Pinterest: Why the new social network is gaining so much interest
Forget Linsanity, based on how my social media streams and blog readers have been clogged with mentions of Pinterest in the last week, I’m beginning to go a bit pinsane.
I’ve been interested Tumblr’s cooler younger sibling for a while – I signed up back when the branding wasn’t as retro and watched tentatively until US tech blogs began the murmur last Autumn. By the new year , it was all the US social media crowd could talk about and UK users were growing – then more and more mainstream media articles began to appear. I was asked to write a piece on Pinterest for the Guardian on Friday – but on researching the article I received such a wealth of response from self-confessed ‘Pin-addicts’ that I thought it would be good to publish some of these in full here – as some of the comments are incredibly insightful and, well, pinteresting.
Here’s the piece in full – and Cardiff-based photographer Pippa Bennett, who I quoted, has written this blogpost outlining in full how she got on Pinterest, her favourite things about it and the best boards to follow. Here’s an extract:
Its potential for creative professionals is definitely one of the most exciting things about it. All my other sites and networks have to be divided into personal and professional but you dont need that with Pinterest. I just have one account and it benefits my profile as a photographer without having to be aggressive in my promotional approach.
As a photographer I have created boards of my images on there. I tag them as accurately as possible and make sure my website link is on each pin. That then means that they can come up in other people’s streams and searches. It gets my photography recognised and seen without me having to shove it down anyone’s throat. Pinterest is especially perfect for me as I am a wedding photographer and wedding blogging and planning makes up a huge proportion of Pinterest usage.
I can also interact with my potential clients in a totally novel way. If they like what they see of my photos or they see other things I’ve pinned, they can go look at my other boards and see what, beyond my own photographs, I enjoy.
Here’s Mashable’s community coordinator Meghan Peters responding to some of my questions:
Work, play, Pinterest
I started using Pinterest in oct 2011 when I moved to Toronto – at the start it very much seemed to be a tool for creative industry’s; designers at our agency would create mood boards for concept inspiration, and it was a simple way of seeing the clients vision too.
In the last month or so Pinterest has just exploded! It think its popularity has grown for a number of reasons:
– it works seamlessly with other social media tools, but does not compete in any way
– it is extremely easy to use
– it attracts people who like the idea of a blog, but don’t necessarily have confidence in their technical or creative skills to keep one
But mainly, I think they have tapped into a great insight that goes back to collecting stickers in the playground – people (and girls especially) love to collect things, and in a world where the tangible object is becoming scarce, Pinterest is the greatest scrapbook of all time. It is also quite inspirational- allowing uses to compile items for a lifestyle they wish they had. And lastly, I think that everyone wishes they were creative, and Pinterest fulfils this dream if only in the shallowest of ways – you can’t steal a pin, only share one…
I like Pinterest for all these reasons – its a fab way of keeping all those great sites and references together in one place, and it allows me to pretend I’m a great creative, sourcing inspiration for my next project. It also fuels my obsession of blog spotting, giving me permission to procrastinate….
I do think that Pinterest is here to stay, and in the next few weeks you’ll see more and more brands jumping on the bandwagon- its another way to get your consumers to connect with your brands lifestyle, and then seamlessly share your content for the ultimate recommendation.
And another friend John Crozier, who works in PR, said this:
I think it also offers a really nice opportunity to visualise a brands history. You could have a nostalgia board for say Coca-Cola and then have all the different ads from the past to promote a feeling of nostalgia amongst fans.You could actually use it as a way of disseminating images exclusively to your Pinterest followers. So if you were at a secret event and wanted to share the images in a new way you could upload them there and then to your Pintrest board.
Home decor, nail art, cupckaes and fashion = women?
And finally, Katie Lee – who co-founded Shiny Media, had some more thoughts on the female/male split.
I think this gender thing is a little bit disingenuous. There would be NO articles about why a social bookmarking site was mainly populated by males…However, there’s no doubt that the design of the site is geared to be female-friendly, unlike more masculine-looking social curation sites like Digg or Metafilter. The “about” page is also very female-focused (although I’m sure there are plenty of men who quite fancy sharing all the “beautiful things” they find on the web while they “plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes”).But I would argue that most of the social curation and social bookmarking sites started out as sites created by men for men. I doubt it was a conscious decision for many, of course. But, since so many of them were created to serve particular communities, it often worked out that way.If the population really is more female than male, it is because Pinterest has been picked up by the craft, design and cookery communities online and because it was in closed Beta for long enough to get a very focused set of communities. But it won’t be long before there are just as many virtual pinboards filled with cars, technology and whatever other stereotypical things men are supposed to be interested in. And if that doesn’t happen, so what? It doesn’t make Pinterest freakish if it attracts the other 50%.