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Pinterest: Not Exactly Getting It, Either

I wrote earlier about not exactly getting the need for Path. Pinterest, near as I can tell, is a way to collect links to things I find are of interest to me. But then what? Do people curate their boards all day? What does it do? Do you hope that people come by and say, "Hey, I like Batman, too!" or what?

WHY do you use Pinterest, is my question? Is it kind of like the feeling of making a magazine happen, only you're the one putting it together? Give me some context.
Brandi Royal Washington's profile photoAaron Manley Smith's profile photoMelanie McCraney's profile photoJames Liu's profile photo
I started using it to keep track of stuff I find online that I like, something like a visual bookmark. But then people started following me. And now I feel bad, because I haven't pinned anything in ages.
Not a direct answer to your questions, but the number of users seems to be dominated by women.
Definitely a place to alight rather than dwell. I think it shows a different side of people, rather than a heavily edited blog entry intended to show a certain angle of self or business, it is a kind of unadulterated, "this interests me." Definitely not a necessity and the toolbar functionality makes it an easy click.
Interested in the comments Chris, struggling right now to see the need.
AGREE. Will be watching this post for answers to that question as well. It's interesting... just not sure the value yet. (for me, anyhow.)
I've wondered the same thing. I'm not on it myself, but I've seen retailers Pin their stuff (almost like a brochure of sorts) and I've also seen event planners use it as a collection of different ideas for different themes to show their expertise and connections. I'm interested to see where it will go from here.
I was up til 2:30am last night on pinterest. I have to say no because you can easily waste alot of time there. But a great place for ideas for just about anything.
My wife uses it to collect things she is interested in or wants to do sort of an electronic scrap book.
I have a lot of friends that use it while planning events like weddings, parties, etc. They pin the things they like with a link so that they can get back to it when the need arises.
Personally, I use Pinterest more as a story board to layout my ideas for photography and as my own personal inspiration wall.
It is the electronic version of cutting out pictures in a magazine; especially when it comes to home decor, fashion, anything visual.
I agree it's a bit like - why are people using this? It's a good try and the idea of social sharing is still in the mix and not going away...
I think it's a drug because my wife won't get off the site. Not sure if the newness factor is driving it or it really makes impact for her and her friends.
I dunno, but so far, I'm using it to pin some of my favorite bird photos, now and then. Just did a resentful Robin, in honor of first sighting of season/year.
I think Pinterest has broader appeal for women than men - I think its not just because it is a pretty interface, but because its visual.
I've been finding it useful to bookmark/curate things and keep track of trends -- either for business (ideas for catering parties etc.) or personal (like cool ideas for sheds in the backyard). It basically does the same thing as stumbleupon, but is more intuitive.
+Chris Brogan I have wondered the same thing. When I got on Pinterest for the first time I was fascinated by all the beautiful content and really enjoyed seeing what people were posting. It's been a few months now and I hardly ever return. I don't think to post things to Pinterest very often (I even have the bookmark bar item to do so) and I feel like the demographic is primarily female as well.

To answer your question, why do I use Pinterest? I use it to gather inspiration for future home projects and food ideas for parties. When I'm not thinking about a home project or planning a party I forget about it and don't engage at all.

Pinterest was exciting at first but now has died for me as there is no reason to return to post things. I'd rather post things here on Google+ which has turned into my hub of communication.
It seems like an online magazine to me. You go through beautiful photos of things and mark the ones you like though you probably won't ever buy/make/do any of them.
I discovered it a few months ago. I use it for SEO. Have no idea if it's working yet, but figured it could work! It's really easy to use, for sure!
Also, I do know a woman, who is not 'techy', that says she is totally addicted to Pinterest because it keeps her decorating and recipe interests handy with the image and link.
Great timing, sent a Tweet today asking about it and was wondering the same. Started an account today to test and learn. Quite dead right now, but will look to fill it with pins:
Organizing your interests will make you well rounded? I can't organize my sock drawer much lest my interests - ( My bedroom closet has a bookshelf with all my interests on it... really)
I have an account and I follow people that pin interesting pictures, but I haven't pinned much, mainly becuase the website is very, very slow when you go to upload images, so I normally abort the upload. Also, the actual environment is not very interactive, so I lose interest.
I think of it as more like a virtual scrapbooking app that allows you to put different pictures together and show them off to people. So, social scrapbooking?
No games, or BS in the way. Just stuff you like and stuff your friends or interesting people you follow pin. For me the visual (pinned image) reference works better than a list of topic titles.
If you've ever been inspired by an image in a magazine and ripped out the page to keep... Well, that's the idea behind Pinterest. I use it for fashion, decor, landscaping, vacations and gadgets I like. Following a person's board is about letting people with similar tastes do some of the curating for you. Their finds become yours. Designers frequently use inspiration boards. This one is just online.
On Path - this is something that exists purely to be bought or duplicated and integrated by a company like Google or Facebook
I've loved using it to plan and research home improvement projects. I have a different board for each kid's room, my kitchen and my house in general. In fact, when the contractor was out taking measurements, I sent him a link to my "kitchen" Pinterest board -- he was impressed. :)
I'm currently exploring Pinterest to really figure out what kind of value it can/will add to the world of the InterWebs. What it does seem to be able to do quite well is allow me a central point on the web to bookmark and organise blog posts I might want to go back to - like recipes or crafts. What I'm unable to do, is truly connect with it and find a reason to be there daily to find other things.

