What is Pinterest?

…and how does it apply to me?

Pinterest.com launched in March of 2010 but really gained popularity in 2011. This free website allows you to browse images and save them into groups that you’ve organized. Pinterest makes it easy for users to upload new photos and links from websites while preserving the original URL. If the image has been uploaded correctly to Pinterest, you’ll be able to click a picture and be directed to its original location on the Internet. It is the virtual equivalent to clipping favorite photos and articles from magazines then pinning them onto different bulletin boards organized by topic. Check out the preferred Pinterest etiquette to get a sense of how things work. The image below shows an example of the interface.

Pinterest is notoriously known for being a major time-suck. So, why am I talking about it on a blog that focuses primarily on productivity and technology?

I like the concept behind Pinterest. It allows me to organize ideas that have sparked my interest and place them in groups that make sense to me. I also like to stumble across things I wouldn’t think to look for in the first place. I haven’t found a good reason to incorporate this into my daily work, but I’ve picked up some tutorials for concepts that I find useful (such as Photoshop help, photography tips, and organizational methods). For me, browsing the images is a welcomed break during lunch or a means of relaxation in the evening while discovering new resources on the Internet. Some of these resources end up benefitting my professional work in some way or another.

I’ll admit that Pinterest has gotten a little heavy lately in the DIY arts and crafts department but, as mentioned earlier, the entire site can be browsed randomly or searches can be narrowed slightly. Relevant information can be found, you just have to do a little digging. Type keywords into the search box or select a category from the drop-down menu labeled Everything. Some categories of interest might include design, education, history, science, or technology. The image below shows an example of images in the travel category.

Pinterest has an app for mobile Apple devices (I don’t see anything for Android). You can also install the Pinterest applet in the tool bar at the top of your Safari browser. This allows content to be added and organized on your Pinterest boards quickly while browsing the Internet.

To get started with Pinterest:

  1. Enter your email address to request an invitation to join. Within a few days you’ll receive an email from Pinterest with information to create a free account. You can also hit friends up who are already on Pinterest. They can send you an invitation. Or…
  2. Log in to Pinterest with your existing Facebook or Twitter account information. This allows you to join immediately and find other people you may know on Pinterest. Personally, I didn’t want to do it this way so I just waited a few days for an invitation.
  3. Once you’ve joined Pinterest, start by creating a few boards to help organize the information that you like or browse the categories to see what you can find. If you need assistance along the way, here is Pinterest’s help site to get you started.

A little more information…

Check out this article on TechCrunch, The Rise of Pinterest and the Shift from Search to Discovery, for information on the making of Pinterest and how it’s being used as a marketing tool.


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Amber Nutt

Amber Nutt is an Education Support Technologist at the University of Kansas.