What is Pinterest?

Pinterest logoWhen I first heard about this new social sharing site, Pinterest, I couldn’t figure out the name.  I kept reading it as Pine-Rest.  But then I took a closer look and split it up this way: “pin”-“interest”.  Oh, PINterest.  As in a place to “pin” (or share) your interests.

To join the service you enter your e-mail address and get on their waiting list.  I had to wait a few months.  Recently they must have picked up the pace on memberships as I saw a lot of friends joining (due to Facebook integration which I’ll talk about later). Finally I received an e-mail welcoming me to the site.  I felt to relieved, so happy that they had finally accepted me into the club! (sarcasm intended…)

So, what is it?

Essentially, it is a social sharing site based on the sharing of images.  What sets Pinterest apart from other sites is that it is very visual.  It’s all about photos, graphics, images. Members have a profile where they set up “boards”.  These could be themed, like Travel, Food, Style, Inspiration.  Members then “pin” (or post) images to their boards.  You then follow other’s boards to see the images they are posting.  If you see a pin you like you can “re-pin” it to your board.  You can “like” pins and leave comments.

Pinterest screenshot

Here's a sample of images that have been "pinned" on Pinterest

Why use Pinterest?

Well that is a very good question.  I wanted to find an answer which is why I joined.  I think that Pinterest could be useful on a few different fronts.  For example:

  • Recipe sharing – instead of bookmarking a recipe, you can pin it to a board and have a visual display of recipe ideas rather than a list of links in your Favorites.
  • Design inspiration – Redecorating a room? Starting a garden? You can peruse the topics for ideas.  Or if you are researching an upcoming design project, you can pin your ideas to a board and see them grouped together visually.
  • Crafts – For those that are crafty (not yours truly) you can get lots of ideas for craft projects.

Pinterest also suggests sharing your style and planning a wedding as reasons to use their service.  They also start you off with a few empty boards where you can share book suggestions, products you love, and a few more.

Me? Well I joined the site two weeks ago.  So far I’ve created boards for places I’d like to go, recipes, restaurants, and actors/musicians.

Facebook Integration

Like many sites and services these days, Facebook integration is the name of the game.  In fact, it seems that to join Pinterest you must first have either a Facebook or Twitter account in order to register.  Once you join, Pinterest will have you “follow” all your Facebook friends who also have Pinterest accounts, and they’ll be notified of that on Facebook.  Pinterest will also post your activity to your Facebook timeline (or profile) UNLESS you go in and change that setting.  I disabled that feature; I figured, if I wanted to share something from Pinterest to Facebook, I’d make that decision for myself.

Privacy on Pinterest

There really isn’t much in the way of privacy.  Everything  you pin is public and availalbe to anyone viewing Pinterest.  There are no privacy settings, for example you cannot make a board private.  I guess they figured it wouldn’t be much of a social sharing site if nobody could see what you were sharing!  So that’s just something to think about before you join.  Your only options for privacy are to remove your last name from your profile, disconnect the account from Facebook/Twitter, and create a username that does not use your real name.  With those few steps you could remain incognito on Pinterest.

Kids and Pinterest?

As addressed in their privacy policy: “This Site and Application are not directed to children under 13”.  I don’t think this site is on most young kid’s radar, but it is possible they could search for something and end up at Pinterest.  I haven’t come across any racy pictures, but I’ve heard that some have.  There is a link next to each pin you can use to report objectionable content.

So what’s the Verdict?

Pinterest is kind of fun and I can see how it could get addicting.  You can easily click around and see some beautiful imagery (like the pictures on my “I Admire their Work” board) and be inspired.  If you’re looking for craft ideas, DIY ideas, design and style ideas, recipe ideas, and you like pretty pictures, you might want to check it out.  If you need a Pinterest invite let me know in the comments or just click at the top of their home page for an invite sent to your e-mail.