It's clear they are still trying to figure out some things as well. I'd like to be able to find out about the persons whose pins I apparently follow, the social aspect of it seems incomplete to me at this point.
It seems to work well for my blogging friends who are also designers/photographers/event planners. It's a great way for them to direct people to see their personal aesthetic in one place.

The really clever ones keep their boards tightly themed instead of randomly pinning everything. It's an easy way to direct a client who says, "I'd really like a poster that has a whimsical feel," and then for their designer to say, "Here is my body of work on my site AND here is what inspires me on Pinterest. Are there elements here that could work for you?"

In other words, if you think, speak, or deal in visuals, it could be a great add-on for your business.
+Zach Ricks I like the term social scrapbooking... nice one! I too have had some confusion about Pinterest. Where does it fit in either my personal or work social media "stuff"? As one who has always appreciated nice design, in websites, cars, etc., I can see how it's nice to have a collage of visual "stuff" that draws your attention.

I know from our various Facebook pages, that the posts that garner the most comments, shares and interactions are those of a visual nature. Photos, videos, get a lot more attention that pure text posts.

I'd say Pinterest is sort of a visualized Facebook.

I'm playing with it to help promote music acts, events at one of our properties. I'm a day into it, and am curious to see how it turns out.
It seems like there could be a good post about digital hoarding :) How we collect so much information it is overwhelming.
Amused to see many of the objections people have with Google+ echoed here. And, just like G+, enthusiastic endorsements of Pintrest by actual users.
Much as with Facebook, someone following your profile, they can see your Likes. They can even follow the link to see what you liked, whether it's a site, link, image, etc. But a collection of images that you've pinned - I think it has more to do with what images, products, brands you want to be associated with. A visual statement of... "This Is The Stuff I Like."
I'm a hugely visual person. That said, I use Pinterest as a way to visually bookmark great ideas, quotes that inspire me, places I want to go, design ideas, you name it. It's a great way to visually catalog interests and share them with the people who share your obsessions, without spamming those who don't care.

I've used ideas from Pinterest to reorganize my pantry, make dinner, show me great teacher gift ideas, and design the retaining wall we just had built.

You can find me here:
Looking through some of the comments, and those who've shared their Pinterest profile URLs. I'm amazed at the number of boards some people have, and Pins in them. One of the girls I work with, she's getting married soon, and has separate Boards for Weddings, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Papers (!) - and the "guy" in me sort of thinks - what??

