decorating ideas for my house. I’ve executed many of those ideas. I hate cooking and am horrible at it, but I spent a whole Saturday making soup recipes I found on Pinterest.
3) New resources: one of the big things I love about Pinterest is that the pins are connected to their source so I’m able to buy, buy, buy, find new blogs, read news stories, etc.
4) Handy list: I use a pinboard to keep track of all of things I find online that I want to buy instead of having to create multiple bookmarks, notes, etc.
I think one of the fascinating things about what makes Pinterest interesting compared to a lot of other competing services is that it’s centered around a basic principle: what you and your friends want.
I think it creates a unique ecosystem online when all you’re seeing are the collective desires of your friends and then share the ones you desire too. It’s addictive for some.
At the Heavy Table, we noticed an uptick of activity on Pinterest linking to our content out of the blue. We have a lot of tasty things on our site as well as recipes, and Pinterest is a natural place for people to share those things they want to eat or try in the kitchen.
We decided to have a presence on Pinterest ourselves, lead by one of our photographers (who is also addicted to the service herself).
On our board, we repin content of ours as well as pinning content from other sources as it relates to food and beverage in the Upper Midwest.
We don’t see a ton of traffic to our site from Pinterest yet, but we are certainly noticing an upward trend so we’re keeping our eye on it closely.
Pinterest is a great example of works well in digital/social technologies: do one thing, but do it really well.
It’s predecessors are social networks that manage to carve out their niches and get a little bit of sunlight despite Facebook’s massive shadow: Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare to name a few. They don’t try to be the swiss-army knife of social networks (*cough* Google+), and they won’t win at that game any time soon because nobody is asking for another Facebook.
But Pinterest saw their opportunity in that A) people love sharing great content, and B) a strong visual is a much more powerful driver than text (otherwise we would all still be using De.licio.us and wouldn’t need Pinterest to share and discover new content).
They’ve also brilliantly translated something very analogue (a cork-board) into a digital format. A cork board where you can post inspiration, and what’s even better: you can invite friends to collaborate on your board which is going to be great for brands (we’re currently working on this for space150′s own social media).
Designers at space150 tell me they have been into Pinterest for well over a year (back when it was way too small to show up on comScore or Google’s radar). At that time it seemed to be a little more of a tool for professional designers, photographers, or other creative folks (much like ffffound.com still is today).
But Pinterest has now moved way past professional creatives, into regular Joes (or more accurately: Janes) who just love to be inspired. My wife doesn’t work in a creative field at all, but she got into Pinterest long before I did.
One thing that may be leading to more adoption is the growth of people sharing about their “Pinterest projects” or “Pinterest recipes” which simply means a project or a recipe that was inspired by something they found on Pinterest. This is funny to me…because no one has ever talked about Google projects, or Facebook projects, but certainly those two sites have been used to discover new things to to create around the house.
I really enjoy Pinterest. It is like a guilty pleasure. If I have a few minutes to kill, I check Pinterest for fun recipes or interesting decorating ideas. I have already utilized some ideas. We rearranged our back closet to better accommodate my kids’ hockey gear. I have made many delicious recipes from it. I often surprise my kids at the bus stop with creative Pinterest snack ideas.
I think Pinterest makes you imagine the life you could have… the great meals you could make… the wonderful, organized house you could have…the amazing fashions you could be wearing…
It is like reading a magazine and instead of clipping recipes and cutting out interesting tidbits, you can pin it to your virtual bulletin board and refer back to it whenever you want…
When I am grocery shopping, I get on my phone and check the Pinterest recipes I have pinned to get ideas for meals…
I think my family is enjoying it because they are definitely benefiting from all of the ideas…
I think sometimes we all need a little inspiration … Pinterest is that inspiration. I feel energized when I can use an idea I find to make life easier or to make my family smile.
It is just a fun escape.