I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little late to hop on the Pinterest bandwagon, but it took me a while to get over the stereotype of girls pinning casserole recipes and place settings or flower arrangements for their dream wedding – not too far from the truth in its beginning stages. But, as brands, newspapers and celebrities start to explore the space, it’s only natural that I succumb to the social media channel of the moment.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Pinterest, it’s basically a virtual bulletin board that you use when you’re surfing the internet. If you come across an article you’d like to read later, pin it. If you find that perfect recipe for chocolate chip cookies, pin it. All of those pins are then shared with your network of followers as a smorgasbord of your various tastes and interests.
Often times, people are quoted as wasting hours and hours on Pinterest and even boast to their friends or social media followers that they’ve found the perfect craft to occupy their time this weekend. (I could even make a strong case that it should be added to the “S*** Girls Say” video. Just saying.) However, after spending a couple of hours on the platform, I understand how you can get lost in the many pins populating your feed. I might have even already made one of the recipes myself.
Here are some of the specific reasons why my initial impressions of Pinterest are good:
- It’s a great way to organize your thoughts as you go through the internet: A lot of times, when I find something I like on the internet, I’ll open it up in a new tab/window and save it for later. This really only works with articles and quick videos since there’s no way to save it for the long haul. Also, everyone knows bookmarking pages can get annoying and completely out of control very quickly, which this provides an alternative for. In the end, everything you like is in one, nicely organized space.
- It allows you to expand your horizons: I follow a lot of blogs and websites on a daily basis. Part of my job is staying up to speed on trends, viral videos and hot-topic articles, just to be sure I’m aware of current news and can keep the creative juices flowing. Obviously, it’s impossible to find everything but, by following users with different tastes and interests, they keep me informed of the new “it” items from their respective categories. (And you never know when you’re going to need that cheesy guacamole recipe …)
- Sometimes, it really does have that great idea: You should think of Pinterest as a mood board, or idea starter that can inspire you to do different things. Have a bunch of antique spoons that you want to do something with? Search “spoons” and you will be flooded with images of chandeliers, door handles and wall art that you can make with your very own flatware. And once you’re done making your own, share it! You never know who else might find inspiration from you own design and interpretation.
When I first started using Pinterest, I was confused about how it was different from Tumblr, the popular micro-blogging site. After playing around for a couple of hours, I realized Pinterest doesn’t invite commentary or opinion. It really is just “I found this and think it’s cool and want to reference it later.” My personal Tumblr follows a lot of the same logic except the topics I address are completely different. Most of the content is marketing-related or artistic, while the items I’m pinning on Pinterest are recipes, crafts, clothes and fun pictures. At this point, I could go into how a brand should engage consumers through Pinterest but Mashable already did a great job of that here and here, so I’ll keep this post personal.
How do you use Pinterest? What do you like specifically about it? If you use Tumblr too, what do you think the differences are?
PS: If you would like to join Pinterest, the easiest way is to get an invite, so feel free to shoot me your email address and I’ll pay it forward by inviting you personally.