But my wife is a sucker for small packaging. Health/beauty products, she loves a cute, well design package or bottle. If she got on Pinterest, I think she would "get it" quite easily.
Another idea to add to the mix: Pinterest is a great way to crowdsource good stuff. If someone took the time to pin it, or repin it, it must have value.
I've used it for a month or two now. For me it is a place to gather things I love and share them with others, or to see what others enjoy. You may find inspiration, creative ideas, shops that carry those wonderful items you enjoy, or just things that make you smile. The originating site for a picture is always kept along with it, so I have been led back to many wonderful blogs or sites that I may not have known about before.
Pinterest - I have been able to find great activities my preschool can do and learn from. I have repinnef from other parents and they have done the same. If I read a great parenting blog, I'll pin it. I used to think I would just remember the great idea. Most cases though I would forget. Pinterest has improved my parenting skills and my day with my child.
I also use Pintrest as a collection spot for things (craft/sewing ideas and the like) I want to remember and come back to in the future. For me, the visual aspect makes it easy to scan and locate the entry I wanted, as well as makes it attractive.
And I actually don’t even pin many things, it’s one more app/thing to keep track of. I do like browsing and when I find something I looooove, like a gorgeous photos of a delicious, magically remodeled backyard shed, complete with fairy lights and a medieval vibe -- in which to seduce someone or laze away a spring afternoon reading a real paper book -- I gaze at it and dream for a moment, then move back on to work/life/more attainable dreams! :) Book industry interests, design inspiration, event planning, recipe collecting, DIY projects or tips, wardrobe ideas, wish lists, gift lists, product recommendations, and -- maybe most importantly -- as an outlet to keep me from cluttering up our tiny apartment with mostly useless "items of interest" or as a way to visually try something out before buying it.
i'm trying to find a use for pintrest, but already use Evernote for collections and notes, amazon's universal wishlist, and tumblr! Pintrest can kind of do what these services do for me - but not as well.
Pinterest is such a great way to tell a visual story. Because it's a female demographic, it has huge potential for women's magazines to share and interact - just get their brand out there.
I do a lot of crafting, it is really popular with the crafting crowd. I use it to collect the ideas I get from other blogs as well as find new ideas and inspiration. I'd been starring posts Google Reader to do that before, which worked but Pinterest does it better. It is a very visual hobby so it is a good fit. Evernote never clicked with me.

I'm also using it to collect recipes and to keep track of products that I'm interested in checking out. I also created a shared board with two of my friends to share ideas for a party we were having.

Here's my profile:
+Kimberly Graham YES! What you said. "Online dream catcher." And in this world where we're glutted with information, it helps us REMEMBER our dreams. I've still got "mommybrain," ten years later.
I don't get it either. I use my browser to save my favorite links. I guess Pinterest just plays off of our desire to be nosy. We want to see our friends, family, and acquaintances favorite things.

If it is only about saving or bookmarking favorites then it is no different than 10 other options we have to do the same thing. It has to be about seeing other's boards...
Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. Love seeing what other people find, fast way to rev up my creative engine :)
I love Pinterest! I own a faux finishing business and I collect all types of images of cool room and furniture finishes from across the web. I show my clients my boards to help them see the possibilities and narrow down the finishes. We also just bought a new house and I collected links of products I wanted to buy and renovation ideas for our new house. I am obsessed with Pinterest and it has helped bring visualization to our business concepts!
I think it's a combination of things. First, art for art's sake right? Second, my wife (the crafty one) uses it to visually bookmark projects she wants to remember to do. It's one of the best discovery sites for those looking to do crafts, projects and home improvement. I personally use it ( for a single place to collect "cool stuff" and as a place for birthday, anniversary and Christmas gift ideas for my wife. Don't forget that like other social media sites, it works well for "conspicuous consumption."
I use it for sharing with friends, bookmarking cool things to come back to later -- like a morgue file. It's simple and quick -- even the web app for us Android users.
It does nothing for me but then I can't stand scrapbooking either and that is exactly what it reminded me of. I'm not a "clipper" of articles...I keep the whole book/magazine for reference. I have a lot of crafty friends and family (all female btw) who love it though, for pretty much the same reasons already listed.
I use it as an online pin board...For instance; Last month I used Pinterest while searching for images while I was prepping to pitch a promo idea for House Hunters (a show on the cable net that employs me). That way I could store all the images in one place, then go back and look at them all at once and grab and download just the images that really popped out at me for the presentation. Which is a lot easier than downloading all 'the images; printing them; and pinning them to a wall to see which images worked best.
hi chris. i agree completely. i have been struggling with what this platform means as well. not to mention that there are certain people, i don't name names, but they tend to dominate the feeds and push everyone else to the bottom. need more exploration. thanks
I was talking about Pinterest with +Joe Sorge over on FB a couple of weeks ago and as I said then, Pinterest is very visual and is great for visual things - crafts, art, decor, food, cocktails, photography, etc. It's not something that is for everyone and it's not a replacement for other "bookmark" kind of sites. I know folks who are getting a lot of traffic from Pinterest because they have artsy-craftsy type things there.

As for Path - joined it a week or so ago - seems pointless (but pretty) to me so far. But then again, I said that 5 years ago about Twitter ;)
I suppose its great if you are planning a project and need a platform to bookmark to that is primarily visual ... I quite like some of the quirky images I am finding there, but really just how many more social media platforms do we need?
I, too, see it as social scrapbooking--of "pretty" images. It's supposed to be an "eye-candy" type of public bookmarking site. I think the main lure for many people, including myself, is its interface and ease of use.

