by Kristen Abell
If you haven’t seen the website I’m going to write about today pop up somewhere in your newsfeeds/streams/reader, I’m guessing you’ve been under a rock somewhere in a remote location – like the moon. Or maybe you just have better things to do with your time than surf the Internets. I, however, have had plenty of mentions of Pinterest.com hitting me from all directions, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss what it was, as well as the pros and cons of the site, if you haven’t already checked it out for yourself.
Pinterest works somewhat like an online bulletin board/scrapbook for images – I’d say it’s fairly similar to how Delicious works for reading material – with a smidge of social networking thrown into the mix. When you log in, you see a page of what everyone else in your network is pinning – you can comment, like, and/or “repin” items, hence the social networking piece. Because there is no better authority on anything than Wikipedia, I’m going to provide you with a link to the Pinterest entry if you want to read more.
So what’s so great about all of this you ask? Well, here are some of my favorite parts of Pinterest:
- Finding creative solutions to clutter/organizational problems or other home/office improvement projects. If you know me and have asked me a question about a project like this lately, you have likely heard me answer with, “Ooh, let’s check out Pinterest and see if we can find some suggestions.” And what happens? We always do. Because it’s awesome. And then my partner curses me because I have just figured out how we absolutely must rearrange our entire house to organize our pots and pans.
- Gift ideas – Ever wonder what to get that hard-to-buy-for person in your life? Just get them on Pinterest, and you will have no lack of suggestions! Seriously, I almost wish I bought gifts for all of my friends on Pinterest, as I have tons of great ideas just based on all the stuff they’ve been pinning.
- Connecting – There are people that I’m now following and who are following me with whom I’ve probably exchanged less than five words in person or online before Pinterest, but now seeing that we are both huge fans of black nail polish, we’ve found other common interests. Random, I know, but it’s actually been a pretty spectacular conversation-starter and relationship-builder.
- Randomness – Because I now have a mix of men and women with whom I’ve connected on Pinterest, when I open up the site, I have an incredibly random assortment of pins – everything from wedding dresses to funny sayings to architecture to bizarre dentistry items (yeah, I follow a dentist, and who knew there was so much out there in the way of odd dentist paraphernalia?). Oh, and the geekery – there is a whole category for geek stuff, and I have found that these items tend to be the most often repinned. Oh sure, a good organization solution gets three or four repins, but just post something about Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Wonder Woman, and that sucker will be repinned at least 25 times.
So with all these benefits, why wouldn’t you use Pinterest? Oh fine, I have a couple of downsides to the site, too, just to be fair.
- It’s horribly glitchy – I’m sure it’s come a long way from its beginnings, but when posting pictures and all the memory required, it’s still a far cry from a smooth experience. Sometimes you have to follow or unfollow people/boards multiple times to get it to work. It may take a day or two for a follow or unfollow to actually hit across the site and the mobile app. These are things that drive me crazy as a tech person. But I’ve managed to overlook them for the time being.
- It’s wedding-heavy – Although I’ve managed to unfollow most of the wedding planning boards (and there are a lot of them out there), the occasional wedding pin still makes its way into my feed. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-wedding or anything, but mine’s over and done with, and I hope to never plan another, so I’m just not interested.
- It is a MAJOR time suck. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve opened up the computer to do one thing, and an hour later I’m still looking at Pinterest.
- It’s still set up as an invite-only site. But not to worry, I’m happy to send invites if you’re interested. Just send me your email! (No, seriously, I’m happy to send them out as long as the site will let me – email@example.com).
Apparently someone has decided that Pinterest is too much woman for them, so you can now find a men’s forum called “Gentlemint,” but I’m happy with the mix of people I’m following on Pinterest these days.
Are you on Pinterest? What are your pros and cons? Want to follow my boards? Check me out at http://pinterest.com/kristendomblogs/.