A look at Pinterest - A Different Kind of Social Network
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social network based around the idea of 'pinning' things that you like on virtual pin boards. You can have as many different pin-boards as you like for different interests. There are 'pin it' buttons all over the web, and you can also download a 'bookmarklet' button for your web browser, so you can pin anything you see that you like, be it a book cover, coat, mosaic floor or picture of One Direction!
How to join
Simply register with your own username and password. It works especially well as a compliment to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter rather than just on its own, so you can join the two or three or more accounts together if you wish. Then you can start using all of the features straight away.
Personalising your Pinterest Account
Once you have signed up, you get asked to upload a photo and write a short bio of yourself. It then suggests searching through your Facebook, Twitter and Gmail contacts so that you can identify existing Pinterest users from among your own friends. You then have the opportunity to invite friends to Pinterest as well and share things with them.
The most important thing you need to do however is set up your pin-boards. It offers a default selection of boards which are a good starting point - Products I Like, For the Home, Books Worth Reading, Style etc. You can edit/delete any of these, and create as many different boards as you like. This can be great even for christmas present lists to come back to later without you needing to bookmark lots of pages and click through each one.
Something You Might "Pin"
Pinning, Re-pinning and following
The idea of Pinterest is to 'pin' things that interest you onto your themed boards. You do this either by clicking a 'pin it' button, or by clicking on the 'Pin it' bookmarklet in your browser bar (you have to set this up, but the site gives you clear, 30 second instructions on how to do this). If you download the iPhone Pinterest app, you can also take a picture and then Pin it. When you click 'Pin it', you will get given a choice of all the images on the webpage, and you have to choose which one you want to Pin. You then select which board you want to pin it on, and can write a short description.
That is the 'out and about' side of Pinterest. That's only a small part of the fun however, the other side is browsing other people's Pins on the Pinterest site itself. You can either click on 'Pinners you follow' (more on that later), or 'Everything'. If you click on 'Everything' you can select one of about 30 different categories to browse. You can also search for particular items.
If you like a post, you can repin, like or comment. If you click on the image, it will bring it up a larger photo. You can then more easily comment, click on the link the web page it was originally pinned from, and you can also click 'Follow'. It is important to note that when you click Follow from an image, you will be follow the board it was pinned on only, not all pins by that user. (To follow all boards and pins of a user, you need to click on their profile and then click 'follow all'). From the detail page you can also like it on Facebook, tweet about it or email it to someone.
Little Pinterest Video
From the front page, you can also browse video pins, popular pins and gifts (by amount). Alternatively you can search for pins on particular things.
By clicking 'Add' you can either add a pin (if you are on a computer without a bookmarklet this is how you can pin things from any page by copying and pasting the url), upload a pin (i.e. photo or video), or add a new pin-board.
At first I didn't think much of Pinterest, I thought it was very over-hyped and an unnecessary addition to the social networking world. I just didn't get why it was in the top 50 websites, and why users spent 89 minutes on the site each month (compared to just 3 minutes on Google Plus for instance). But then I started using the site, I starting pinning things, browsing the site, repinning, liking and following. And it became quite addictive. The killer feature I think is the way that you can have as many different boards as you want to, on as many different topics. I have a great many interests, and now I can have a board for each one. If someone shares just one interest with me, they can follow that one board and will never see the rest. This leaves me free to post exactly what I want and don't need to try to keep my followers happy as each one will only see what they want. I am not aware of any other social network that does this. So I think Pinterest is only just beginning, and has a long way to go yet...
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