Pinterest seems to have sprung out the woodworks all of a sudden; I had just got use to Flickr and could just about navigate around but I’ve got to say I found it a little awkward. It wasn’t so much sharing, as keeping, online. So when Pinterest appeared on some of my guilty pleasure sites I was needless to say a little annoyed at yet another site I had to find my way around to see the products or inspiration of blogs I followed.
Pinterest actually kept my attention by being simple to use and basically making it easier to do what I was already doing: storing inspiration and images of stuff I like. I tend to be someone who does this already. When I was getting married I had my laptops “Wedding folder”, this in turn held a number of other folders: Groom, Dress, Venue, Food, etc. These contained hundreds of pictures I had collected from the web which I hoped would help me form the wedding day my husband & I wanted. In some ways it did help, in other ways it just used up a lot of space on my laptop and gave me a lot of images to circle through whenever I was attempting to make a decision. Now my wedding is over and done with, I have similar folders for the future: home decor, architecture, gardening, children, etc. Basically I am a very visual person.
Pinterest wonderfully allows me to do this but there are some big advantages. Firstly, I’m not using up tons of space on my laptop because it’s all in a nice, tidy online space where I can log on and find it whenever I want. Secondly, I gives credit to those to whom the image belongs, and helps me find out more information if I want to later. Thirdly, it shares what I find inspiring and creative with others also searching the web for ideas. This is mainly what I find difficult about Flickr, Facebook and a dozen other photo-storing systems – they don’t really share, they store.
I am a big fan of the original purpose of the internet: that information could be shared and progress could be increased by cooperation. What the internet turned into on its worst days is the opposite: mean-spirited people getting very annoyed if anything from their lives gets somewhere in the grasp of another interested party. Ideally, people looking would be only looking innocently, and those holding would be willing to share and collaborate. Pinterest helps me live out my own bit of idealism.
In collecting images I share them with others, they are inspired and might find something similar that inspires me and more still. I think this may be the success of Pinterest – it’s openness to the world. They have rules, of course, but these rules are pretty simple, the main one being “no nudity” which I believe to be fair if they are trying not to let it become some massive porn and penis-fest as other sites have succumbed to (most memorably Chat Roulette which I am not linking too because you do not want to go there).
The fact that you still require an invitation is quite nice because it has meant that businesses cannot just jump on the bandwagon and take over too fast. So for those of you interested in getting in on the deal here are a few things I’d like to suggest first:
- Think about what you would actually use it for. If you are just trying to be involved but don’t think you’d actually contribute anything other than a few not-so-funny university memes, then it’s probably not worth the bother.
- Remember that you don’t have to be a member of Pinterest to look at pictures belonging to sites, blogs or friends of yours. this is not some exclusive club – it’s a useful tool. I get involved in art & design a lot so finding inspiration on Pinterest was useful before I decided to join it.
- If you do join, try to keep your folders organised from the start. I am all for broad subject manner but however much you may love Cameron Diaz/Brad Pitt/Ryan Reynolds their startling good looks do not make them architecture/home decor/art however much you want them to be.
- When pinning a picture it is easy (through Pinterest automatically, or through the “Pin It” bookmarklet) but to be most useful to those around you try to give a decent description of what you’re pinning, or at least why you like it, it helps others find it in searches, and you will appreciate others doing it too.
After that I’m pretty new myself. You are welcome to follow me if you like, and if you are keen to join send me a comment with your email (which will not be publicly posted) and a nice message and I’ll send you an invite. I would love to see how you find it. To be honest I’m interested to see how much use you find Pinterest to be, and how far this new website will stretch into our language. Will it be the new “like”, “poke” or “tag”?
Oh, and just to finish here’s something funny I found on Pinterest..
- Pinterest: How Do U.S. and UK Users Compare? [INFOGRAPHIC] (mashable.com)
- Hit Social Media Site Has Something Special Facebook Doesn’t (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pinterest Your Life (techie-buzz.com)
- Pinterest – a Flickr killer? A definite YES (customerthink.com)