Pinterest 101


I've been on pinterest about a year now, and it has gone through a lot of changes even in that short time.  For those of you who don't know, pinterest is an online pinboard service.  Pinterest lets you copy any image from anywhere on the web and store it on the site with a link back to the source.  When buying lots of glossy design magazines became impractical, both financially and storage wise, I started doing my visual research online.  This lead to many folders of saved images from the web floating around my desktop.  It was hard to keep organized, and impossible to remember where I had gotten my images from.  When pinterest came along it was a godsend.  Read more about it after the jump.



I have boards for everything.  For project reference I have boards for lace, patterns and textures, braided hair, and embroidery.  For fun I have boards for clothing and objects I covet.  I pin tutorials for knitting stitches and I pin fabulous capes I love, but would probably never wear.  This is the most basic use of pinterest, the cataloging of visual information for personal use.  This is what I think pinterest does best.
Pinterest is also a social networking tool. You can follow people on pinterest much like you would on twitter.  Images that they have pinned show up on your pinterest home page, and you can look at their profile to see specific boards.  This service can be great.  I have a carefully curated list of people I follow whose taste is very similar to mine.  Through them I am exposed to images and information I may not have found on my own.  I am also able to keep up with friends and family long distance.  Nathans brother is getting married this summer in Hawaii.  Though I am not in LA to help his lovely fiancee with the wedding planning, I am able to follow her "Wedding" pinterest board (above) to see what's going on.  So when she asked me to help out and make the table runners for the reception, I knew exactly what style she wanted, which was great.  It is important to note that the follow function of pinterest can be a mixed bag.  If you follow someone too hastily your page can be bombarded with images you have no interest in, and that's annoying.  Which brings us to the public boards.
The pinterest social networking function gets really intense when you look at the public feeds.  In addition to looking at pins from friends and searching for pins related to specific keywords, you can look at broad feeds of recent pins in a variety of categories.  They call this Everything, and it includes feeds for art, design, home decor, food, women's and men's apparel, and everything else you might want.  This is where pinterest begins to turn people off.  This is where pinterest is only as good as the people pinning.  When I began pinterest was still relatively small.  Most people on pinterest were art or design people and I found so much inspiration in the public feeds. Then as more people joined the nature and content of the feeds changed too.  More housewives joined and more recipes for crock pot dinners started showing up.  The religious people joined and it seemed all I saw was bible quotes for weeks.  The anorexics showed up and it was thinspiration images galore.  Then the fat acceptance crew came along and posted snarky comments on all the thinspiration.  The last I looked it seemed that the tumblr and reddit devotees were switching over and I saw lots of memes and humorous pins showing up.  I stopped looking at the public feeds so often.  When you look at the public feed and it isn't for you, it can feel like pinterest isn't for you.  It can leave a bad taste in your mouth and make you want to give up on the whole thing.  But while pinterest can be a great place for searching for and sharing images, it is first and foremost a place for saving images from elsewhere on the web.  If you have a need for that kind of service, pinterest might be perfect for you.

6 comments:

  1. Wow! Great explanation of pinterest! I just did my own pinterest post as I just recently organized my boards. Love the story of your future sister's wedding. So perfect! I agree, I rarely look at the everything board, only when searching for something specific.

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    1. Thanks Heather! I got so tired of new users bashing pinterest with out really understanding how it can be used. I think one of the best things about it is that it can be used in so many different ways. I love how you organized your boards to tie in with your brand and your blog. Such good inspiration!

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  2. I just joined pinterest last week. totally obsessed, i too have a sick obsession with magazines that I am now rethinking. i will be following you now cuddles. miss you!

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    1. The magazines just got to b too much. Once I couldn't justify moving my huge supply from apartment to apartment every year I started tearing out the pages into notebooks. But eventually I just had to say no more. Pinterest is so much more efficient, and I do love being able to see what all my stylish and crafty friends are posting. Thanks for following me!

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  3. Megan, thank you so much for writing this. It is clear and honest and I hope it helps more people see Pinterest as an amazing service. I get very frustrated when people write it off because they think the community is "not for them." You explained it perfectly. I love using Pinterest and I love your boards, but the "everything" and "popular" boards are not for me.

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    1. Thanks so much! I totally agree about people writing it off or complaining about it before they really understand what it is capable of.

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