What’s To Love About Pinterest

5 reasons to use Pinterest, why like Pinterest, pinning on Pinterest,

Creativity103's Flickr photostream

Are you on Pinterest?

This virtual pinboard lets us create, organize, and share what we find online. Because it’s a visually-oriented site, it attracts us using something other social media sites haven’t done nearly as well: images. While online we tend to be seekers. We look for information, distraction, connection, and inspiration. Pinterest lets us find (and revel in) all these things through compelling images.

The site was launched in March 2010. One of the founders, Ben Silbermann, said in an interview that the idea stemmed from his penchant for collecting. As a child he was particularly taken with entomology. He realized that collecting bugs said something about him, just as any of our interests say something about us. Co-founder Evan Sharp noted that he too was a collector as a child. As an adult that tendency shifted to amassing images in folders on his desktop. So they, along with the third co-founder, Paul Sciarra, developed Pinterest as a way for users to collect and share related images, linking back to the originating site.

Pinterest didn’t catch on immediately. But within a few months users began applying it in ways the founders hadn’t anticipated. They posted travel hacks, home renovation ideas, Etsy items, wedding plans, and craft tutorials. And it’s really taking off.  From Oct 2010 to March 2012, Pinterest went from 40,000 to 18 million monthly unique visitors.

Articles about Pinterest often focus on how it can drive sales or be used as a PR tool. For example TechCrunch predicts Pinterest could change consumer behavior, causing them to seek out goods favored by other Pinterest users. This may be true.

But what’s noted but little understood is that the primary users of Pinterest, at least so far, tend to be women.  A regular look at the Everything front page indicates that these users aren’t necessarily on Pinterest primarily to share consumer recommendations, although there are plenty of tempting pins for fashion and home décor products. They’re using it to share inspiration for ways to live; with more humor and less angst, with beauty found in an evocative landscape, with clever ideas for raising kids or making gifts or building a garden shed. This in itself makes Pinterest seem like a blessed relief from the endless marketing found online.

I’ve fallen for it for several reasons.

1. It’s hubbub free. Unlike FB, Twitter, or G+ you don’t need to scroll past drama or post repeats, nor do you need to hop in regularly lest it seem you’re ignoring ongoing conversations. Instead of all those voices clamoring for your attention, Pinterest has a peaceful vibe. It’s like moseying through a quiet gallery of images, each one ready to tell you more with a click.

2.  It’s a wonderful method of storing visually inspiring ideas for later use. Going back over your own boards can be like flipping through magazines made entirely of what you love. Previous pins can help you find that entree you want to make today, the shelves you want to build in your kitchen next summer, and the song that teaches your kids about the periodic table as soon as they’re old enough.

3. It’s a way to browse freely and casually within any interest you might have. Yes, you can create circles on G+ and lists on Twitter, but on Pinterest it’s easy to follow any chosen user’s specific boards. Whether you want ideas for DIY projects or images of trees or ways to preserve family peace, you’ll find it on Pinterest.

4.  Marketers assume Pinterest will drive sales and yes, there are plenty of luscious products pinned. But I wonder if it might actually serve as an antidote to materialism.  Sorting and sharing images may satisfy the urges often channeled into shopping or ordering online. If purchasing has something to do with acquiring and keeping, maybe, just maybe, acquiring and keeping images may fill the same need.

5. It’s a way of sharing what simply delights us. By organizing what appeals to us, we make it easier for other people to find interesting ideas and images. It’s heartening, in a way, to find that a woman I know as a writer of math books also has a thing for Spanish architecture, punk t-shirts, frothy cocktails, and Daniel Craig movies.

Connect with me on Pinterest!

About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is a writer and editor, perhaps due to an English professor's scathing denunciation of her writing as "curious verbiage." She's the author of "Free Range Learning," a handbook of natural learning and "Tending," a poetry collection. (lauragraceweldon.com) She's working on her next book, "Subversive Cooking" (subversivecooking.com). She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she is a barely useful farm wench. Although she has deadlines to meet she often wanders from the computer to preach hope, snort with laughter, cook subversively, talk to chickens and cows, discuss life’s deeper meaning with her surprisingly tolerant offspring, sing to bees, hide in books, walk dogs, concoct tinctures, watch foreign films, and make messy art.
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7 Responses to What’s To Love About Pinterest

  1. Yep, I had a look at your page. Looks very interesting, I shall have to have a decent gander at some stage. :)

  2. Joan says:

    I LOVE Pinterest. I think it’s a great thing to be surrounded by beauty, to sum it up. I can browse “ugh” all day long at any number of places. There, it’s all things that make me calm or happy!

  3. I signed up for Pinterest about a month ago and still haven’t gone on to look at everything yet. It’s funny because I know that I will love it more than FB or Twitter. I love, love, love findin and sharing new resources and ideas. It’s been so crazy busy right now that just keeping up with my own two posts a week and trying to respond to comments and other messeges seems more than I can do right now! But we’re going on a three week East Coast trip in two months, where we’ll spend at least 46 hours in the car, so I’m looking forward to finally getting on there and having fun exploring. I’m so thankful for me i-Phone!

    • Laura Weldon says:

      It can be a time suck like all the online allurements. I never did get into Twitter, probably a good thing. Pinterest is the most relaxing, like flipping through your favorite magazines. The real challenge? Getting around to the projects I’ve pinned.

  4. Jamie McMillin says:

    I’ve always been a sucker for beautiful magazines like “Victoria” or “Country Garden,” etc. because I love the images. Sometimes I would cut out the pictures, but then wouldn’t know what to do with them, and then I’d end up with a bunch of expensive magazines taking up space. Pinterest solves all those problems. It’s so easy to revisit and categorize your favorite pics – and find new ones! Love love Pinterest!

  5. cgcat says:

    Reblogged this on cgcat – Pinterest and commented:
    Laura Grace Weldon’s blog is very informative and interesting. I for one can learn alot from her blog.

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