It's tempting to use it to promote one's business, but one of the stated Pinterest "rules" is that you don't continuously and overtly promote your own schtuff (and to be quite honest, as a business owner I'm not a fan of in-your-face "buy my stuff!"marketing on a site like that either). --Marketing on Pinterest will require a little bit of strategy, for those interested. However, I've seen that marketing/self-promo rule (as well as some others...) broken a few times, but as a Pinterest user I still try to be a good "team player."

I use it to collect info on (visual) artists I like. I also "collect" home decorating ideas, general design ideas, recipes, product and travel ideas, etc.

And then I've seen some really strange stuff...

What it is NOT is Flickr. It's not really a place for folks to upload and post personal uninteresting, non-eye-candy-types of photos/bits of info (e.g., I don't care about and really don't want to see the photo of your grandchild--unless there is some absolutely insane cute photographic twist to it. Nor do I care about your ugly couch).

It is very much subjective, and it can be quite superficial--but more often than not it is fun, engaging, creatively inspiring, etc. Will be interesting to see how businesses evolve to use it for marketing...
+Paul Merrill I totally Mom and two aunts love pinterest and I haven't really been "pinterested" enough to signup or as their website says request an invite.
I use it to find fun ideas for home, especially for recipes. I follow my friends, who, in my opinion, generally have good taste so I gravitate towards the things that they pin. It's just a handy way to keep a list of things I like or could find useful, and a nice way to share with friends or let them share those ideas with me. I just used two of the recipes for holiday cookies this year, easy and fun and would have never found them without Pinterest. Guessing some of my pals made them this year, too.
One more thing--with regard to marketing... As I was doing some research about Pinterest a while back, I read that you can use it as a visual means to let your customers/clients take a more personal "peek" at the things that interest you, etc.

I don't put a link to it directly on my website, though it is on my personal G+ page. I figure if customers/clients are that interested in me and happen to stumble across it somehow, that's fine, and I don't mind sharing... It's not a hard-core marketing tool for me; however, if customers/clients find some commonalities between us and decide they really want to buy because of that--that works too.

I've also seen a few business-sponsored/driven "pinning" contests, though I don't remember the details of who/where/when...
I'm definitely more of visual person so for me I use it for visual bookmarks of things I like or plan to do. Like a visual bucket list. For some businesses it's really handy as well. For instance Daily Grommet, uses it to share new product finds as well as discover new products.
I really like Pinterest. I think of it as a virtual pinboard where i want to keep all things that interest me and check it later.
I love Pinterest! Maybe it's "chick" thing. I don't really use it for business other than to collect good social media infographs. I just enjoy the visualness of it all. It's like having your favorites on steroids. I can see where it be be helpful in some industries though, like interior design, crafts & maybe even real estate, just to name a few.
I tried Pinterest when Yahoo was threatening to shut down Delicious. For me I use like tearing articles or ads our of magazines and catalogs. It's mostly books I want to read or things I might want to buy in the future. Pinterest is more visual than delicious, but also more clunky.
I don't use it, but my best friend said that she likes the artsy side of it. In her words it is like making a collage of the things you care about, but the really great thing is that other people care about them too.
Hi Chris, I happen to be addicted to Pinterest, and I truly believe it's going to catch on big. Even before it came along (man, I wish I had developed it!), I used to bookmark and download "cool" and "pretty" things from the web all the time. My external HD has tons of jpegs and screen shots from things I came across and wanted to save.

Now that I have a comprehensive place to store and "pin" them, I can easily reference them in the future and share them with friends and family who have similar interests.

For the business world, I think it's a great tool to create visual interest and stimulation among audiences. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a 1,000 words." With Pinterests, brands can curate boards and generate buzz by showing (as opposed to telling) their followers things they like. It can also be used to paint a story about an organization's work (i.e.: great for non-profits who have a lot of photography and imagery).

Just my two cents! If you're curious, you can check out my boards (pinning in progress!):
I don't personally use it, but one area it definitely helped was Christmas shopping. All the women in the family essentially had lists of things they wanted on their Pinterest board. For the online shopper that waits until the last minute (me) it made short work of a dreaded task. I just looked at their boards, picked an item, the link was already there, checkout, then off to more important things.
I do enjoy Pinterest because it is exactly what some of the others have described. An inspiration board, a new magazine everyday, a a big collection of awesome idea generator...a sharing machine...and it does put me in touch with blogs and sites I might have never gotten to a huge scrapbook with a sense of place...I see how it would generate traffic for all kinds of sites...
that is funny - I succumbed and asked a friend for a Pinterest invite early this a.m. And now I have several people following my ... well, nothing. I have no idea what to even do with it. And not really the inclination or time to figure it out. Hopefully this thread will enlighten me :)
I use Pinterest to keep visuals of my goals somewhere where I can constantly add to it. I also use it to keep a place for cool or inspiring quotes or images that put me in a certain head space.

