“What a great idea,” said one friend to another.
“Thanks, I found it on Pinterest,” replied the friend with the totally awesome do-da.
If you haven’t yet found yourself in a conversation like this, you will. More and more conversations with my friends about recipes, party ideas, craft projects and even style tips are involving the word Pinterest. People everywhere are falling in love with the new “it” social networking site. Because the site is fundamentally based on pictures, it appeals to us on a level no other social bookmarking site has before.
In techincal terms, Pinterest is a social bookmarking site where people can save ideas and share them with friends. In regular terms, Pinterest is like a giant online bulletin board where you can “pin” your favorite things that you want to remember.
People “pin” all kinds of things on Pinterest, but some of the most popular categories are holidays, style, recipes, craft, entertaining, photography, humor and so much more.
To get started on Pinterest you must either be invited or request an invitation. (If you aren’t on Pinterest yet and would like an invitation, leave a comment below and I will invite you.) Once you are in, you will begin with several blank boards. Boards are basically categories to pin your ideas to. Initially you will see five boards labeled Favorite Places & Spaces, For the Home, Products I Love, My Style and Books Worth Reading. Those boards are a great place to start, but don’t feel confined to those topics or ideas. You can design your boards to your pleasing changing them and adding to them at any time. Currently, I have 19 boards, a couple of which I don’t really use and will soon be changing or deleting to better suit my needs.
When you join Pinterest, you will be prompted to follow your friends boards via Facebook. When you follow friends, their pins will appear on your page of “Pinners you follow.” That means, when you sign into Pinterest you will see everything the people you follow are pinning. This is the heart and sole of Pinterest.
Following Tip – When you follow people, you can either follow all of their pin boards or you can select individual pin boards to follow. When you follow all of a person’s pin boards you will see content from all of their boards. If you don’t want to see pins about a particular topic say “vacation ideas,” you can unfollow that particular board. When I follow people, I typically “follow all” and then I “unfollow” any boards I am not intersted in. For example, I don’t cook so I don’t really want to see everyone’s recipe ideas. But I do like to start by following all so that if someone adds a cool board I will get to see it. I can easily unfollow any boards they add that I don’t like.
Once you start with Pinterest, it is easy to see why people say they are “addicted” to Pinterest. There are an infinite number of amazing ideas on Pinterest and the more you search, the more you will find. There are several ways to surf Pinterest. The main way is to see the pins of “People you follow.” This page shows you the most recent pins of everyone you follow, which means the more people you follow the more often this page changes and grows.
Another way to search is by category. Since you will find categories for just about everything, category searching is labeled “everything.” Under everything, you can use the drop-down menu to narrow you search category.
You can also search by video for the hottest videos on Pinterest, by Popular for the hottest pins on Pintrest and by gifts for gift ideas by price (using the drop down menu). Finally, you can use the search box to search for something specific. For example, if you were throwing a Minnie Mouse birthday party you might search “Minnie Mouse” for party ideas (that you could then pin to your Minnie Mouse Party board).
When browsing Pinterest, there are several ways to interact with something you like. You can “like” it (just like Facebook), you can comment on it or you can repin it to one of your boards. Only pinning (or repinning) something saves it to your boards to look at later. (Although you can review your likes under your account if you ever want to go back and see them.)
In addition to repinning things you find on Pinterest, you can also download the Pinterest button to easily allow you to Pin from anywhere on the web. You can also upload your own images to Pinterest directly, but the button makes it so easy to pin directly from any website that it is my preferred method to pin. Plus it leaves an automatic link back to the site where you found the idea so you can return later. And, oh yes, you can pin from your iPhone!
When you pin something, you are given the opportunity to describe your pin. If you are repinning, the description will already be filled in from the person who pinned it, you can choose to leave that description or write your own. Pin descriptions help others find your pin since the copy from the pin is what is pulled in a search. So if you are pinning a Christmas craft, you might write “Cool Christmas craft for the kids I want to try.” That way others can easily find your pin.
Once you give Pinterest a try, you are likely to get lost in the world of pinning. It is wonderfully fun, interesting and full of fantastic ideas. If you are on Pinterest or decide to sign up, I’d love for you to follow my boards.