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November 09, 2011

Pining for Pinterest: A Hobbyist's New Best Friend

By Tammy Wolf, TMCnet Web Editor

People all across the globe overwhelmed by sticky-notes, overflowing stacks of magazine clippings and folders upon folders of planning material -- be it for a wedding, home renovation or fancy dinner party -- rejoice. Pinterest is here, and is happy to have you “Pin” away.

For what has quite possibly become this editor’s new favorite website to scour on a daily basis and thus admittedly distract me and fellow friends and co-workers from more dire tasks (“OMG, check out this recipe for chocolate-chip cookies stuffed with Oreos!”), Pinterest is the personal organizer every true hobbyist and lover-of-all-things has ever dreamed of and more.

So, what exactly is Pinterest?

Touted as a virtual corkboard, has become the go-to site for organizing and sharing all the beautiful things you find on the Web. From planning a wedding to decorating a home to organizing your favorite recipes, Pinterest allows you – the collector, the fashionista, the aspiring chef – to browse, discover, and be inspired by people who share similar tastes. Best of all, you have the ability to browse users’ “Pinboards,” or their categorized collections of ideas and inspirations, to help build your own boards. 

Named by Time magazine as one of the five best social media sites of 2011, saddling up to major sites like Google (News - Alert)+ and Klout, Pinterest’s mission is loud and clear, and with the innate ability as humans to bond over similar hobbies, we totally get it. “Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.”

How do you ‘Pin’?

If you were to imagine Pinterest in terms of an actual corkboard, Pinterest enables hobby-hungry users to “pin” things they find on the Internet to their Pinterest profile as if they were thumb-tacking a photo to a pinboard. By installing a “Pin It” tab on your browser, you can simply hit the button and a box will pop up, prompting you to label and designate the pin to a board. Therefore, the next time you log on to Pinterest, all the lovely things you’ve found on the Internet so far will be there waiting for you to obsess over and share.

Similar to following users on Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook, Pinterest functions as a community of people curating and sharing things they find interesting with others. However, everything is image-based, much like glossing the pages of a magazine, and instead of writing out status messages on your everyday activities and thoughts, you instead “Pin” things to your boards, which are organized by categories you set yourself.

The opportunities are endless with Pinterest, as it narrows down searches for users to easily and quickly browse categories in one place. For one satisfied user, TMCnet’s own Stefania Viscusi, Pinterest has become a hub for both her extracurricular activities and to-do lists as she prepares to make her new home move-in ready.

“In my personal experience, Pinterest has become an inspiration to try out clever DIY projects and baking ideas and has even become a source I turn to for fashion inspiration when I need to put together an outfit – the pictures say more than any amount of words on a page ever could,” Viscusi explained. “After purchasing my first home, Pinterest has become a great asset for planning out home décor and getting ideas on things I want done as well as what has worked well for others without having to scour the Internet in search of possible ideas – I just go straight to Pinterest, find my topic of interest and start Pinning.”

Users can also follow other Pinterest users so that they have access to an aggregation of Pins in real-time as soon as they log in. For example, if you find one user in particular has a repertoire of boards that may come handy as you redecorate your home, you can choose to follow that user or specify which of their boards you’d like to keep tabs on, like “Kitchens” or “Photography” so that you can tag (News - Alert) and organize images on your own boards.

My personal Pinterest page. While I’m still in the process of building my boards, I’ve found tons of images to add to my fashion and food collections!

There’s a Pinterest app, too!

Taking the train home only to find out you need to cook up a quick meal for your significant other’s parents tonight? No problem! Pinterest also comes in app form (for free!) on the iPhone (News - Alert) and grants you the same browsing capabilities you experience on a computer. Now, you can Pin anything that catches your eye on your mobile device, be it a memorable recipe, or that killer pair of boots, while on-the-go. You can even Pin images taken on your camera phone and add a location so other Pinterest users can go and see your newfound inspiration for themselves.

Pinterest for Business

If you’re trying to expand your business to reach other markets, Pinterest offers a “Pin It” button to businesses with product pages or blog posts so readers and customers can flaunt your products on Pinterest. Seeing as Pinterest currently has more than 2.5 million monthly active users, and is growing every day, it’s a sure-fire way to give your products and services a broader platform.

There’s no doubt Pinterest has certainly found a comfortable niche in the blogger/social networking arena, enabling a lovely balance of keeping track of every detail of personal tastes and endeavors and connecting with others whom possess the creative flair you seek for your leisurely pursuits and forthcoming milestones. All we know is Pinterest is the new social media outlet we never knew we needed, until now. Happy Pinning!

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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