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Pinterest Pinned Down!

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What’s the Big Pinterest?

Pinterest seems to be one of the hottest topics in the tech press right now.  Wherever you go on the internet these past few weeks, somebody seems to be talking about this new website – it gained more than 10 million users in record time.  Robert Scoble’s written an article about it for Business Insider so we’re taking a look at Pinterest to check out exactly what it is and how useful it could be.

The internet is vast and going online can sometimes feel a bit like taking a trip down the rabbit hole with Alice!  You click through to links and find yourself digressing and coming across all sorts of weird and wonderful things – information, articles, images – it’s all out there.  The difficult thing is staying on topic and doing what you first intended to do when you logged on.  Distractions are plenty and many of us are bookmarking interesting websites/articles/content to go back to later.  If you’re anything like me, you may have ended up with hundreds of bookmarks (favourites) and are finding it hard to manage them.  I’ve tried in various ways to organise all this interesting stuff I find.  I’ve emailed links to myself so that I can easily find them later.  I’ve even started storing links in spreadsheets in a bid to make the whole process more manageable.  When it comes to images, it can be even worse.  When I come across an interesting image that I may want to get back to later, I’ve taken to making screenshots of the images and storing them in folders on my PC.

Your own Virtual Pinboards

This is where Pinterest comes in – a great way of storing images on virtual pinboards.  When you register on Pinterest you start off with a few “default” pinboards, but this website is user-friendly and you get the option to create and name your own pinboards – Pinterest is a tool that you can customize to suit your needs.

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This means that it can work for different people in different ways.  I use it mainly for personal stuff – as a quick way of finding images that I like or projects that I’d like to try out one day or decor ideas.  Recipes are a popular theme on Pinterest which is why so many people at present seem to be dismissing it as a website primarily for women.

Pinterest – Make it Work for You

There are many men using Pinterest though – it’s a great tool for creative types when they’re in visual mode.  I have a friend who works as a website designer and uses Pinterest as a project management tool – he has a pinboard each for the projects he’s working on and uses them as a method of collecting ideas for design – a virtual sketchpad, if you will.  Because people can follow you on Pinterest, this would be a great method of sharing images and ideas within a team – however, you can’t limit who can see your pins so this pinboard would be publically viewable.  This lack of privacy for the content that you pin is the main thing standing in the way of Pinterest becoming a viable business tool.  However, if you are thinking of a business application and have products, pinning your products onto pinboards and sharing them could be a good method of reaching a wider audience.  This new website has been described by the Mercury News as “the digital answer to cork bulletin boards” but it can be so much more than that.  Pinterest even gives you a widget to use so that when you come across an image you would like to get back to quickly and easily, you can “pin” it on one of your pinboards as easily as pressing a button.

It May Not All be Good News

And this brings us to some of the more negative stuff that’s being said about Pinterest over the past few weeks.  Because “pinners” have been adding images that are protected by copyright to their pinboards, Pinterest has had to introduce a snippet of code that website owners can add to their sites to prevent pinning.  Flickr, the Yahoo-owned photo sharing website has added the “do not pin code” to all of its pages with copyrighted or protected images.  With unresolved copyright issues being so newsworthy over the past few months, especially with the SOPA situation, this is an area in turmoil.  Pinterest is determined to protect itself from copyright lawsuits – however, there are ways of getting round the “do not pin code” for those who have the tech savvy to do this.  The copyright story is far from over yet – after all, the internet is still really in its infancy and changing fast so the legal issues are playing catch up.

Pinterest Pinned Down

Pinterest is already being monetized – pins can be converted into affiliate links with e-commerce sites.  This means that using Pinterest for commercial purposes is a viable option and, no doubt, we will see plenty of articles over the coming months on how best to use the website as a marketing/advertising medium.  The intuitive image block style navigation is said to already be influencing website design and causing users to navigate differently.  The Pinterest team is said to be considering adding advertisement.  Membership at present is invite-only – with such a fast growing membership, it’s pretty certain that Pinterest is likely to be one of 2012’s internet successes.  However, growth is likely to slow down at some point and, as far as Pinterest being the next Facebook or Twitter is concerned, that’s something that remains to be seen.

If you are on Pinterest then come over and follow me http://pinterest.com/jonnyross and if you aren’t and would like an invitation to join comment below or email me!

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