It's especially awesome for keeping ideas for design handy and accessible. For example I am creating a home office right now. I have pinned everything from colors that I like, to furniture, lighting fixtures, artwork, etc..

It is a pretty amazing browsing platform and I have been a big fan since I signed up! 
So far it seems like a place I wish I would have found when I was single because out of 100+ followers, 98% are women:) Kidding, but it heavily skews 18-35 female.

Since I am also stumbling on infographics, the browser plug in is nice to be able to keep track although I have also been using and Spling which have similar purposes. The difference is the amount of users on Pinterest far outweigh those two platforms. Plus Spling says that articles have been "splung" after adding them and that just seems weird.

Because of the SEO value and having a lot of highly visual clients, we have been starting to build this into strategy. However as others have pointed out, to build a community on Pinterest it will take a lot of time so we have to outweigh that with the fragmented space that social has always been and, as of late, been becoming increasingly more fragmented (answering on G+ is a prime example).
+Chris Brogan Pinterest, for me, is about direction. I may not feel it appropriate to share every image I find interesting to my broader social networks. But give me a community of image lovers, and I will share these images freely... and perhaps make connections with people at a faster rate due to the focus on interests and medium it provides.

Plus, the browser integration and automatic linkback to the source is pretty great.

I think we're going to see a lot more of these splinter sites. Some of us are getting over the broadcast-of-everything era and want avenues where we can find people interested in the same things more easily.
+Chris Brogan Pinterest gives you the opportunity to creatively express yourself and your interests with friends and strangers. I think the discovery from within the community is one of the best features. I find content that I would not find using more traditional search like Google. Initially when I started on Pinterest I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the ambitious creativity. But after exploring my interests and passions ~ I got it. We are bombarded by information and this is an easier way for us to consume and share. It offers brands the ability to 'listen' what are people liking, Pinning, and re-Pinning - know what is relevant and resonates.
I use it to pin recipes I'd like to try, decor ideas, DIY projects, vision boards, discovering new things, and I create a board to put images, quotes, and inspiration I plan to use for specific projects much like a mood board. Particularly with the projects, the research is done or already started if I have future projects that are similar. It gives a nice place to look up everything easily in one spot that can be accessed from any computer or smartphone.
I could do most of this curation stuff in Evernote - just for me! What with G+ and Facebook, along with a smattering of Twitter and Blogger - the Salt n Pepper on my cyber life - I reckon I have enough of my "self" on public display.

That said, there is probably a place for Pinterest. I can see it becoming web real estate for visual creatives just like My Space has become for budding musicians.
Hi Chris, I have seen a big surge on my blog since I started doing pinterest. I had the board for a couple months and hadn't done much with it. Last week I started getting active on it and the same day my views on my blog went way up. From what I understand my activity on pinterest doesn't boost anything, only when people pin pictures from my blog . Maybe being more active people started going to my blog? I don't know... just know that in the last week & half my blog has done much better and timing was spot on with pinterest usage. (plus it is fun)
Been using Pinterest for one day now and have accumulated about 18 followers... Encouraging stat is it's now the #4 referrer to my site (one-day stats):

Lots of potential for brands (obviously, based on industry / type) - but I'm liking the platform a lot and the initial impressions.
The only people I know who use pinterest are the girliest of my girlfriends. And they use it COMPULSIVELY. It seems to be a way to catalog the things that you think are cute or cool. It's a way of indulging without actually spending: This way, we can display our fantasy shoe collections without actually needing money to buy them, or a place to store them (Think positive, guys).
That's actually what my daughter told yesterday +Amy Carson She's into sports, so ... enuf said. :)
LOL +jeff korhan. Alas, my impressions were correct.
I'm using it and loving it! I love getting ideas from other like-minded people. It gives me creative inspiration and energy. Most of all it helps me easily organize and store things I find on the web.
It's a girl thing, I think...I still hardly get Twitter though also...there are places where I'm a little clueless. I'm ok with this.
Context best as I can tell is you are showing what you like. You are expressing yourself and your style. I, too am baffled. My number of Pinterest "followers" obligates me to produce content. I am feeling it out and in the very earliest of stages am amazed by the level of interaction.
Could anyone send me an invite to Pinterest? Thanks.
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