Lately we’ve been talking about Pinterest, the virtual pinboard that lets you create, organize, and share what you 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 Star Wars memorabilia, travel destinations, Etsy items, wedding plans, and gift ideas. And it’s really taking off. From Oct 2010 to Oct 2011, Pinterest went from 40,000 to 3.2 million monthly unique visitors. Big retailers like Nordstrom and Lands End are seeking to integrate Pinterest into their sites.
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.
What do Geek Moms like about Pinterest?
I’ve fallen for it for several reasons.
First, it’s hubbub free. Unlike FB, Twitter, or G+ you don’t need to scroll past drama or post repeats, nor do 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.
Second, it’s a wonderful way to store 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 the appetizer you want to serve at tomorrow’s party, the shelves you want to build in your kitchen next summer, and the project that teaches your kids about the periodic table as soon as they’re old enough.
Third, 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.
And finally, it’s a way of sharing what delights us with others. 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.
find me on Pinterest
I like finding ideas for handmade gifts. It has become a good addition to Twitter because it is photo based instead of word based.
find me on Pinterest
I tried it out and was hooked immediately. I love seeing new/funky stuff and Pinterest has constantly evolving new and funky stuff! It’s like the best part of every magazine I would buy, minus all the ads.
My kids love it too. We all have our favorite categories. Early on I created a board for each of them, as things kept reminding me of them. My daughter loves the fashion and hair and nails posts. My son loves the animal and humor posts. I love sifting through the ‘everything’ category, so I don’t miss any treasures!
I have to admit, we have had several evenings, when we are all sitting around, waiting to go somewhere, or just deciding how the night will play out, and someone will pull up the humor section of Pinterest and we’ll laugh and laugh together, calling out our favorites. (‘click on that one!…click on that one!..”)
It works great with facebook. For Thanksgiving I was able to find some fun, funky pictures to post for the holiday. I had planned to make simple ornaments for nieces/nephews, gluing pics from Pinterest, of things they love, onto wooden circles. Still may do it.
I also love the food sections. I’m not a cook, hate the whole idea of being in the kitchen. But I find so many easy, clever things that even I could do, that my kids have been pleased that I have become more inspired.
I think Pinterest helps a mom nurture her geekhood. Through the tech and science categories, it opens up new ideas and information that would be hard to find on your own. I personally don’t cruise the ‘home dec’ boards much, because I’m not much of a designer. But I love that my boys even click over to the science related boards, and discuss things for hours afterward.
I don’t get to visit as often as I did when I first found it, but I know its always there, with great pics and ideas. My only warning for people is “Be careful! Make sure you have LOTS of time to kill on the day you first try it!”
I used to keep a binder with magazine clippings of future projects to try, but now I have Pinterest for inspiration. I’ve even made some of the items I pinned — bracelets, wreaths, and Halloween decorations. I feel like a DIY Queen.
Whenever I need a smile, I take a look through the “Geek” category. It’s usually heavy on Harry Potter and Doctor Who images, along with other geeky goodness.
I love browsing the site and looking for my next big project!
I’ve never been one to do more than look at a magazine photo and decide that I love it. I’ve not collected images in a folder, and have never really sat and compared different looks. But with Pinterest? I can easily glance and see that I seem to be drawn to very *beige decor. I’m using it as a way to gather my ideas together. I’ve always bookmarked links that I like, but the visual that pinterest offers is SO much easier for me to maneuver.
find me on Pinterest
It’s funny, for all I’m such a social media junkie, Pinterest hasn’t grabbed me. I occasionally crosspost my “daily swoon” G+ posts there, but when I start clicking around other people’s pins, it pretty much just creates a mountain of want–so much gorgeousness out there to admire and yearn for!
But I have a number of friends who have never been keen on Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc—but they love Pinterest, LOVE it. I think part of it, for me, is that I’m a word person, not a picture person. When I go to Twitter, I’m sucked right in. So many conversations! I’m in heaven. But Pinterest doesn’t absorb me in that way. I get overwhelmed by all the beautiful visuals and find myself clicking away.
OK, now I’m LOL because I just went to Pinterest to follow those of you who’ve chimed in on this thread, and the first post I saw was this one about how to draw hair. Which I know my manga-drawing daughters will be interested in—so it just occurred to me to create a pinboard especially for them, a place where I can share things they’ll enjoy. Now *that* I might be able to get into…
I am the only one on it at our house. To me it was a long awaited solution to my magazine addiction. I get several magazines a month and I love looking through them and dog earring pages with stuff I like, want to make, etc. Then they would sit by my bed for months, sometimes years, at a time and I would never get to do anything with them. Eventually I would just recycle them. When I found Pinterest I realized I can find all those projects, ideas, and recipes and pin them. Then when I have a few minutes, I can go to my crafts or recipes board and find something I have wanted to make instead of having to search through magazines to find it.
My only problem is that is seems to crash quite a bit.
To me, it is different that FB because it is less of a social outlet for me and more of a barrel of ideas. I still check FB more than Pinterest but I have used Pinterest for decorating ideas and gift ideas for this Christmas.
I’ve been on Pinterest for a few months now. I’m using it in a way much different than I had expected when I first started. At first I treated it like a social network, creating boards of things I want to share with others, same as my Facebook profile with lists of my favorite books, favorite kid books, favorite movies, etc. Now I use it not as a place to share with others but as a place to save things for myself. My repository of DIY projects I want to do, new recipes I want to try, home decor inspirations, or even just saving the picture and link of an item I want to purchase at a later date.
I recently bought a new house and during escrow I spent hours and hours browsing the home decor thread and saving pictures of things I liked. I’ve always been a beige, brown, and red kind of girl, but reviewing my home decor board I noticed everything was blue and grey! Finally I decided the paint color scheme for the new house would be white, dark grey, and bright teal. I don’t think I would have gone for it if it wasn’t for Pinterest teaching me a thing or two about myself!
The app is (was?) super buggy in terms of connectivity. I do 100% of my social media browsing from my phone (during breaks, in bed at night, on the road if I’m not the driver) so I’ve had serious issues with it not pinning/repinning my stuff a lot of times. I don’t know how the new update is yet, I’m installing now. Fingers crossed!
I could never get used to Twitter. When it comes to words, I’m a verbose person. Being limited to X-number of characters drives me bat sh**crazy. FB and G+ are oriented towards making a people-to-people connection. No one on FB of G+ cares if I like this lamp or that lamp or that other lamp, and I wouldn’t want to bog down people with a million links and pictures to home decor items I’m considering for my new house. With Pinterest, we’re all there to find visual inspiration so I don’t feel bad to posting 15 styles of lamps or 37 rugs I like. I do follow my friends’ Pinterest boards and they follow mine so there is still a social element, but I really spend most of my time scrolling down the “everything” list to find new ideas and saving things on my boards for my convenience. I consider Pinterest more of a tool than a social network.
I also love to save cute bento boxes and DYI project ideas for my daughter when she’s older!
find me on Pinterest
Laura Grace Weldon is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending as well as Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm with her family where she's working on her new project, Subversive Cooking.com. and blogging optimistically.